China Food

The first share of domestic taverns. Why is Helen’s company?

why can Helen become a “night Starbucks” for young people.
Author: Mao Mao, this article is reprinted from “zantanlife” (ID: zantanlife). No story, no brand, focusing on the research of cutting-edge brands.
It has become a new social trend for young people to have a drink in a pub.
Thanks to this group of young people in pursuit of slightly drunk freedom, a tavern focusing on “young people’s offline social platform” landed on the Hong Kong stock market in early September and became the “first share of taverns” in China.
In 2009, it was just a small shop in a remote corner of Wudaokou, Beijing. In only 12 years, it has rapidly expanded to 528 Direct stores, covering 24 provincial administrative regions and more than 100 cities in China.
By 2020, it has ranked first in China’s Tavern industry with a revenue of 820 million yuan.
In addition, there are many rumors about it:
Not only the first and second tier cities, but also the third tier and lower tier cities have their stores, and almost every family is full and popular;
All bottled beer in his family costs only 10 yuan or less, even well-known brands such as Budweiser and Heineken. It’s common to bring your own food or order takeout if you like;
For the attitude towards capital, the founder was quite “tough” and directly shouted to investors that “we don’t need financing before listing”
It is the domestic chain tavern “Helen’s”.
How did this tavern, which did not have much brand reputation before listing, become a “night Starbucks” for young people? Why did it expand from a corner shop to the whole country and even knock on the door of Hong Kong stocks?
Ten yuan beer
Seize the voice among young people and big breweries
There is also a story behind a pub with a market value of tens of billions of Hong Kong dollars like Helen’s.
In 2005, after the founder Xu Bingzhong retired from the army, he went to Laos to open a tavern and returned home for development after he found the first pot of gold in a foreign country. After the global financial crisis in 2008, Xu Bingzhong officially launched the Helen brand and opened the first Helen store in a remote location in Wudaokou, Beijing. Unfortunately, the business was poor.
For such small pubs in remote locations, word-of-mouth communication among young people is indispensable to drainage.
In 2009, hellens reorganized its business model and gradually launched “10 yuan beer”, which was one of the best kills that no one dared to follow up at that time.
At first, only their own products dared to sell at this price. Later, well-known brands including Budweiser, 1664, corona and Heineken developed. The price of all bottled beer was no more than 10 yuan per bottle.
Taking 275 ml Budweiser beer as an example, the average price of each bottle in the same industry is 15-30 yuan, while in Helen’s, it only needs 9.8 yuan, about 35% to 67% lower than the average market price.
Surprisingly, beer is also abundant, beer, fine beer, fruit beer and tiktok are all available. Even the related topic videos in the chattering are more than 1 billion times the Helen’s coke drum, and the price is not more than 30 yuan.
As for the snacks such as French fries, chicken rice flowers, chicken wings, mustard and cucumbers in the wine group CP, although there is no obvious price advantage, Helen’s victory can bring its own snacks. In addition, there is no card fee and minimum consumption in the store. Such Helen’s company is simply “different” in a pile of high-end night taverns.
However, the effect of this approach is very explosive. It not only gives the college students who are “shy in their pockets” a taste of fresh food, but also gives Helen the labels of “Honey snow ice city in the tavern industry” and “pinduoduo in the tavern industry”, which frequently appear in the popular KOL content materials and the communication topics of more young people.
The extremely high cost performance has quickly helped Helen win a reputation, and the reputation accumulated in the process will eventually be reflected in the income of the store.
According to the prospectus of Helen company, Helen company maintained strong financial performance during the track record period. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, Helen company’s revenue increased significantly from RMB 114.8 million to RMB 564.8 million and further to RMB 817.9 million.
In the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2021, Helen’s revenue increased from RMB 62.0 million to RMB 368.6 million, a year-on-year increase of 494.5%.
Universal social space
Spiritual sustenance for young people
The offline social scene of young people has always been a big market. In addition to new tea and coffee, there are pubs to share in this big market.
Hellens is positioned as an “offline social platform for young people”. Almost all scene experiences and interactive marketing of the brand are carried out around these nine words.
Although young people don’t have such high requirements for the atmosphere and experience of a 10 yuan tavern, it doesn’t mean they don’t have requirements. What matters is whether you can reflect the brand culture, spell the brand spirit, and how to interact with consumers. Helen knows the essence of this.
The simple wooden tables and chairs and exotic art statues in the store give people a feeling of Southeast Asian style retro garden.
Moreover, different from ordinary pubs, Helen’s company did not perform on a large screen, no resident singers, and no disco jumping. Instead, young people or two people in pairs, or groups of people sat next to the table. Some people talked loudly, some drank, and some dared to socialize with the next table
This is not so much a tavern as a social space where young people can take off their identity as “social animals” during the day and release their real self and relax freely.
The interactive experience provided by the tavern has also become a small pleasure in life. For example, Helen’s selects some songs every day for customers to vote through wechat applet. The songs with the most votes will be played in Helen’s tavern, giving users a unique sense of participation.
In addition, Helens also gives free drinks when customers are waiting, and holds theme activities on festivals loved by young customers, so as to enhance user stickiness.
In fact, it doesn’t matter whether these practices are so helpful to the listing of a pub. The important thing is that they meet the new needs of young people for drinking occasions in the times.
According to the “2020 insight report on young people’s alcohol consumption” released by cbndata, young consumers lead the upsurge of healthy and slightly drunk. Drinking is not only fun, but also accompanied by young people’s feelings of boredom, sadness and fatigue. Slightly drunk drinking is a good recipe for the young generation’s “self-healing” and a part of life companionship.
Similar insights were found in the research and investigation of the massive engine 2021 white paper on user insight and content ecology of the beverage industry. The consumption concept of normalizing the beverage consumption of the new generation of young people has promoted the liberation of beverage consumption from the past party scenes, which has become a small blessing and comfort in leisure time.
The biggest difference between Helens and traditional pubs is that it quickly catches the attention of young people with the ultimate cost performance and universal social space. It is not only the spiritual sustenance of young people, but also a part of young people’s life.
In the words of He Yu, managing partner of black ant capital, the investment institution behind hellens, “hellens provides users with a truly free and relaxed universal social space without threshold. Once this atmosphere is formed, it will be the biggest moat of the brand.”
Standardized operation is the catalyst for chain development
At the level of commercial communication, the development of retail chain industry depends on the ability of standardized replication, that is, the ability of systematization, digitization and control over all links of the industrial chain. Standardized operation has shaped the expansion story of hellens, and has also become the key catalyst for the successful listing of hellens.
①   Optimized product portfolio:
Helen’s Tavern currently supplies 41 products, including 24 drinks, 8 snacks, 6 non-alcoholic drinks and 3 other products. Most of Helen’s drinks belong to its own products, which means that it has independent control over the supply chain. At the same time, the unified product portfolio also simplifies the procurement and logistics procedures and improves the inventory turnover.
②   Integrated tavern operation:
The integrated wine management operation is also an important part of Helens today. At present, the 528 stores of Helen company are directly operated stores. Helen company can directly carry out unified management from the site selection and decoration of pubs to the operation links such as logistics procurement and music broadcasting.
One of the most direct manifestations is that, thanks to the unified setting of site selection and decoration, if Helen wants to open a new store, the decoration link currently takes only 40 days, while it takes only 2-3 months from signing the site selection to meeting the opening conditions.
In addition, based on the data collected by future Bi and combined with the accumulated number of single users and waiting conditions of existing pubs, Helen determined the feasibility of arranging new stores around the existing pubs.
In this way, it can fully meet and stimulate the needs of customers, enhance the aggregation effect of hellens in the core business district, and make the social space provided by hellens become a part of young people’s daily life.
③   Intensive tavern management
Helen’s ability to expand at a very high speed is also inseparable from its intensive pub management.
Helen takes a standardized daily management of the pub. Through cooperation with professional third-party logistics service providers, we can realize efficient logistics distribution of pubs. In addition, the wine and beverage products purchased by it are finished products, and the snacks are mainly convenient for processing, which means that there is no need for complex back kitchen equipment, which effectively improves the operation efficiency of the tavern.
Through this series of unified management methods, hellens can ensure sustainable growth in an integrated and standardized way.
Keep an eye on the drunken freedom of young people
New and old brands get together to do wine business
The consumption enthusiasm of young people in China for lifestyle has spread from new tea and coffee to pubs.
According to the prospectus data of hellens, China’s Tavern industry is a huge and fast-growing market. There will be 35000 taverns in 2020 and 47900 taverns in 2023.
It’s estimated that you can have a more direct feeling by converting it into RMB. In terms of revenue, the tavern industry accounted for nearly 2.0% of China’s catering industry in 2020, and the proportion is expected to be 2.4% by 2025. The revenue of China’s Tavern industry is expected to reach RMB 183.9 billion in 2025, compared with about RMB 77.6 billion in 2020, with a CAGR of 18.8%.
Facing the strong growth opportunities of China’s pub industry and the young people’s pursuit of “slightly drunk freedom”, the obvious feedback in the market is that mature brands and emerging brands have competed to open their own “slightly drunk model”.
In August, Haidilao opened a low-key tavern in Beijing, named hi Lao tavern. At present, it is only in trial operation in three stores in Beijing, namely Wangjing Xinhui City, Wangjing Huacai and Sanlitun SOHO;
The first good idea hub of seesaw, a boutique coffee brand, is located in Tongren 88 project, Jing’an District, Shanghai. With the theme concept of “day coffee night wine”, it aims to create a new young coordinate with more scenes and richer experience;
Even the thirteen invited taverns under one-way street Bookstore officially opened in early September, opening the “day bookstore, night tavern” mode;
As time goes on, the Starbucks “coffee praise” concept store actually added bar mixato winery as early as 2019 to provide special alcoholic drinks. The first new tea drink smelling business opportunities, Naixue’s tea, also opened blablabar specializing in wine in Shenzhen and Beijing
In this incremental market, there are strong competitors, and cross-border brands may also run out of the dark horse. In other words, Helen is facing all-round competition. However, from the perspective of improving the dispersion of domestic pubs and excessive premium, it is a two-way rush between brands and users.
Finally, let’s return to the most fundamental question. With so many pubs and bars, what is the “first share of small pubs” in China?
After all, 10 yuan beer, with strong capital, can follow up at any time; As for social places, in fact, Helen is not the only one. Now even the cottage milk tea shop in the downstairs pedestrian street knows how to do social places, but the difference is that Helen caters to the wave of inclusive consumption and implements it thoroughly.
What is inclusive consumption?
According to Zhang Peiyuan, managing partner of black ant capital, Pratt Whitney consumption has gone through several stages: 20 years ago, because everyone’s consumption capacity was not high, Pratt Whitney was a single low price.
With the trend of consumption upgrading coming 10 years later, we have better consumption ability, and the products supplied by businesses are getting better and better. The price rises from the single low price in the past to the comprehensive quality of economy and benefits. First, the environment should have beauty and tonality; Second, there are abundant products and many choices; Third, the service is kind and humane; Fourth, select according to needs, consume flexibly and unbind.
The above four points coincide with Helen’s business strategy. The price is cheap, the decoration is not bad, the waiters are always friendly, and there is no restriction on consumption
Helen’s listing means that the company can use other people’s money to rapidly develop its business and obtain a larger market. However, it also means that Helen, who made a lot of money in the past, will also be placed in a more rigorous examination field.
reference material:  
[1] Helens prospectus
[2] 36 krypton: 36 krypton’s exclusive “night Starbucks” Helen’s Tavern completed $33 million financing, led by black ant capital, Chen Zhiyan, February 19, 2021
[3]   Ba capital: “what is the purpose of entrepreneurship? The answer given by Helen”, Ba portfolio, September 9, 2021
[4]   Black ant capital Ba capital: day is survival, night is life — A Study on the basic trend of night economy “black ant sharing”, Ba portfolio, August 4, 2021
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