Chain operation has become the fastest expanding business model for the catering industry in China. In 2017, the revenue generated from catering chain stores almost doubled compared to ten years ago. Among them, there are not only the time-honored brand like Quanjude, which is famous for its over 150 years’ history of making Beijing roast duck, but also modern brands with special concepts. After its huge success in China, the Chinese hot pot chain Haidilao opened in April 2019 its first restaurant in London, which attracted long queues of people waiting outside to try their food.
In addition to dominant Chinese cuisines, foreign catering brands are also sharing the fast-growing market. In 1987, the first KFC restaurant in China was opened near the Tian’anmen square in Beijing. 40 years later, KFC had nearly 5,500 restaurants in China and is still expanding. Foreign café brands like Starbucks are becoming popular in China, although drinking coffee didn’t belong to the traditional Chinese lifestyle.
With the development of online-to-offline (O2O) service, catering services are becoming more closely connected with the Internet. Instead of paying with cash, consumers can easily pay by scanning the QR code in restaurants and street food hawkers as well. People can read the menu and order the food through the restaurant apps while they are waiting for a table online. The food can also be delivered with low delivery costs immediately to those who want to enjoy food at home but have no interest in cooking. A smart management system based on big data is also equipped in more and more catering providers, with which they can better understand consumers’ preferences and make changes accordingly.