China Food

“Fatal wound” of sister Xi’s Fried String


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has not built its own moat in product production, forming a certain barrier.
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Most of the brands that have obtained financing in this year’s new consumption track have one thing in common – they have the potential of large-scale chain, which is also the root of capital chasing these brands.
From coffee, baking, pasta to low alcohol wine, the segments of new consumption are sought after by capital one by one.
Xijie Fried String, which has obtained the highest single financing in snack category, is one of the popular brands.
An investor told spirit beast that there is more room for fast food and snack brands. Xijie fried string is a typical small store model, which expands rapidly. Hundreds or even thousands of stores are very simple for such stores.
With the speed of opening 1400 stores in two years and an average of three stores a day, Xijie Fried String won the favor of capital and won the round a financing of 295 million yuan jointly led by source capital and xingnahe capital.
“We have obtained the consultation intention of more than 100 investment institutions in this round, including Sequoia and other large institutions.” Wang Kuankuan, founder of Xijie Fried String, once said publicly.
The future goal of sister Xi’s Fried String is to achieve “one hundred cities and ten thousand restaurants”, which opens the prelude to the traditional snack fried string being paid attention to by capital.
Baicheng WanDian, gravity?    
The Fried String track is very hot now.
After Xijie fried string obtained round a financing in October, Kuafu Fried String also completed the third round of financing this year, with a cumulative amount of more than 150 million yuan.
Xijie Fried String, established in April 2018, has signed more than 1400 stores nationwide, and the number of newly signed stores is about 100 every month.
Wang Kuankuan, the founder of Xijie Fried String, has had 10 entrepreneurial experiences.
Public information shows that after dropping out of freshman year, Wang Kuankuan’s entrepreneurial projects include spicy hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot shop, pickle shop, dumpling shop, barbecue shop, lobster shop, fried chicken shop, mutton soup shop and other catering projects.
Sister Xi’s Fried String is her 11th venture.
The selection of Fried String for snack category this time is based on the fact that small string is the category with the most “WanDian gene”.
Insiders said that now catering is moving in a small direction. Small shops and small menus are now testing the novelty rate of dishes. If we follow the mode of “direct sales, gate stores and decentralized supply chain”, it is difficult to do large-scale in a short time.
Yuan Zelu, the founder of Kuafu Fried String, once publicly said that small string is the category with the most “WanDian gene”. The Fried String ten thousand stores model is also a “small door store, Dalian lock and full supply chain”, that is, small stores with an area of 20-30 square meters are used, and there is almost no hall food; The supply chain mode of centralized supply of all food materials in the central kitchen and front sub warehouse in various places; All open franchises to achieve rapid share.
This logic has also formed the common store form of its brand. Most of them are in the small stores near the street of Shangchao. There is no hall food. On site takeout and online takeout are the main consumption forms.
It is understood that if the franchise fee, management fee, expensive rent and labor cost of the mall are included, the operating cost of opening a store is not low. However, whether Xijie or Kuafu Fried String, its store expansion speed is extremely rapid.
For this, insiders told spirit beast that the reason why they can open stores quickly is that these Fried String franchise stores adopt unified goods distribution. Franchise stores only need to consider the problems of site selection and daily operation. The central kitchen will make all fried strings, then freeze them, assemble them, distribute them to franchise stores through the cold chain, and then fry the ingredients on site.
At the same time, for large stores, if the business state is ideal, they can earn much more money than small stores, and capital is of little significance to them.
However, for small stores, it is difficult to copy the second and third stores with the money made by one store. The replication speed will be limited, and such small stores need to develop rapidly with the help of capital.
The above investors said that small stores replicate faster, while large stores are different. Big stores can only open three or two stores in one place. Although a single store makes money, the number of stores can not be done, and it is not easy to be favored by capital.
Wang Kuankuan also stressed that the opening cost of sister Xi’s Fried String will be controlled within 300000 yuan and follow the boutique model. “I don’t want to be a big store, because big stores are not conducive to opening stores and expanding the city. They are not the capital’s favorite ‘WanDian model’.”
In other words, regardless of whether small stores make money or not, the “WanDian model” is the best attraction to attract capital.
“redo” Fried String?
There has always been a phenomenon of “category without brand” in the field of fried string. As a roadside snack, fried string is often labeled as messy consumption scene and worrying about health and safety.
However, sister Xi’s Fried String aims at young consumers aged 18-35, mainly women.
The opening site is mainly located in the core business district to meet the conditions of various consumption scenarios such as walking food, takeout and hall food.
In terms of production, Xijie Fried String and Kuafu grabbed string have omitted the pickled meat and threading links in the pre production process of traditional fried string, and changed to unified distribution, which can quickly achieve the production standard in the process.
In terms of design, Xijie Fried String and Kuafu Fried String adopt the store image and packaging design of Guochao style, and the store image and packaging design of Guochao paper-cut style, such as super large words + door head with red bottom, string barrel, handbag and other elements.
To a certain extent, this caters to the consumption preferences of young users, makes stores and product packaging have “online Red” elements, and attracts many young people to punch in.
From the existing products of Xijie Fried String, there is self-made sauce stinky tofu, which is also the current net red product. Through the “signboard” or “must point” to attract attention for sale, and even match the type and quantity, sell in the “package” mode, such as sister Xi’s palm treasure (8 strings), must point fried ribs (5 strings), so that consumers can get a better ordering experience.
From the price point of view, the signature pork (8 strings), sister Xi’s palm treasure (8 strings), smooth and tender chicken string (20 strings) and fried ribs (5 strings) are 14 yuan per share, generally 50-60 yuan per order.
In this regard, some food lovers attracted by the publicity design said that after the actual taste, they all thought that sister Xi Fried String was not satisfactory in taste. Especially in terms of materials, the meat quality and oil quality of the products do not seem to have been greatly upgraded, which is not far from the street stalls we used to eat.
Some people in the industry said that it took only two years to expand from the first store to the current 1400 stores. The current upgrade is more reflected in the good-looking packaging design and the “seemingly delicious” product publicity pictures. In terms of product production, it has not created its own moat, forming a certain barrier.
As we all know, the production threshold of fried string is not high, and the ingredients are very common. This also means that it is highly reproducible.
According to the enterprise survey data, as of November this year, the number of Fried String enterprises in China had reached 8184, an increase of 52% compared with 2019, and nearly 10 times compared with five years ago.
After the “redo” of traditional categories, as long as some new emerging brands are simply imitated, the industry barriers will not exceed half a year or even three months.
For example, in a short-term visible case, after the new tea drinking track was brought to fire by happy tea, various imitation tea shops opened all over the streets and lanes, and fried the string track is no exception.
It is not difficult to see that sister Xi’s Fried String still follows the routine of “new consumption”, caters to the online Hongmen store and packaging of young people, detonates social marketing, and then creates a “circle” through characteristic products, so as to create and continuously improve brand awareness, and finally expand into a “WanDian chain” loved by capital.
If you want to dispel the doubts in the industry, you need to continue to improve the product power in the future.
After all, “product is king”, which is also the truth of the catering industry for many years.
Open franchise, hard injury?
The fatal weakness of snacks is food safety.
Xijie fried string is an open franchise chain model to achieve rapid development, but it requires high management and control ability. Once out of control, it is easy to have hidden dangers of food safety.
At present, consumers’ trust and reputation are limited. Once the brand has a food safety crisis, it will have an impact on the survival of the brand and even endanger the whole category.
In addition to the food safety weakness caused by open franchise and rapid expansion of stores, Xijie fried string is also facing four challenges for the development of the industry.
First, the profitability of brand development needs to be considered.
Now many new consumer brands can’t get rid of the loss dilemma in the short term. They only rely on traffic transformation and huge marketing expenses to support the playing method of the whole market, so that the enterprise’s profit is far away.
At present, the profitability of sister Xi’s Fried String is unknown, although it is also showing the opening speed of Ruixing coffee that year. According to Wang Kuankuan, founder of Xijie Fried String, its franchise fee is 40000, 50000 and 60000 yuan, as well as an annual management fee of 10000 yuan.
However, the development of a brand make complaints about the membership fee alone. The operation of the single store is different. And now there are franchisees on the Internet.
Second, fried string, barbecue and other addictive snacks will face the torture of “healthy life”. It is easy to re purchase, but it is not just needed.
Industry insiders told spirit beast that how to better meet the needs of new consumers, both addictive and healthy. That is, low oil, low fat and low calories. Cooking techniques, ingredients and condiments themselves are the entry points for the iterative renewal of products. There is still a lot of imagination space. The key depends on whether they can be realized within the acceptable cost.
For example, whether the traditional frying method can use the technology of air fryer, and whether the high calorie meat can be replaced by healthier plant proteins.
Third, Xijie fried string is also facing challenges such as product homogenization.
The central kitchen, the configuration of standardized operation and the single cooking mode all enable the Fried String brand to expand rapidly. But this also means that products are prone to homogenization.
Some media people said after exploring the store that these chain Fried String brands are really excellent in decoration environment and marketing, but in terms of products, if the packaging is excluded, there is basically no big difference in the variety, practice and taste of food materials.
At present, the overlap of Xijie Fried String and Kuafu Fried String in Shanghai stores exceeds 40%.
Fourth, the fried string category also faces the encroachment of other similar categories such as roasted string and fried chicken.
Fried string is mainly “fried”, but some consumers said that they also have the experience of heavy taste addiction when eating baked string, barbecue, fried chicken chops and even fried snacks.
At present, there are super brands with thousands or even tens of thousands of stores, and their supply chain and brand operation are more mature, which further diverts the fried string of consumer groups.
At the same time, the price of 5 yuan a fried string in honey snow ice city seems to be more competitive.
From this point of view, sister Xi fried string is not only facing the industry weakness and hard injury caused by joining, but also facing many challenges in the industry.
Just like the milk tea industry gradually falling into the inner roll, the competition of fried string is also slowly becoming white hot.

A string of hot air is perishable?
For non rigid products such as snacks, consumers have weak fixed preferences and are more keen on the pursuit of freshness.
For fried string, it is not easy to achieve differentiation in taste, and it is more difficult to establish a solid brand moat.
Because consumers are often loyal users of the “Fried String” category, but it is difficult to become loyal fans of a brand.
Even Wang Kuankuan, the founder of Xijie Fried String, once said that it is not impossible to make fried chicken and other new products in the future, and even make some self-developed drinks.
Yuan Zelu of Kuafu Fried String also said that he is more optimistic about proteins in snacks, and will develop string products in the future, as well as the combination of Fried String and wine.
However, as a category with high elimination rate in the catering industry, how to meet consumers in taste and achieve product innovation, so as to attract users to repurchase is a big problem.
The real problem before us is whether the brand will fall with the rotation of the wind mouth after the track is heated by capital before achieving the ultimate goal of “100 cities and 10000 stores”?
In the past, in the catering industry, entrepreneurs mostly took the fried string of snacks as a small business. Nowadays, with the rise of digital commerce and the upgrading of traditional category consumption, some entrepreneurial teams with internet background have begun to regard this small business as a career, from new tea, baking, noodles, to brine, and then to fried string
However, with the continuous rise of young consumer groups, more and more new brands “become popular at one shot”, and then quickly die out.
For example, Huang Taiji, diaoye beef brisket and instant noodles canteen in those days… In the noise of “fame is greater than product power”, they did not escape the short-lived “net red fate” after all.
As for why online Red stores are easy to die out, insiders told spirit beast that many brands are “difficult to match under the reputation” is the root cause.
In addition, building IP is the common choice of the brand.
For example, both Xijie Fried String and Kuafu’s bags adopt the paper “national fashion” packaging style to attract young consumers.
But creating IP is not just a packaging design, or a “Guochao bag”.
On the road of branding, how to prolong the life cycle of the brand and how to break the short-lived online Red curse should be more considered by the brand founders.
War of “front wave”
This year, the investment circle often uses the words “all traditional categories can be used to do it again” to describe the new consumption track.
As everyone knows, the earliest source of this sentence is not the investment industry, but an old Internet gun known by the industry as focusing on Marketing – carving master.
Diaoye, formerly known as Meng Xing, became popular on the Internet in 2006 with his article “Abolishing martial arts – making the first 10 million through” subtraction “.
2019 issued a document saying that “every kind of consumer goods is worth doing again”. This point of view has aroused a lot of controversy. Of course, many practitioners resonate with it.
Among them, diaoye beef brisket is the brand it founded in 2013. According to the reality of public data, the brand obtained a round of financing of 60 million yuan in 2013; In 2017, it obtained the strategic investment of Shanda group.
At that time, the brand publicity called diaoye beef brisket restaurant the first “light luxury meal” catering brand in China. His secret recipe for cooking beef brisket was purchased from Dai long, the Hong Kong God of food, the prototype character in Stephen Chow’s film God of food, for 5 million yuan.
For a time, it became a popular punch in place.
At that time, there was a saying circulating in the circle that what you ate when you went to carve Ye’s Beef Brisket was not beef brisket rice, but that steaming bowl of Internet thinking. Countless people had clocked in.
It is understood that when diaoye beef brisket was the hottest, the Ping effect reached 321 yuan, and the daily turnover of all stores even reached about 1 million yuan.
Similar to carving Lord beef brisket, there is also Huang Taiji of Hechang.
The restaurant entrepreneurial brand, which claims to have a strong Internet flavor, has attracted great attention by relying on several hot topics such as “beautiful landlady” and “driving Mercedes Benz to send pancakes”.
Looking back, both carving Ye’s beef brisket and Huang Taiji’s Pancakes catered to the trend that the Internet accelerated the subversion and transformation of traditional industries after 2012.
Their common core is marketing theory. Through a series of hype and communication, they became the spokesman of Internet thinking at that time.
And its core point is telling stories.
Back to today’s new consumption, people in the industry said that at that moment, it was just like this moment. The fried string of snack categories has made great efforts in design and packaging with the help of the gimmick of new consumption and upgrading of traditional categories, but ignored the creation of the moat of the most critical product itself.
At that time, not only many entrepreneurs went to taste the experience with the psychology of pilgrimage, but also the capital side bought the “stories” of diaoye, Hechang and others.
According to relevant data, diaoye once said that diaoye beef brisket was valued at nearly 1 billion in only two years. Huang Taiji, too, valued at 1.2 billion in a short time.
It is worth mentioning that from the establishment of the brand in 2013 to 2016, four rounds of financing were completed, of which the amount of round B financing in October 2015 was as high as 180 million yuan.
But after the highlight, they all fell to the ground.

It is reported that in 2016, Huang Taiji exposed the action of closing the store. At that time, he Chang responded through an article “there is no trough, there is no peak” that “half of the large factories and stores have indeed been closed, with an average of more than 500 square meters each, with large expenses and costs. Since the business structure is unreasonable, there is no need to keep it, it must be closed”. He also said that the store was supported by shareholders and the team and did not lose the trust of investors.
Just in the same period, diaoye beef brisket also had poor business conditions, fewer customers clocking in to try fresh food, serious decline in revenue, poor management and closing of stores.     
In the final analysis, after consumers’ novelty experience disappears, diaoye beef brisket is no longer attractive.
In other words, the core competitiveness of diaoye beef brisket and Huangtaiji pancake under marketing packaging is to arouse consumers’ curiosity.
As for the real product itself, it failed to form a moat.
Anyone can do business may mean that no one grows up. In the future, new brands must turn consumer goods from low threshold to high threshold.
Just like the fried string category, sister Xi and Kuafu step on the tuyere. It is not difficult for the brand to succeed in stages, but it is very difficult to continue to do the brand for a long time.
Just as capital itself is a tool, in the eyes of capital, there is neither good nor evil, and it is inevitable to pursue profits. However, as an entrepreneur at the industrial end, if he can not play the “double-edged sword” of capital, he can only become the “prey” of capital.
In the past and present, the cycle of “front wave” and “back wave” is the Shura battlefield. It will never end. Those who adapt survive and those who do not adapt will be eliminated.
Author: Qingshan; Source: lingshouke (ID: lingshouke), reprint authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246);
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