China Food

Lu Chuan abandoned the post-80s generation

Generation Z of
has changed the taste, mode and underlying logic of this matter.
Wang Ji, 25, realized a life reversal in Hegang, the country’s lowest house price. His secret is to sell slightly sweet Beef Kebabs to young people after 95.
Wang Ji will put an appropriate amount of sugar on the fat oil between the two pieces of meat and bake it over the fire to form a sugar coating outside the fat. When the meat kebab is placed on the lips, you can slightly smell the sweet smell of meat, and the meat tastes slightly sweet and slippery. This kind of sweet kebab attracts young people in Hegang: three years ago, Wang Ji was worried about getting married and lack of money. Now his “Wangji barbecue” The annual income is more than one million, which has become an “upper circle” of income in Hegang.
In the eyes of post-80s gourmets, this kind of hair sweet meat string is rebellious. They even rarely order these sweet string products. Instead, several old school classic meat tendon strings from Wang Ji’s mother 15 years ago are popular among post-80s: fresh meat is roasted by fire, sprinkled with cumin, salt and chili noodles.
The “sweet change” caused by young people was also staged in Beijing 1600 kilometers away.
Just in the past autumn, the 16-year-old snack bar launched a variety of new sweet products: pineapple beef ribs and New Year cake chicken kebabs. Zhang Lin, the 43 year old founder of the snack bar, is no stranger to this change. He told huolf: “the taste trend changes in the baking kebab industry on average once every five years, and every generation of young people have a favorite taste.”
The changes brought by young people are not just the taste. A continuous entrepreneur in the barbecue circle who does not want to be named told Hu olfactory that the post-80s once established and ruled an era of string rolling: they drank inexpensive industrial beer and rolled bold and simple meat kebabs. The store only needed a TV with repeated World cup videos.
The entry of generation Z is overturning some of the bottom logic of the track. (generation Z: generally refers to people born between 1995 and 2009)
In early October, the CEO of an electric kebab brand told Hu olfactory that in 2021, all of its stores had installed bars. In addition to the common industrial beer in the kebab store, 35% of the refined beer, sparkling wine and fruit wine were added to their liquor SKUs. They even asked someone to name some kebabs again, such as “streaking prawns” and “garlic flavored oysters” What impressed him most was that the dish name “shoot cucumber” was suggested to be changed to “shoot a cucumber” because it would make Gen Z sound more cute.
This change is making capital re-examine the string circle. In 2021, there were new financing cases in the field of baking and frying string. Some investors told Hu olfactory that this is the moment when capital pays most attention to the string circle after 2013. Around the young people gathered in the string and the consumption scene reshaped by the crowd, capital can’t help it.
Young people’s remolding of Lu Chuan is not only on the demand side.
Just recently, Wang Ji, who has earned millions of yuan a year, is worried about recruiting less than Post-00 apprentices. The kebab division in Hegang is a well paid job. Most stores offer the kebab division a monthly salary of 7000 ~ 9000 yuan. As a comparison, the income of the local Watson store manager is 4000 ~ 6000 yuan.
But in the past two years or so, Wang Ji hasn’t been recruited after 00. Some young people run away from the interview because they can’t bear the hardships of apprentices, while some young people refuse to come because they feel disgraceful. Finally, Wang Ji can only go back to his hometown and recruit people from his cousins and cousins, which makes Wang Ji barbecue become a family business with the naked eye. “I don’t want to be a family business at all. I want to make brand and professional development to let the brand go out of Hegang and out of the northeast, but I’m short of people, because I can’t even go out of Hegang now.”
reshaped by generation Z
Zhang Lin no longer cares about young employees dyeing their hair and tattoos.
16 years ago, he was not like this.
At that time, Zhang Lin would ask the employees of the gathering bar to unify their uniforms, makeup and even hairstyles. He would be angry about the employees’ personal dress, but as he joined after 95 or even 00, Zhang Lin found that he needed to learn to compromise.
Just 600 meters away from the cluster bar (Wangjing Wangjiao store), a hair stylist with Mubei style revealed that since 2020, the most critical incremental business line of the store is to do spot dyeing for the post-95 and Post-00 (dye a lock of hair with different colors) and even a nearby high school, where 6 of the 16 girls in a class do spot dyeing.
In the eyes of Zhang Lin and other Chuanquan veterans, 2018 is a watershed. From this year, the words after 95, generation Z and after 00 have become high-frequency words in Chuanquan. An entrepreneur who has operated a kebab shop in Shanghai for 12 years told Hu olfactory that these young forces have rushed to Chuanquan like a tide: they have not only become new core consumers, but also become new labor resources, and even become New taste “authority”.
A typical detail is that these Z generation often tiktok, little red book or live with three feet on the string when they eat string. In Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and other places, almost all the older generation of shopkeeper owners have experienced such scenes: they tried to refuse to shop young people to eat and broadcast, but could not stop at the beginning, but less than a year later, all the old people were old. Almost all the boards have given up – too many young people want to make short videos or broadcast them while eating.
This “young shock” first reshaped the scene. An old kebab shop that has been operating in Xi’an for 17 years will be rebuilt at the end of 2019. For this reconstruction, the 53 year old boss of the first generation had a dispute with his son, the 26 year old boss of the second generation. The former wanted to make complaints about rusty old lamp holders and greasy old wallpaper, but the latter totally denied this because more than one young customer Tucao could not take pictures and take videos.
In the eyes of the Chuang generation, the essence of the business is six words: “Chuang is delicious and can chat.” this is also the traditional thinking of many Chuang bosses: as long as you provide good things and match a social place suitable for chatting, it is not difficult to do this business.
But the “new authoritative discourse system” composed of young people is voting against this kind of thinking. On a dining platform, the area of the roast string shop has plummeted from the end of 2017, while many of the users make complaints about two times and pets.
This change makes Kuafu Fried String CEO yuan Zelu feel very deeply. In 2018, he was preparing to start a business again. At that time, there were two things that made him rethink the younger generation. Firstly, on the e-commerce platform, Guochao brands such as Li Ning rose again. Secondly, in the Z generation consumption insight report released by Tencent this year, the new generation of young people were interpreted as a group of people who are more confident, personalized and strongly interested in Guochao. At the same time, yuan Zelu found that generation Z began to become more “curtily”. Compared with previous consumers, these young people were more willing to try takeout. “If there is no physical contact between consumers and stores, should our understanding of space change?”
The storm of space remodeling is becoming more and more intense. After the epidemic, several architectural design companies specializing in Guochao, secondary element and E-sports theme have received chain store contracts from Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai. A person in charge of a design company headquartered in Changsha told Hu olfactory that under normal circumstances, chain stores rarely “greatly change the design”, but from 2020 to 2021, the architectural design industry has ushered in a series of “single year”.
From Zhang Lin’s efforts, it is not difficult to see the impact of this young storm on the circle. Recently, the gathering point chain bar even began to study the addition of script killing projects in stores, but what challenges Zhang Lin and the team is that they need to find a clever balance between baking string and script killing.
But these changes are by no means as easy as they seem.
An unnamed person in charge of the head kebab chain brand in a first tier city told huolf that everyone in the kebab circle sees generation Z as the future, but in the short term of two to three years, post-80s and post-90s consumers are generally the main force of store revenue. “Do you choose now or bet on the future? Some scene designs that please generation Z will make the post-80s feel boastful.”
The person in charge said that this is actually a common “innovation and retention game” in the catering industry. But compared with tea and coffee, it is more difficult to play in circles. “In the Chinese market, compared with tea and coffee, kebab and fried kebab are more ancient flavor. Many cities had shop everywhere 20 years ago. The resistance of user habits we face is much higher than that of tea and coffee.”
What makes many circle practitioners anxious is that the reconstruction of the circle scene by generation Z is only the surface. Deeper down, the younger generation is also becoming a key variable to change the taste and even consumption mode of string products.
What makes Zhang Lin feel deeply is that generation Z consumers are far less obsessed with “authenticity” than their predecessors. In the Jianghu of Beijing kebabs 16 years ago, if a shop wanted to have a prosperous business, it generally had to focus on the signboards of “XX original flavor” and “authentic XXX kebabs”, and even invited a kebab master thousands of miles away to sit down. However, today, some authentic kebabs are no longer liked by young people.
“They want to eat what they like. They have their own judgment. They don’t blindly believe in authority and follow the authentic.” Zhang Lin said that this may be the biggest variable brought to the whole circle by generation Z – their preferences are unpredictable and uncertain.
Yuan Zelu believes that the needs of generation Z young people are changing, and the needs of users are more fragmented and scattered. Young people may not have three meals a day, but one, five or six meals.
A common problem faced by practitioners in the chain circle is how to evolve the business model of the chain again in the face of more changeable and decentralized needs?
Unexpectedly accelerated “string” evolution
Yuan Zelu’s expansion plan was suspended.
That was the end of 2019. At the Kuafu string bombing executive meeting, yuan Zelu proposed to reach 500 by the end of 2020. At that time, there were more than 200 signed stores and more than 80 actually operated. The new expansion plan means that the coverage point of Kuafu fried string will be expanded nearly five times in the next year. Affected by the epidemic, Kuafu’s store expansion plan was shelved. Like many chain stores at that time, the reduction of store passenger flow led to difficult business.
Within a 15 kilometer radius of Kuafu Fried String headquarters, at least 45 string brands or single stores were closed and adjusted during the epidemic. A chain entrepreneur, who asked not to be named, told Hu olfactory that the epidemic has brought a cold winter for “string products that are highly dependent on store food”.
The cold winter led to two results. First, in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, a batch of points were idle and began to rent at a price lower than the normal level. Some surviving chain stores took the opportunity to open and expand after recovering their vitality.
Kuafu fried string obtained an unexpected “acceleration”. After the epidemic, Kuafu fried string obtained a number of good points at a lower price. “From now on, we got some good stores at that stage.” yuan Zelu admitted that he was very anxious every day in the eight months when the epidemic was the most serious, but he didn’t expect that things would be unpredictable.
The epidemic has also changed the attitude of selling in circles. The person in charge of category investment promotion of a food and catering platform revealed that before the epidemic, chuanpin was one of the most difficult customer groups to be persuaded. Most of the string products have the best eating time, and the takeout logistics is easy to reduce the taste of the string products. The pumping of the platform and more expensive takeout packaging are increasing the cost of chain stores. Even some entrepreneurs believe that takeout is harmful to the brand of chuanpintang restaurant. A head chain kebab brand resolutely withdrew from the two takeout platforms. According to people familiar with the matter, the founder of the brand believes that the decline in taste caused by takeout will directly criticize the brand and eventually damage the brand image.
In Hegang, Wang Ji even had a dispute with her elders over whether to serve takeout. In the view of Wang Ji’s elders, hall food is what kebabs should be, but Wang Ji believes that takeout is the only way for kebab stores to expand market coverage.
The epidemic is reshaping the minds of serial bosses. After August 2020, the takeout platform ushered in a wave of chain store landing boom. Take Wang Ji’s “Wang Ji barbecue” as an example. During the epidemic period, Wang Ji began to try takeout through meituan, and its takeout proportion gradually exceeded 20% from “negligible”. In the peak season of barbecue in 2021, the takeout income proportion of “Wang Ji barbecue” was once close to 40%.
In a first tier city, a chain store that explicitly rejected the delivery platform in 2019 began to set up a separate delivery business department in October 2020 and restarted cooperation with several major delivery platforms. According to people familiar with the matter, in the summer of 2021, the takeout revenue of the brand accounted for nearly 25%. According to the data from meituan, the online orders of barbecue brands increased by more than 100% year-on-year in 2020.
As the proportion of takeout increases, a new challenge follows. In the traditional mode, a chain store affects consumers through “products and scenarios”, while in the home state, the actual connection between the chain store and consumers is only products.
“This means that your products have become the key to competition, but as users (generation z) become the main force of online shopping, you have to accurately find their needs and launch their favorite products.” a catering informatization practitioner told huolf that the informatization process of shopping has been generally slow in the past few years, “This is a very old business from product to form to mode.”
According to insiders, more than 95% of the chain stores (roasted and fried) in China still adopt the traditional procurement mode. The store manager goes to the vegetable market in the morning to “grab meat and vegetables”, or “order by phone” to the supplier. In the SKU iteration, more than 60% of the SKUs in most chain stores are the same as they were five years ago.
After the epidemic, this traditional model is facing challenges.
“Speed has actually become the key. It is not only the response speed to market demand, but also the logistics speed.” hungry? The relevant operation director told Hu olfactory that a typical new opportunity comes from the “night time”. After the epidemic, the young people of generation Z are interested in “night time” The consumption enthusiasm for this matter has increased significantly. Due to the European Cup in 2021, the night roll string has entered the peak season after the epidemic. However, a key problem is that the young generation has more limited “waiting patience” for night roll string takeout. “There are many chargebacks due to the long waiting time, which is a speed war.”
But for chain stores, improve “delivery” Speed and market responsiveness are not easy. The real problem facing most of the chain stores is that the production capacity of the stores is limited. If the takeout demand is greatly met, the food delivery efficiency of the stores will be affected. In the logistics link, most of the chain stores are unwilling to use the logistics capacity provided by the platform due to price factors, and are willing to adopt a cheaper store delivery method, which improves the efficiency Requirements for brand logistics capability.
“In the catering industry, in fact, there is no immutability. You can only adapt to the continuous evolution of the market, otherwise you can only be eliminated.” Zhang Lin told Hu olfactory that in the gathering point cluster bar, SKUs will be readjusted every month and quarter, and there will be a substantial renewal in the spring and autumn. “On average, there must be some structural adjustment every half a year.” In Kuafu Fried String, the iteration speed of SKUs is also getting faster. According to yuan Zelu, they will replace at least 2 ~ 3 SKUs every quarter. Once the sales of a SKU are low for two consecutive quarters, it will be ruthlessly eliminated.
What has been changed is not only the iteration speed of SKU, but also the most fundamental R & D link. A master of kebab with 20 years of experience revealed that kebab circle pays great attention to experience and intuition. In fact, the traditional new product R & D model is highly dependent on individuals: often you like a store because you like the craftsmanship of the master in the store.
But in the takeout era, this R & D model of Luchuan is being rewritten. “The best time to taste the real-time skewers is within 20 minutes after they are made, and the effect of on-site food is the best. In fact, most takeout meals can not meet this rhythm. For the skewers that miss the best time to taste, master’s influence on personal skills is limited – so you need to pursue the maximum common divisor, not personal works of art.” the above-mentioned roasted skewers Master said, Under the dual influence of the epidemic and young people, there may be a deep-seated change in the industry: some string shops are quiet and have become popular single stores with their outstanding skills, but it is difficult to replicate them in large numbers; The other is to take the road of chain, but to pursue the greatest common divisor of taste and commercialization.
This is regarded as a collision between “craftsman” and “commercial gene”. Once a catering information supplier went to Xi’an to promote the store information system for several head chain stores, but it was categorically rejected by the boss who is over 60 and has more than 40 years of experience. “They believe more in the heat, experience in meat selection, circle contacts and reputation based on this.”
Wang Ji himself is such a “contradiction”. He began to learn arts with his mother at the age of 15 and officially graduated after seven years. At 5:30 every day, he will go to Hegang vegetable market to choose a special beef: the cattle are between 2 and 3 years old and the meat is thin. Although he has made millions of years, Wang Ji dare not entrust others with two key processes: Fire roasting and meat selection. But at the same time, he is eager to make changes. “I also hope to develop the chain, but I don’t know how to manage better and how to tap more talents.”
“Reshaping the string” around people
Lu Chuan is entering the best era, perhaps the worst era.
Yuan Zelu talked about a detail. Six years ago, when he was still in his last entrepreneurial project, he wanted to cooperate with a third-party cold chain freight company. It was found that there were no similar services in the market at that time. In desperation, the project team can only spend money to buy trucks. In 2021, if you want to find a third-party cold chain freight, you don’t even need to take the initiative to call. BD of relevant start-ups will stare at your store and take the initiative to promote it.
The upgrading of basic parts is not only the logistics end.
In 2021, many chain stores began to transform to pubs. In order to meet the demands of generation Z for refined beer and sparkling wine, these chain stores began to improve their liquor SKUs. According to Zhang Lin, it is not difficult to establish a liquor supply chain today – a large number of liquor brands will take the initiative to visit the chain stores and try to obtain these channels. Some wineries even found Zhang Lin and asked him if he needed custom brewed beer. “Ten years ago, this was unimaginable.” Zhang Lin felt that the basic end of the track had been greatly upgraded for the business of Lu Chuan.
But does the upgrading of the basic environment really make the business easy to do?
“10 years ago, you could live for three years, now you live for three months.” a chain store entrepreneur, who asked not to be named, said that more personalized and decentralized needs and more participants are making this track extremely fierce, and the most terrible thing is “homogenization”.
An investor tried to find high-quality string products in 2021. He specially went to Changsha and Chongqing to find string products, but he finally came back frustrated. Almost all new stores package themselves as hip-hop, Guochao or two-dimensional style stores. In terms of string products, the investor even found that the “prefabricated string” supplier of five stores came from one.
Hidden behind the fierce competitive market is actually a group of smarter consumers.
Zhang Ming is a Shanghai boy born in 2000. He studied in University. He goes to a nearby shop with his friends every week. He said that he sometimes deliberately avoided the top 10 stores on the comment platform and chose stores between 10 and 20. “I’m worried that the first few bought traffic.” Zhang Ming said that he would even retreat from the chain stores with a strong sense of decoration because he was worried about “flashiness”.
Even this group of consumers are hinting at the potential crisis of the future of the “chain” bosses. According to the data from xiaohongshu, in October 2021, compared with October 2020, the number of searches related to “air fryer and Fried String” in xiaohongshu community increased by more than 14 times year-on-year. This kind of air fryer and fried string is often DIY food in the creator’s home, and one of the reasons for the rapid rise of these videos at the traffic end is “air fryer” Let these young people feel healthier. It is worth pondering that xiaohongshu was also the mainstream grass planting platform for kebabs and doughnuts from 2018 to 2019.
At a catering forum earlier this year, an old Jianghu man said that the “0 sugar and 0 card” wind of the beverage track should be carefully studied by the brothers. “In a sense, our business is on the same boat as beer and coke. If everyone pursues low fat, low sugar and non oil, where should we go?”
However, there are also capital circles to give greater expectations. In October, a chain kebab brand started its new round of financing trip. According to informed sources, the valuation scale of the project will exceed that of some existing well-known brands, and it is worth pondering the logic behind its high valuation: This kebab store is regarded as a key channel for new consumption of drinks, bubble water, soft bags, tea and even blind box products, Even investors believe that it can no longer be simply described as “chain stores”. In an exchange, some investors even suggested that the person in charge of the store “try to sell beauty makeup in the store.”
But before a better future comes, the old guns still need to solve their current troubles: under the influence of uncertain factors caused by the epidemic, the operation of some chain stores has been unable to return to normal, and will soon enter the off-season. How should we spend this winter?
More intense competition is also further “cooling” this winter.
Just across the road from “Wangji barbecue” in Hegang, a new chain store has opened. As Wang Ji became famous in Hegang for his millions of years, there was a little agitation in the local Jianghu: people were curious about Wang Ji’s wealth password and “salivated” at the young people who went to Wangji barbecue.
This makes Wang Ji face more intense circles in the Jianghu: if he wants to grab high-quality beef, he must get up at least 15 minutes earlier.
Author: Miao Zhengqing; Source: Huxiang app (ID: huxiu_com), reprint has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246);
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