China Food

Can Xi’an become the next online catering city?

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from the perspective of catering development, Chengdu, Chongqing and Changsha, the “Four Heavenly Kings” of wanghong City, have shown their strength one after another. A number of catering brands have been “popular”, but Xi’an seems to have failed to achieve some catering brands by taking advantage of the east wind of wanghong. What is the reason behind this?
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Text: Chen Mo

Source: Red meal (ID: hongcan18)

 
With the rise of various social media platforms, online popularity has gradually moved from scarce goods to common, and has its own online popularity in almost all fields. At the urban level, Chengdu, Chongqing, Changsha and Xi’an, which are sought after by the people all over the country, can be said to be the “Four Heavenly Kings” of online Red cities.
However, in terms of catering closely connected with the sense of urban existence, Xi’an has always been relatively weak. No matter in category or brand, it has failed to show the potential energy matching its online popularity attribute. Is there any reason behind this? Where is the development potential of Xi’an Catering in the future?

Different “destinies” of wanghong city in catering

We have been unable to clarify whether catering has made the online red city or whether the online red city has brought fire to the local catering, because the online red city and catering often complement each other and achieve each other.
For example, in the process of hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot becoming popular, in addition to Haidilao, the chain brands such as the first generation of hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot online Red Dragon and Xiaolongkan have made great contributions. At that time, their very novel decoration style, dishes and marketing methods made the hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot quickly spread in the national market. Coupled with the positive feedback of the market and the rapid follow-up of other hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot brands, they gradually formed a hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot whirlwind sweeping the country, which jointly contributed to the popularity of hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot.
△ picture source: Photo Network
As the headquarters of these online red hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot brands, Chengdu has naturally become the center of attention of diners and tourists, taking the lead in the circle. Since then, this southwest central city has attracted a large number of people to punch in because of its leisure living state, characteristic local culture, various Sichuan dishes, market catering and characteristic catering.
With the popularity of hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot, Chongqing, the birthplace of the old butter hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot next to Chengdu, has also become popular because of the popularity of the old hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot, coupled with the special terrain of “8D magic city” and the unique customs and culture of the mountain city. Then Chongqing noodles, grilled fish and other local delicacies also began to enter the public’s view.
As a single category, Sichuan and Chongqing food, such as pickled cabbage fish, grilled fish, noodles, pickled vegetables and spicy hot, has derived a number of strong brands such as Taier, Yang Guofu and Tanyu. After successfully gaining a foothold in the national catering circle, Chengdu and Chongqing have also become a must visit site for diners to explore new and popular products.
△ picture source: Photo Network
Changsha has also achieved mutual success in city and catering.
As the entertainment capital of China, Changsha has never lacked topics. All kinds of food in Changsha have long been famous for Hunan cuisine and various variety shows, but before that, there were more categories without brands, reputation and scale.
This situation has been broken in recent years. After several years of development, Changsha catering brand has begun to break out across the country. In the past, wenheyou, a snack maker, left Guangshen, and chayan Yuese, a tea maker, made great efforts in Wuhan, followed by Xuji seafood, cooking smoke and chef Fei, who made dinner, successfully settled in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and Momo dim sum Bureau attracted the eyes with high financing
△ picture source: Official microblog of Momo dim sum Bureau
In terms of catering, these cities have a trend of leading each other for three or five years. Their unique urban cultural symbols and distinctive catering categories and tastes continue to attract tourists and diners from all over the country. They also promote the characteristics of these cities through the social media platform in the rising stage of development, constantly ferment and attract more attention, Form a virtuous flow cycle.
However, this logic seems not to be confirmed in Xi’an, which is also a popular city. Compared with Chengdu, Chongqing and Changsha, the volume of catering in Xi’an is much smaller.
Strictly speaking, as a “carbon water paradise”, Xi’an Catering is not unnoticed. Roujiamo, cold skin, mutton in water basin, mutton soaked bun and oil splashed noodles… All of them are famous, but their development in the country is somewhat “nominal”.
△ picture source: Photo Network
Roujiamo and Liangpi may be the most famous categories in China. They can be seen in almost every city, but most of them are stall vendors, and some even have no stores. Except for Beijing West young master roujiamo, which was born many years ago, there are few strong brands in the current big brother roujiamo Shaanxi noodle Restaurant (now changed to big brother northwest flavor store).
Even in Xi’an, there are almost no national well-known chain brands. Although there are nearly 500 Zuoxiang Tongguan rougamo stores, more than 200 Yuanji rougamo stores and more than 300 Weijia Liangpi stores in the market, their stores are still mainly concentrated in Northwest towns dominated by Xi’an. They have little energy in first tier cities, resulting in the overall brand strength Market appeal is not strong.
Laotongguan roujiamo and roujiamo with wax sauce are not so much a brand as a label, just like Xiaoyao town Hu spicy soup. In Xi’an, rougamo is like noodles. In Chongqing, it blooms everywhere, but there is no brand.
△ picture source: Photo Network
For locals, this is nothing bad, but from the perspective of category development, no strong brand will limit the development of category to a great extent.
If a category wants to have a place in the national catering market, it must form a certain scale, and branding can make this scale faster and better, and drive the development of the whole category.
For example, the hot stewed chicken and rice in the past two years had a market effect, but there was no brand to support it. It was difficult to form barriers and market fulcrum. After the potential energy declined, the market was quickly divided up. On the other hand, pickled fish and grilled fish, after years of hot, have come to an inevitable period of potential energy decline. However, with the support of Taier, Tanyu and other brands, they can continue to innovate, develop and develop secondary brands. As long as the brand does not fall, even if the potential energy falls, they can always occupy a place in the city.
△ picture source: Photo Network
If roujiamo and Liangpi can be regarded as “there are categories without brands”, then other categories of Xi’an Catering may be “famous, no category, no brand” in the national market.
Mutton paomo, mutton in water basin, oil splashed noodles, trouser belt noodles, etc. are very famous, but most stores are limited to Shaanxi or northwest. Tongshengxiang, a time-honored brand mainly engaged in paomo, may be the most famous brand, but there are no more than ten stores. They occupy the mainstream of Xi’an market, but it is difficult to find relevant stores in other places. Consumers can only eat locally. Even if they want to eat at home after punching in, they can’t find a place to eat. In this way, the enthusiasm is naturally difficult to continue.
It has to be said that the current head brand of oil splashed noodles, Shaanxi flavor food group, is not located in Xi’an, but founded in Beijing, and its more than 100 stores are mainly distributed in Beijing and its surrounding areas.
△ picture source: Photo Network
Gong Wei, columnist of red meal network, said that this is related to the characteristics of roujiamo and mutton paomo. From the practice to the products, these categories are relatively rough. Big cakes plus fat and lean meat, high carbon water + high fat. If you want these categories to have more influence in the catering market all over the country, you need to make some improvement.
For example, many roujiamo outside Shaanxi have launched beef, fish and other products that are more in line with the healthy diet of young people, reduced the size of the cake and added vegetables such as green pepper. They are exploring improved products that are easier to promote in the country.
If we have to say brand, Xi’an is not completely a desert.
Xi’an restaurant, a time-honored brand of Shaanxi cuisine founded in 1929, is undoubtedly the shoulder of Xi’an Catering. There are more than ten stores in Xi’an. Gourd chicken, biangbiang noodles, rougamo and paomo are all signs here; Defa Chang was founded in 1936. It has the most complete variety and the largest scale of Dumpling Banquet. At the same time, it also specializes in new style seafood, new style Sichuan cuisine, Sichuan hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot, etc; The Spring Festival, which is famous for the local snack “hulutou paomo” in Shaanxi, is also a time-honored brand built in 1920. This year, it is trying the business formats such as taverns.
△ source: Official microblog of Xi’an Restaurant
However, as time-honored brands, these old brands are more traditional in terms of mode, decoration and dishes. Under their guidance, Xi’an Catering is lack of vitality, which can not really arouse the interest of young people, stimulate the consumer market and go to the whole country (not necessarily stores to the whole country, but some catering brands spread their influence throughout the country, such as tea Yan Yue SE).
Local catering has no strong brand, which leaves market opportunities for other brands. In Xi’an, in addition to traditional catering such as pasta, the market is basically occupied by foreign categories and brands such as hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot, tea and barbecue.
Xi’an Catering can’t go out,
Lack of chain and brand thinking is the root cause
Some people say that Xi’an Catering categories are difficult to break through, in large part because modern young people have a natural resistance to high-carbon water.
But from another point of view, Lanzhou Ramen has existed all over the country. Snail powder is evergreen online red. In 2021, the high financing of Wuye noodles, Hefu noodles and other brands set off a frenzy of flour track and attracted a large number of diners. With the development of back-end prefabricated dishes, even Xinjiang Nang cake and fried rice noodles shine in online channels.
Therefore, the crux of Xi’an Catering may not be carbon water, but that it is still in the primary stage of chain and branding. It tends to consider the inertial needs of the surrounding neighbors of a single store without much innovation and breakthrough.
Photo source: Photo Network
Although carbon water is not the “original sin”, as everyone is worried, the high proportion of carbon water in catering in Xi’an is not very friendly to modern young people, which is contrary to the current mainstream “guiding ideology” of low-carbon water, high protein and many vegetables. But it is not impossible to improve.
Menu matching has always been a required course for good food enterprises, especially in the process of mass catering gradually going out of small stores and moving towards chain and brand, a single dish may be able to feed a small store, but it is difficult to support a mature food enterprise. Previously, one of the reasons why Shaxian snacks can kill all sides is that they have diversified choices, including noodles, rice, soup, snacks, meat and vegetables. Even the Yellow braised chicken rice, which is the main single dish, should also provide many vegetable options.
△ picture source: Photo Network
However, most restaurants in Xi’an still operate in a single store and serve the neighbors. In addition, the public did not pay much attention to Xi’an before, so that the catering market here is in a relatively closed and stable environment. Moreover, due to geographical location, development focus and other factors, the development of Xi’an is relatively limited compared with Chengdu, Chongqing and Changsha, and the chain of catering The demand for branding is relatively low. Local diners usually do not put the brand chain operation in the forefront of consideration. Good service to the four neighbors is success. Naturally, the matching of dishes will not become their consideration, let alone other innovations and breakthroughs.
When Xi’an becomes a popular online city because of its profound culture and unique catering characteristics in the ancient capital of the thirteen dynasties, the “carbon water bomb” that foreign tourists and diners “enjoy” in a short time is naturally not a problem, but from the perspective of daily consumption, high-carbon water is a huge threshold for the expansion of Xi’an Catering.
△ picture source: Photo Network
Liu Xiaozhong, CEO of Shaanxi cuisine.com and general manager of Xi’an Datang boxianfu Hotel, said that the back-end industrial chain of roujiamo, oil chili and other products has made great progress in recent two years and is becoming more and more perfect.
However, on the whole, due to the low degree of chain and branding and insufficient scale, the outward expansion of Xi’an Catering is still restricted by the cost control of catering enterprises, back-end supply chain and kitchen training.
Even roujiamo, which has the strongest sense of existence, is not very methodical in its breakthrough in the national market. Stores and brands are scattered and scattered, and there is no joint force. At the same time, there is a big gap compared with mature categories in terms of store decoration, marketing and other category packaging, as well as the internal quality of product production. Especially in marketing.
Chengdu Chongqing and Changsha catering can form more and more influence in the country. The starting point is that they have explored a set of methods of branding and chain. Perhaps for some time, it has brought the feeling of “marketing > content”, but it is undeniable that this has indeed opened the door to the national market for catering in Sichuan, Chongqing and Hunan, and these catering enterprises are also constantly filling in the short board of content in the process of development. Now many online popular restaurants have not existed in vain.
From this logic, Xi’an Catering wants to have a more sense of existence. Perhaps it is the first step to think and explore the development of the brand based on the “national expansion”.
Xi’an Catering needs a “troublemaker”,
“Catering + culture” may achieve overtaking in curves
The root of the low development of catering chain and brand in Xi’an may be related to the “backward” position of Xi’an in China’s urban development for a long time.
In fact, from the perspective of development track, the urban development of Chengdu Chongqing and Changsha is not much earlier than that of Xi’an, but they seize the opportunity to show their respective advantages. Chengdu Chongqing is the southwest development center and talent gathering place, with a solid foundation of Sichuan cuisine and snacks. Changsha carries forward the natural smell of entertainment capital for brand and marketing, and shapes and expands catering brands.
△ picture source: Photo Network
As for Xi’an, some people in the industry have expressed the view that Xi’an is a magical place. As the ancient capital of the thirteen dynasties, it has not really integrated diversity, which also doomed that many food enterprises and catering thinking are difficult to really take root.
The ancient capital of the thirteen dynasties, the eastern starting point of the Silk Road, the capital of the Tang Dynasty, the most prosperous Dynasty of Chinese civilization, and the absolute center of the world at that time, all these are the dazzling halos above Xi’an. Logically speaking, such existence should be a place of multi-cultural and diversified integration, but only from the perspective of catering habits, it seems that there has not been much change in the past millennium. It still focuses on all kinds of pasta, paomo and mutton, and the signs of cultural integration from south to north are not obvious.
△ picture source: Photo Network
Of course, this is related to many factors such as geography, politics, culture and talents, but this disadvantage may become the biggest advantage of Xi’an Catering now, allowing it to overtake on the curve.
With the promotion of catering chain, homogenization is becoming more and more obvious. To break through this boundary and endow the brand with culture may be the most important idea for food enterprises in the future. In other words, what food enterprises need to do now is not only branding, but also upgrading to catering culture.
Like wenheyou and Xicha, they are not only a catering enterprise, but also a symbol and label. They are shaping their own cultural IP by integrating local culture and tide culture. Catering in the future is destined to be more than simple catering. “Catering + culture” has become a general trend.
△ picture source: Official microblog of Xi tea
Isn’t this the advantage of Xi’an, the ancient capital of the thirteen dynasties, with rich cultural heritage? Xi’an itself seems to be working in this direction.
Datang sleepless city has become a symbolic existence of Xi’an and the main position of its “night tour economy”. It combines the ancient charm of Tang style with fashion vitality, “little sister of tumbler”, live music, rich and coveted snacks… All strive to restore the grand scene of Chang’an thousands of years ago; Xi’an’s wanghong restaurant has been popular in recent years, including Chang’an stall, tangmao courtyard, yongxingfang, etc; After that, the West Street of Xingshan temple is covered with many online Red coffees and pubs, as well as an ancient book market stretching for hundreds of meters. It has a unique style of cultural and creative products and a “slow” tone of cultural and entertainment life, making it a creative and cultural street area loved by the old, middle-aged and young generations.
However, Datang never night city and xingshansi West Street only provide a centralized place for development. For the catering sector alone, there is no real emerging strong brand. It is still the flagship of time-honored brands, and the forms and means are more traditional. Overall, Xi’an’s overall urban construction, brand development thinking and social atmosphere still lag behind the rise of its reputation.
△ picture source: Photo Network
This is the same as the question we discussed a few years ago about “why online popular restaurants are difficult to grow in popularity”. When the restaurant is hot, the back end is not ready. At this time, the more passenger flow will reflect and bring more problems, resulting in a decline in reputation. Perhaps, the Xi’an epidemic is the best portrayal.
From this perspective, what Xi’an Catering needs is a real change in the development idea, and a strong “troublemaker” is needed to break the balance of the current catering market.
This “troublemaker” may be more and more tourists and diners, which forces the upgrading and evolution of food enterprises, or it may be the inflow of talents and food enterprises. Just like the sudden entry of Internet catering in those years, the front-line food enterprises were “awakened” in an instant, and the whole catering industry was pushed to the fast lane of upgrading.
△ image source: Official microblog of the head of Defa
Looking back on the two stages of the rise of hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot, one is the emergence of chains such as little swan, Liu Yishou and Dezhuang, and the other is the emergence of younger brands such as Xiaolongkan and dalongyi. No matter which stage, innovation is the key. At the time of the rise, they are new brands and have made breakthrough innovations in business models.
If you want to innovate, it’s hard to stay on the old road.
Gong Wei, columnist of red meal.com, also said that although to some extent, Xi’an local catering brands are being impacted by foreign brands. Although many brands are actively seeking change, it seems that they have not been able to make much breakthrough due to the inertia of traditional thinking mode and behavior style.
In the context of many cross-border talents in catering across the country, Xi’an Catering needs more talents to innovate. If the talent pool is scarce, the talents who can flow into catering will be limited.
△ picture source: Photo Network
In addition, the number of young people also determines the vitality of the whole urban consumer market. If the market lacks vitality, the market thrust and sensitivity of food enterprises will not be too high, and the development of the back-end industrial chain is impossible.
From this logic, whether we can attract more young people to innovate from “catering + culture” through the popularity of online red city may be the key to the breakthrough of Xi’an Catering in the future.
We look forward to the rebirth of time-honored brands such as Xi’an restaurant and DeFaChang, but we also hope to see the emergence of more truly strong new brands with new thinking characteristics, so as to stimulate the market’s attention to Xi’an Catering brands and categories and realize the development of the industrial chain.
Xi’an has the gene of online popular city catering, which needs to be excavated from multiple dimensions. In the future, Xi’an Catering may learn from other online popular cities to realize overtaking in curves. Looking back on the prosperity of Chang’an in those years, I hope Xi’an can continue the glory of the charm of the Tang Dynasty.
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