China Food

The world’s No. 1 fast food chain is “rotten” in China

has caught up with and surpassed McDonald’s KFC, and now it can’t move.
Do you know which is the largest fast food chain in the world?
It is not KFC, which has broken through 8000 stores in China, nor McDonald’s, which has 38695 global chains, but subway, a sandwich brand with a little “transparency” in the hearts of many people.
With 45000 stores around the world, how did subway quietly become a fast food chain giant?
After 57 years, how did it fall from the altar step by step?
After reading this article, you will understand.
The birth of chain fast food “King”
In August 1965, Fred DeLuca, a 17-year-old high school graduate, borrowed $1000 at the suggestion of his doctor’s friend to start the sandwich restaurant business in order to earn enough college tuition and pocket money – the first subway was born.
At this time, McDonald’s has dominated the American fast food market for more than 10 years.
Different from the traditional foreign fast food with “high fat and high calorie” in the past, subway decided to take the differentiated route of “low calorie health”. There are 4 kinds of bread, 12 kinds of low-fat non fried meat, 8 kinds of fresh vegetables and 12 kinds of sauce. In a sandwich, there are often more dishes than meat, which caters to people’s pursuit of “healthy” fast food.
Source: unsplash
Like the name “subway”, subway is mainly opened at the subway entrance with a dense flow of people. Most of its stores are small in size and simple in decoration. The whole production process is completed under the noses of customers. On average, a sandwich is freshly baked every 2.5 minutes. This can not only save the store rent to a certain extent, but also win the love of busy workers.
In the ninth year of its establishment, subway encountered a bottleneck in its development – the number of 16 stores is too small, and if it continues to expand, it may run out of funds.
Facing this problem, Fred DeLuca turned his eyes to “franchise”.
After investigating the successful cases of McDonald’s and KFC, subway officially started to join in 1975.
However, unlike McDonald’s and KFC’s “direct sales + franchise” model, which often invests millions of dollars, subway chooses a low threshold “pure franchise” model, with a preliminary franchise fee of only $10000. In contrast, this “small-scale operation” quickly attracted franchisees everywhere.
Source: unsplash
A year later, the number of subway stores soared to 200, entering a stage of rapid development: in 1991, it reached the small goal of “5000 stores”, entered the Chinese market in 1995, and became the world’s largest fast-food chain in 2010 with 33749 branches, surpassing McDonald’s… since then, subway has begun to spread “viral” around the world.
As of June 2017, subway had nearly 45000 chain stores in more than 100 countries around the world, with an average of 5 new stores per day at the fastest time. On the number of stores, no matter at the global level,
The glory of subway seems to be gone forever.
In fact, the foreshadowing of its decline has been hidden in the reason why the Chinese people do not love it.
It doesn’t attract the Chinese people, and it foreshadows its downfall
The survey shows that in China, only 18% have heard of subway and have been there; 40% had heard of it but had not been there.
Subway, which is not to the taste of the Chinese people, is like a little transparent. If you drive your own, I will not eat it.
Why is subway, which Americans love, not popular with Chinese people?
Source: pixabay
First of all, subway’s main concept of “health” has been difficult to adapt to the Chinese market where the definition of health and catering needs are rapidly changing.
From 2017 to 2021, the number of light food industry registrations in China increased significantly, and the accumulated new enterprises accounted for 64% of the total; In 2019, the number of light food orders and merchants on meituan platform increased by 98% and 58% respectively year-on-year.
Source: Huajing Industrial Research Institute
In the increasingly competitive market segment, many healthy, low-cost and rich brands have emerged. Subway is not the best choice for Chinese consumers.
Secondly, “arrogant display” is the main reason why subway is unpopular.
The general manager of subway in Greater China once said in an interview: “we are the largest sandwich shop in the world, and our sandwiches are the best. Over the past 48 years, our experience and advantages are all in this, not in making fried dough sticks and soybean milk.” “you will never find that one day we will sell white porridge.”.
Sure enough, it was not until the National Day in 2016 that subway launched its first Chinese product – Sichuan spicy chicken sandwich, which has been more than 20 years since it first entered the Chinese market.
Source: unsplash
On the other hand, KFC and McDonald’s have seen an endless stream of new Chinese-style products, even with their own characteristics in different regions. Old Beijing chicken rolls, braised chicken drumsticks with pickled bamboo shoots, oil splashed spicy ice cream… Have successfully captured the stomach of Chinese consumers.
In addition to being indifferent to new product development, subway, which is keen to open new stores quickly, is also half a pace behind its rivals in sales channels.
All fast-food restaurants have “played with” online ordering, but subway still hasn’t taken any action. It was only in 2016 that it suddenly realized that it has entered the digital era. Therefore, it immediately announced the establishment of a new Department called subway digital group to take charge of relevant businesses.
In other aspects, subway, the world’s No. 1, is also used to “muddling along”.
In the United States, subway spent more than $500 million on advertising every year from 2012 to 2016.
Source: spear and shield of China saibaiwei
In China, advertising funds come from the revenue of stores nationwide. Most stores have fallen into a vicious circle of “less revenue, no money for advertising, no advertising, and it is difficult to increase turnover”.
In addition, faced with a large franchise group, subway
The world’s No. 1 fast food chain is “rotten” in China
各大快餐店都把线上点餐“玩出花”了,赛百味仍迟迟没有动作, 2016年才恍然大悟:原来已经进入了数字时代。于是随即宣布成立名为Subway Digital Group的新部门,负责相关业务。

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[4]木青.一年关停877家店 赛百味真相[J].国企管理,2016(19):90-91.
[6]彭颖.“洋快餐”市场风起云涌 第二梯队扩张步伐逐步加快[J].中国食品,2018(10):70-73.
[7]2021年中国轻食行业市场现状及发展前景分析 相较于欧美市场渗透率发展空间极大|前瞻研究院
[8]赛百味被曝面包含违规添加物 称中国区不含|广州日报
[12]赛百味被曝用过期食材 偷换标签|法制晚报



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