China Food

The world’s fireworks, the most caress VC heart!

“ 
explore the innovative space for the rejuvenation of barbecue.
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Text: Dajun

Source: Lemon brand Society (ID: lemonclub2031)

 
When the young people in the night market and street stalls gradually disappeared, they once had an open-air barbecue in the street fire, rushed into the shopping center and high-end pedestrian street, put on a new label of hygiene and high appearance, and met the young people again.
 
From the smoky roadside snacks in the past to today’s “smokeless upstarts”, the identity of kebabs has changed, accompanied by the rise of their status. Capital is happy to see its success in the transformation of barbecue shops, and has made heavy bets.
 
However, unlike tea brands, kebabs are not new, and they are a long-term category without brand. So, can the cutting-edge barbecues successfully get rid of the traditional roadside stall image and establish a brand? What is the logic of capital favoring chain kebab circuit? What is the prospect of the barbecue industry?
 
The barbecue track is hot
In 2019, after the lancet barbecue obtained the 5 million Angel round investment led by the 1898 fund, Yongdingmen electric barbecue string and Kuafu Fried String successively obtained the olive branch of capital a long time ago. Among them, Kuafu fried string has made a fire in the industry with the achievement of “winning three rounds of financing in only one year in 2021”.
 
“The future of chain kebab circuit can be expected” is obviously the consensus of capital. In addition to the investment institutions that have entered the board before 2019, the chain Kechuan track has gathered a number of investment regulars in the consumption field, such as tomato capital, Jinding capital, pleasure capital, source capital, Huaying capital, Meihua venture capital and so on.
 
The barbecue industry has a low threshold, which is favored by entrepreneurs, and the capital falling in love with “Luchuan” has further ignited the heat of the barbecue industry. In 2020, the proportion of barbecue stores directly increased to 4.7% from 4.1% in 2019. Among the many subdivided catering categories in China, barbecue is second only to hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot.
 
New players continue to enter the chain Kechuan track, which is still a novice track.
 
In 2020, although the chain rate of the barbecue industry increased to 9.4%, it is still lower than the average level of the catering industry (15%), and the number of chain brand stores with 50 stores and below accounts for about 70%.
In addition to the fact that the number of wooden house barbecue has exceeded 100, there are more than 1000 stores of Kuafu Fried String and Xijie Fried String. Even with the help of capital, the number of brand stores in the industry is more than 70. This is far from the number of hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot brands with hundreds of stores and the industry chain rate of 18.3%.
 
The market scale of chain kebabs is also less than that of hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot. According to the data of Haitong Securities, the scale of barbecue track in 2021 was 247.7 billion yuan, while the market scale of hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot track reached 643.9 billion yuan.
 
Although the scale of the barbecue track is still small in the short term, its growth rate is far higher than the overall level of the catering market.
 
According to the data of 2019 nighttime catering consumption and nighttime snack category development report, the growth rate of barbecue category in 2019 reached 53.8%; In 2020, when the volume of other catering businesses decreased by 20-30%, the barbecue category achieved contrarian growth, ranking first in the growth rate.
 
Centralized layout of the first-line market is an important feature of chain kebab brands.
 
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Chengdu and other first tier cities and new first tier cities are the gathering places of barbecue brands. The number of barbecue shops in Chongqing is significantly higher than that in other cities, close to 10000; Chengdu and Beijing followed, with more than 8000 stores.
 
Picture from ncbd
Whether it’s wooden house barbecue or Kuafu Fried String, almost all well-known brands take first tier cities as their main development positions. The broad sinking market is still the main battlefield of traditional barbecue shops.
 
Enterprise and capital entry reasons
The chain kebab brand can quickly penetrate into the first tier cities, not without trace.
 
The revolutionary change of catering supply chain provides an important opportunity for the development of chain brands.
 
In the past, the central kitchen was responsible for the cumbersome purchase of food materials in various stores. By establishing a long-term cooperative relationship with the upstream, the central kitchen centralized procurement, while ensuring the stable supply of food materials, reduces the procurement cost with the advantage of scale; The unified distribution of goods to stores is completed by setting up the supply chain mode of pre warehouse distribution in various places.
 
The production of ingredients in the back kitchen of the store has also been simplified. The central kitchen completes the steps of cleaning, cutting and matching, pickling, threading and so on. The back kitchen only needs to heat the processed ingredients, which greatly improves the serving efficiency of the store.
 
Wooden house barbecue, Xijie Fried String, Kuafu Fried String and lancet barbecue all adopt the central kitchen pre-processing mode, so as to improve the food material cost control system and control the brand gross profit margin. In addition, some brands also layout upstream factories by means of equity, holding, investment cooperation and so on, enabling the downstream store system.
 
However, according to Sui Zhengjun, founder of wooden house barbecue, the standardization of the supply chain of the barbecue industry is only 50% – 60% of that of the hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot industry. The rapid development of chain kebab industry is bound to require corresponding industry infrastructure, and the upstream supply chain system still needs to be improved.
The easy standard of barbecue industry has great attraction to people and large market space, which is another important reason to attract chain brands.
 
From the consumer side, first of all, regardless of the world, the public’s taste requirements for barbecue are basically the same. They are mainly spicy, and there are no common regional differences in the catering industry. Therefore, the target audience of barbecue is wide enough to be a business that can cover the national market.
 
Secondly, the spicy and delicious taste of barbecue has “addiction”, which ensures a sufficiently high repurchase rate.
 
In conclusion, barbecue is a track enough to breed “large catering enterprises”.
 
From the store supply side, the barbecue industry itself is not highly dependent on chefs. The empowerment of the central kitchen weakens the role of the chef again. Under the unified barbecue process management of the store, the dishes are highly standardized.
 
A relatively easy standardized catering track makes the expansion of restaurant stores more explosive, which is also the premise of running out of large market value catering companies.
 
In addition, the “intimate social” attribute of barbecue makes this track have a greater probability of producing a “flow pool” level catering chain brand, which has become a category that enterprises are willing to cultivate deeply. The barbecue can be operated in a small store mode, and due to the small number of employees, simplified SKU and low investment cost, it is easier for enterprises to develop into WanDian in the form of “ant army”.
 
Yuan Zelu, founder of Kuafu Fried String, once compared the roasted string to the next “chicken chops” in the snack industry, and the category of chicken chops has given birth to many super brands such as McDonald’s, KFC, Wallace, Zhengxin chicken chops and so on. It is self-evident that enterprises are optimistic about the barbecue track.
 
The poor catering environment is also prompting the brand to take the initiative to seek change, so as to cultivate a new growth curve and continue its own growth.
 
With the normalization of the epidemic situation, catering enterprises with weak profitability and poor anti risk ability have accelerated the liquidation, and the “leftovers” have improved their crisis awareness and sought new market opportunities. According to the survey data of China Hotel Association, although 21% of food enterprises plan to close after the epidemic, more food enterprises have new investment intention and new brand plan, accounting for 61% and 58% respectively.
 
From the perspective of store profitability, as the operation mode of barbecue enterprises tends to be Internet-based, the headquarters provides delivery agent operation, brand awareness building and other services, allowing each store to operate in a retail mode, reducing the operation difficulty for franchisees and bringing a higher performance level.
 
At the same time, the headquarters provides decoration, design, finance and other services to all stores, and builds the supply chain empowerment and digital operation management system, which improves the efficiency of stores and reduces operating costs, leaving a relatively reasonable profit space for franchisees.
 
Wang Kuan, founder of Xijie Fried String, once said that the gross profit margin of roasted string to franchisees is much higher than that of duck neck and other snacks.
 
With the promotion of enterprises and the active entry of franchisees, a two-way Rush has made it possible for the rapid expansion of chain kebab brands.
Innovation model of entrants
The consumption demand for barbecue has always existed. Under the background of consumption upgrading, there is no need to question the purchasing power of consumers. However, a meal of kebabs has risen from 30 yuan per capita to more than 50 yuan. The chain kebab brand also needs to give consumers enough reasons to buy.
 
Reason 1: upgrade the ingredients and taste, create popular products and improve the consumer experience.
 
The production threshold of kebabs is not high, the ingredients are ordinary, and the taste is popular, which also means that the products in the industry are homogeneous. In order to achieve differentiated competition, emerging barbecue brands mostly choose to attract consumers by means of product innovation, including adopting higher value ingredients and creating better taste.
 
Take a long time ago as an example:
 
In the barbecue industry, there are many shops that use frozen duck and other low-cost meat to replace mutton. The smell of mutton and mutton oil has also deterred many consumers, which has become a major constraint on the development of the industry.
 
A long time ago, after selecting mutton kebabs as the main product, its product experience was significantly different from that of most barbecue shops on the market. In addition to the introduction of 6-month-old lamb from Hulunbuir, the meat is fresh and tender; In addition to bringing consumers a stronger sense of product satisfaction, it also gives a new solution to weaken the smell of mutton and improve the market acceptance of products.
 
The smell of mutton depends on two key links: the age of sheep and the oxidation degree of mutton. In the age dimension of sheep, the 6-month-old selected a long time ago is in the period of less mutton smell. In the dimension of oxidation degree, long ago, it penetrated into many links of the industrial chain, including avoiding intermediate channels, finding the source manufacturer, specifying the slaughterhouse, and contacting the air as little as possible during storage and transportation, so as to ensure that the mutton smell distributed to the store is controllable.
 
Reason 2: marketing, decoration and IP stories work together to break consumers’ inherent cognition and capture consumers’ mind with a new brand image.
 
For catering brands, not only the decline of Hukou monument will lead to the decline of brand popularity; The decline of brand popularity will also lead to the decline of user reputation. Therefore, the decline of either of the two may cause the brand to enter a vicious circle. As a non rigid category in the catering competition, snacks need to cater to the preferences of young consumer groups, create pop content, shape brand tone, and maintain brand popularity and user reputation.
 
Take the lancet barbecue as an example:
 
The strong academic gene and medical culture atmosphere is an important symbol of lancet barbecue. Wang Jian and Cheng Si, the founders of lancet barbecue, worked in Beijing’s third class hospital as medical doctors and postdoctors respectively. The brand “Lancet” is derived from the proper name of the scalpel, which is intended to pay tribute to the top medical journal “Lancet”.
 
The promotion of lancet barbecue is very unique. You need to enjoy a discount by virtue of the quality of your paper. In some stores, the monthly ranking list of customer SCI is also posted.
 
For ordinary consumers, the strong correlation between brand and medicine brings a sense of freshness and brand trust. For doctors and researchers, you can not only eat barbecue in the lancet, but also experience the sense of honor and identity of your identity. This not only attracted the big men in the medical circle, but also attracted the patronage of summerkill, the senior executive editor of the lancet.
 
Reason 3: the compound mode of “barbecue +” further improves the consumption experience and extends the consumption scene.
 
Barbecue + beer, barbecue + seafood, barbecue + brine, barbecue + Jianghu cuisine… The composite model of barbecue + allows entrants to enter the market with a more diverse product structure around the needs of consumer groups.
 
The double combination mode of “hot money + hot money” not only extends the consumption scene, but also breaks the limitations of time period for the barbecue business focusing on night consumption, enters noon, afternoon and other periods, and obtains better flow and sales advantages when competing with the same category.
 
Haidilao’s first barbecue shop “Jianghu Haidilao” and the new barbecue brand “wantonly roll out strings” adopt the business model of “barbecue + wine” to explore the innovative space for the youth of barbecue.
reference material:
Catering: the exhibition space is vast, the supply chain is accelerated, and Haitong Securities
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