China Food

Capital is killing the chef industry?

“  

chef, has been a detour of catering industrialization.
 ”

Two days ago, a friend of mine, who is a restaurant investor, went out to have a meal and talked about the topic of the industry. He suddenly asked me: do you know what you are eating? In fact, it was ready a few days ago. Their kitchen is hot and they serve it to you.

When he finished, the beef brisket in this bowl suddenly became stale, so he had to say to him: you know, talking about it at dinner doesn’t show you are very knowledgeable, it only shows you have low Eq. No wonder you don’t have a girlfriend.

Therefore, we don’t recommend watching this issue while eating. If there is any accidental injury, don’t ask me.

In his podcast, he once said that chefs are already a detour in catering industrialization.

This is more or less a violent remark, but it must be admitted that the status of chefs in the catering industry is declining at the speed of light.

Nowadays, we eat in various chain restaurants. Most of the dishes are not cut and seasoned by the back kitchen, but are already cooked food ingredients when they are taken out of the freezer.

It only needs the back kitchen of the restaurant to heat and stir fry, complete the last cooking process, and then the dishes can be served.

In this process, the existence of chefs, especially excellent chefs, has become a dispensable thing.

What makes all these changes happen is the protagonist of this issue: Prefabricated dishes.

When it comes to prefabricated dishes, the first thing many people think of is the catering bag in the takeout industry.

The takeout shop heats the ingredients in the bag in the microwave oven, matches them with the staple food, packs them into the lunch box, and delivers them to the takeout boy in a few minutes.

The taste is rotten, the sales are different, and there are always safety and health problems. Only the price is close to the people and the meal is fast.

This is the impression of most ordinary consumers on food bags.

It’s true that cooking bag is a kind of prefabricated food, but in fact, prefabricated food, that is, semi-finished food, is a big concept.

If the order is based on the degree of processing, there are four kinds from rough machining to finish machining.

The first is ready to serve food, which is almost what is commonly known as clean food. Ready to serve food only goes through the washing and cutting stage, and is packaged according to the amount of dishes required for cooking. Cooks need to add their own seasoning, according to their own cooking process cooking.

The second is cooked food, which is called semi-finished prefabricated food. The ingredients in this stage often go through certain processing, such as salting, pre seasoning, shallow frying and pre cooking.

After the chef gets the ready to cook food, he can directly open fire to cook, which avoids a lot of tedious and time-consuming workflow. The most typical are KFC hamburgers and chips.

The third is instant food. It only needs to be heated and put on a plate to make a dish. The cooking bag belongs to this category.

The fourth is ready to eat food, which can be eaten directly without cooking. Including all kinds of canned and cold dishes, but also including your usual chicken feet, duck tongue and other snacks.

These four kinds of prefabricated dishes represent the four levels of decoupling between the catering industry and chefs.

In the stage of ready to serve food, the chef in charge of the side dishes in the kitchen does not need it at all; In the stage of instant cooking, the chef has no right to speak about the taste of dishes; In the instant food stage, there is no need for chefs; When it comes to ready to eat food, even the kitchen doesn’t need it.

When we look back at the history of Chinese prefabricated dishes, the same feeling will be more obvious.

This is not only a history of industrialization of the catering industry, but also a history of “de chefs”. The first time that Chinese people came into contact with prefabricated dishes can be traced back to the 1980s.

KFC and McDonald’s entered the Chinese market in 1987 and 1990 respectively, and the concept of Western fast food was gradually brought into China, giving birth to a series of imitators such as DEX and Wallace, and finally becoming a huge force in the Chinese catering industry.

Foreign fast food into China, the shock of the Chinese catering industry, now seems to be largely underestimated. Western fast food has not only brought about the popularity of fried chicken burgers, but also profoundly changed China’s catering industry in numerous dimensions such as brand, operation, product and industry.

Among them, it also includes the emergence of clean vegetable processing and distribution factories, as well as the decline of the status of chefs.

KFC and McDonald’s kitchens are different from other kitchens. There are no chefs here.

The ingredients of their hamburgers are prepared in advance. They just need to heat the bread in batches, fry the frozen meat patty, and clip the accessories such as tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. OK, a delicious hamburger will be done.

McDonald’s takes about 50 to 90 seconds to make a hamburger. It’s the same with French fries. It’s easy to fry well, sprinkle salt and get out of the pot.

And these hamburgers and French fries are the first prefabricated dishes that Chinese people come into contact with. You don’t see McDonald’s cooks peeling potatoes in the back kitchen, or KFC cooks fermenting noodles, all of which are done in food factories.

The prefabricated food materials are transported to the store through the cold chain. Stores only need to do the action of heating, the ingredients fried, do mature do hot on the line.

On the one hand, it can ensure the unity of products and improve the safety of food.

It is precisely because most of the work is assigned to the food industry that these fast food brands can guarantee stable production in tens of thousands of stores around the world. Every store in the world can eat the same product taste. Of course, chicken rack and rougamo are not included.

The way to standardize western fast food is really eye opening, but it’s hard to move it to Chinese food.

The types of ingredients, processing methods and cooking skills of Chinese food are relatively complex. Even if it’s just fast food, there are various ways to make Chinese food, such as frying, boiling, steaming, stewing and so on.

Compared with hamburger and French fries, the difficulty of prenatal education has risen to that of doctor. Therefore, the prefabricated dishes of Chinese food first appeared in the Chinese fast food industry with few SKUs, large demand and low complexity.

It is also the fast food industry that started the “elimination of chefs” movement.

In 1997, the boss of real Kung Fu, Cai Chengda, drew on the experience of the garment factory and developed a set of computer-controlled steam equipment.

Before, most of the machines with temperature and time control equipment in China could only bake foreign fast food. After real Kung Fu, stews could also be steamed at the same temperature and pressure, realizing the first standardization of Chinese fast food.

It’s not enough to realize the standardization of front-end cooking, but also the standardization of back-end ingredients.

Real Kung Fu dishes only need to be washed, cut and pickled in advance, then they can be bagged and delivered to stores. Store staff just need to cut open the bag, put the ingredients into the steaming cabinet and steam them.

This is a great change. As long as any trained employee complies with the operation regulations, the consistency of food production can be guaranteed, and the high requirements of “80 seconds” for taking meals and “one taste for one thousand fast food” can be realized.

In this case, real Kung Fu no longer needs professional chefs, just “bag clippers” and “operators”.

Another fast-food brand that participated in the early “de chefs” is the “sipping and sipping” mentioned in my previous content.

He Guangqi, the founder of Gabu Gabu, has a profound understanding of fast food: industrialization, standardization and de chefs.

Therefore, he chose the hotpot track which was less dependent on chefs, and when Sipu Sipu didn’t even have a shop, he started to build a central kitchen two years in advance.

It’s just like before I get the certificate and the wedding banquet, I buy a full set of three-year simulation of the five-year college entrance examination for my children. It’s not only a leading industry, but also a time Lord.

In sipping and sipping, all the dishes need to be washed, peeled and packaged by the farmers after receiving the goods in the field, and then transported to the central kitchen of sipping and sipping within 5 hours. After certain processing, they will be sent to the store and consumers.

So the kitchen doesn’t need to deal with potato chips, chrysanthemum, beef and mutton. It just needs to take things apart and serve them to consumers.

Real Kungfu replaces the chef with the standardization of the front end, while gawpu replaces the chef with the standardization of the back end. Driven by these two companies, Chinese fast food industry has gradually realized “de chefs”.

Why kill the chef? The reason is also very simple. You think the cook is cooking, but the real strong cook is burning money.

According to the data of China Hotel Association’s annual report of China’s catering industry in 2019, the average labor cost of dinner catering enterprises accounts for 22.41% of the operating revenue.

In restaurants, the labor cost of service staff is not too high, and because the threshold is not high and the substitutability is too strong, it is not difficult for one to resign and recruit another.

What really costs the most is the chef that consumers can’t see.

Especially chefs, chefs and executive chefs. In the past, senior chefs in old catering brands could not be recruited without an annual salary of one million, and you usually can’t afford to leave.

However, with the gradual rise of prefabricated dishes, more and more catering enterprises no longer need experienced chefs. They only need ordinary chefs who can shake spoons and cook hot dishes. With the popularity of frying machines, the demand for chefs is greatly reduced.

Just the cost of manpower can save a lot for catering enterprises.

Another problem for chefs is that they can’t be copied and can’t be moved.

There are so many kinds of delicious food in China, why can hot pot take the lead in market share and become the king of all kinds?

One of the biggest reasons is that hot pot doesn’t depend on chefs. As long as you do a good job in the supply chain, you can open a passable hot pot shop.

Not depending on the chef means that as long as you have money, you can copy one hot pot shop after another.

As long as you have money, you can open a hot pot shop anywhere in the country. If you can copy, you can expand, and there is room for capital to move.

On the contrary, why can’t many traditional restaurants blossom everywhere? It’s very simple. The more traditional a restaurant is, the more dishes depend on the skill of the chef. Even the reputation of the chef depends on him. There is even a saying that “once the chef runs, the restaurant is finished.”.

Internet companies don’t have to worry about the difference between Beijing and Shanghai programmers’ code writing styles, or Hangzhou’s inability to recruit algorithms, or Nanjing’s inability to recruit front-end programmers, or the fact that a programmer’s departure will affect product functions or even the company’s future.

But chefs are a non-standard industry. When our restaurant opens in Beijing, it’s impossible to recruit local chefs without any chefs. The departure of the chef will also be directly reflected in the quality of the dishes.

Relying on chefs means that every new store needs to add a corresponding number of excellent chefs. It means that if the brand expands to the whole country, local chefs will have to leave home and go out to work.

A really good cook, where can’t find a job, why have to follow the boss all over the country? This is not something that capital can solve.

Therefore, if you really want to expand the catering brand, you will not put the core competitiveness on the chef. Prefabricated dishes are the cheap, convenient and standardized solution.

In addition, the use of a large number of prefabricated dishes can also reduce the kitchen area and save rent in the core area of land and money; It can also reduce the consumption of water, electricity and gas and save energy cost; It can improve the efficiency of dishes, increase the turnover rate and consumer experience.

In a word, this account is not lost.

Nowadays, prefabricated dishes have occupied half of the catering industry. According to the data of China chain operation association, more than 74% of domestic chain catering enterprises have built their own central kitchen, and more than half of them are developing standardized finished products and prefabricated dishes.

Another data is that more than 60% of the dishes in many high-end chain restaurants are prefabricated. The reason why the remaining 40% of the dishes are not “pre cooked” is not that the technical level is not up to standard, but that it is too simple to do now.

After 2013, Internet giants entered the takeout industry, which accelerated the expansion of the takeout industry, making the demand for prefabricated vegetables and cooking bags more vigorous.

According to media reports, about 70% of the takeout food comes from the 5 yuan food bag.

According to the enterprise survey data, from 2011 to 2020, the registration volume of enterprises related to prefabricated vegetables has been rising.

Interestingly, although the market stock has been so large, today’s investment circle still regards prefabricated vegetables as a wind outlet and believes that the future potential of this industry is still huge.

Their reason is that the scale of the domestic prefabricated vegetable industry is about 300 billion, accounting for less than 10% of the total food materials.

In Japan, where the diet is similar, the penetration rate of prefabricated dishes has reached more than 60%.

According to this forecast, the prefabricated vegetable industry may form a market of nearly three trillion in the future. So where does the increment come from?

Last year, a sudden epidemic gave a possible answer: sell prefabricated vegetables directly to consumers.

Last year, one of the industries hardest hit by the epidemic was the catering industry, in which offline stores were everywhere, and several of my collections in public comments disappeared.

The takeout industry was also affected, and did not return to the level before the epidemic until the end of the year.

However, the prefabricated vegetable industry grew against the trend during the epidemic period.

From last year to this year, wangjiadu, Baijia food, looking for ingredients, Zhenwei xiaomeiyuan and other prefabricated food brands have raised funds one after another. Weizhixiang, an old prefabricated food enterprise, has also successfully landed in the A-share market this year, becoming “the first share of prefabricated food”.

Big catering brands have entered the market one after another. Haidilao has entered the field of convenient dishes and launched 16 new semi-finished dishes.

Xibei also launched Jia Guolong Kung Fu dishes, which are known as “more than 100 airplane meals per capita”, “take out in restaurants” and “leftover food porters”.

Hand pulled noodle tiktok, which was hit by loud noises and advertising, was a popular hot noodle product. Last year, the self heated chafing dish like hot pot, which was from the top of the pan, was born out of instant noodles. But the rich taste and quality of cooking and cooking techniques are getting closer to the definition of precooked dishes.

Among them, on the one hand, the reconstruction of sales channels.

During the epidemic period, the stores could not open normally, and the capacity of the central kitchen was empty. In order to generate income and help themselves, catering enterprises choose to use central kitchen to produce semi-finished food materials and sell them directly to C-end consumers. If they can sell them at a higher premium, why not.

On the other hand, young people are becoming more and more receptive to prefabricated dishes. During the epidemic period, there are health and food safety problems in eating out and ordering takeout, so consumers have to cook at home.

Prefabricated dishes are not only convenient for young people to cook, but also less demanding for cooking skills. They are more suitable for one person, so they become the choice of young people.

According to the data of HEMA Xiansheng, 54% of post-95 HEMA consumers often buy their own ingredients for cooking, and semi-finished food is one of their favorite products.

This trend has not passed with the worst of the epidemic. According to the consumption report of Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner released by tmall, online shopping of semi-finished New Year’s Eve dinner has become a new choice for many young consumers.

According to the top ten new year’s products data released by tmall, during the Spring Festival this year, the sales of prefabricated vegetables increased 16 times compared with last year. For example, potted vegetables from Guangdong and eight treasures rice from Hangzhou have become popular in the new year’s live broadcast room.

The data of Jingdong also shows the same trend. From January 20 to February 20 this year alone, the turnover of 1-2 person small package semi-finished vegetables increased by 3.5 times.

This Spring Festival, in response to the call to stay in Shanghai for the Spring Festival, I also joined the army of semi-finished food consumers. My friends and I ordered a set of prefabricated dishes for new year’s Eve dinner, which is full of two boxes.

On the evening of new year’s Eve, it took me only an hour to put all the dishes on the table. It’s really convenient and the taste is really good.

There should be advertisements here. I hope the fathers of the prefabricated food brand can come to me as soon as they see it.

Behind these changes is the growing trend of single economy. Nowadays, changes in various consumer markets can be explained by the trend of single economy.

Finally, back to the chef. In fact, nowadays, it is not only chefs who are frustrated and lonely, but also people like chefs in various fields.

For example, editors in the media industry, creative ideas in the traditional advertising industry, and as I mentioned in the video of the bookstore, small self-employed people who open physical bookstores.

They used to be the backbone of an industry, representing the highest taste and the best quality of the industry.

But the era they represent is still the era of manual workshops. So when the tide of industrialization comes with the progress of Internet technology, these traditional employees seem to be out of place.

Editors stand on the opposite side of algorithm recommendation, creativity stands on the opposite side of big data delivery and effect advertising, physical bookstores stand on the opposite side of e-commerce and subsidies, and chefs stand on the opposite side of catering industrialization.

No one can change the direction of the tide, so in addition to a small group of top practitioners, who can maintain the most elegant posture and live well, others have to be forced to dance with the times in the tide.

Editors began to study how to use the algorithm to make the content more exposed;

Creative people no longer care about fun and new ideas, but study how to do magic brainwashing and seek strange dog blood;

Booksellers no longer care about style, but start to study decoration, coffee and cultural and creative goods;

Chefs no longer need to study new dishes and new technologies, just need to manage their own spoon.

I have no intention of singing elegy for that era and advocating the spirit of craftsmanship, because it is normal that backward things are eliminated by advanced productive forces.

But I don’t mean to accuse them of being too conservative, because when modernity engulfs our lives, seemingly backward things take better care of our humanity and personality.

We can choose prefabricated dishes because they are stable in taste, low in cost and fast in serving. However, only the chef can give uncertainty and vitality to the dishes.

How to look for uncertainty in stability, how to face efficiency and system, but still be able to preserve human nature and personality, this is not only the competition between chefs and prefabricated dishes, but also a long struggle between us and the pervasive modernity.

From May 19 to 21, 2021, the 7th f · fbic 2021 global food and beverage Innovation Conference held by foodaily daily food was successfully held in Shanghai Baohua Marriott Hotel. The conference gathered 1653 product decision makers to experience and appreciate 2400 + SKU strictly selected innovative products at home and abroad, listened to and learned 87 theme innovation sharing from 134 experts and teachers from different fields, and witnessed the announcement of the third Isee innovation award on the evening of May 19. The following is in-depth media coverage of the event:

Ma song: all enterprises will die
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Capital is killing the chef industry?




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