China Food

It’s hard for Helen to get the bonus of the World Cup

Ambitious expansion makes it impossible to close the store.
On the night of November 22, the biggest surprise since the start of the current Qatar World Cup appeared. Saudi Arabia beat Argentina 2-1, demonstrating the treacherous situation on the football field.
As time goes back to Beijing 12 years ago, Xu Bingzhong, 36 years old at that time, must have watched the ball with the fans in the Helen’s Bar, which had just opened for one year. That year was the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, with Switzerland winning Spain as the biggest surprise.
Nothing is impossible. In 2021, Hellens became the “first share in taverns” and was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which made her famous for a time.
At the beginning of listing, as the founder and chairman of the board, Xu Bingzhong set the goal of “producing 1000 companies a year”. From the data alone, Helen’s stores peaked in April this year, with 859 stores.
However, in this year’s World Cup, it is hard to say that Helen is lively.
As a fan, during the World Cup, Li Le (not his real name) and his friends will choose to watch football in pubs. He told the Times that on the evening of the 21st, he and his friends were watching the football match between England and Iran at a Helen’s in Chengdu, but the shop was not full at all.
“The taverns of the last World Cup were full, and there was no place at all. But this year, there were some accidents, and the rate of seats in the taverns was only about 50%.” Li Le speaks frankly.
Influenced by the epidemic situation and consumption trend, today, this small tavern giant, which focuses on “price war” and tries to occupy the market by opening stores quickly, has no longer been listed.
After more than one year of listing, Helen has experienced losses, closed stores, and sought transformation… The business of this small tavern giant has not been better because of the arrival of the World Cup.
On November 21, the reporter of Time Weekly contacted Helen in the form of email regarding the current business situation and future strategy of Helen. As of the date of publication, no reply was received.
Close nearly 100 stores
Speaking of Xu Bingzhong, on November 22, an insider of Helen Company who did not want to reveal his identity told the Times that in his impression, Xu Bingzhong was low-key and pragmatic, but he dared to think and act.
“It may have something to do with his service as a soldier. But his character is not hard. He is very emotional and likes drinking, and the wine is good.” The above insider disclosed.
Helen’s story starts 13 years ago.
Xu Bingzhong said in an interview with the media that he used to be a scout. After returning from the army, he first worked as a security guard for three years. Later, he was not satisfied with the status quo. Encouraged by his comrades in arms, he went to Laos to open a bar. After earning the first barrel of money, he returned to Beijing to start the “Helen’s Journey”.
In 2009, Xu Bingzhong opened the first Helen’s Bistro in the prosperous Wudaokou of Beijing, attracting a group of young students with cheap drinks. Before that, Pingyao, Shanxi, Vang Vieng, Laos, and Qianmen, Beijing all left his footprints in opening pubs.
In 2012, HELENS was re positioned as a “social platform for young people”, and under the guidance of Xu Bingzhong, it grew rapidly and went public successfully.
After listing, Helen did not welcome the “spring” as expected.
According to the semi annual report of 2022
In July this year, Helen’s announced that it had opened the first big food stall “Helen’s Yue” in Lichuan City, Hubei Province. It kept the low price method and integrated the tavern, barbecue shop and big food stall, which is the epitome of the nightly consumption business.
◼ Image source: microblog of global franchise network
It is worth mentioning that, unlike the direct marketing mode of the Hellens tavern in the past, this time the big stall store type adopts the franchise mode.

“Helens has not opened its franchise, which is related to the instability of the store business due to the impact of the epidemic. Therefore, it is not allowed to open its franchise in the tavern. However, if it opens its franchise in another area, the risk will be much lower.” On November 22, a senior person in the catering industry told the Times that in addition to the inter-bank transformation, Helen’s move was also a new exploration of the business model.

At the same time, Helen is also exploring the sinking market.
According to the survey report of China Merchants Securities, Helen has selected more than 20 similar counties in Sichuan, Chongqing, Hunan and Hubei to try to open new stores, in order to verify the new model on a large scale and further open up shop space in the sinking market; On the other hand, Hellens plans to continue to add barbecue elements in batches in stores across the country, adjust existing store models, and try to improve the profitability of individual stores.
It is not difficult to see that Helen is actively transforming to self rescue, but the effectiveness of the relevant deployment is still unknown.
At the same time of Helen’s inter-bank transformation, many catering brands are entering the tavern track.
According to the consulting data of Ai Media, the market size of China’s small tavern industry in 2021 will be about 128.04 billion yuan. The nighttime economic scale of China continues to rise, and the small tavern industry continues to develop. It is estimated that the size of China’s small tavern industry will reach 148.78 billion yuan in 2023.
In February 2019, the first store of BlaBlaBar Naixue Wine House under Naixue Tea (02150. HK) was opened in Shenzhen. The main product is cocktails in perfume bottles, mainly for young women; In December 2020, Caobao hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">Hot Pot under Xiabu Xiabu (00,520. HK) is also trying to combine hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot, tea breaks and bars: hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot at noon, milk tea in the afternoon and small wine in the evening.
◼ ★ Naixue Tavern/Image source: Naixue’s official tea microblog
In September of this year, Xiabu Xiabu launched a new brand, “while burning”, which focuses on the diversified model of “cooking meat+wine and tea+joy”. In the same month, Tims China opened two Tims “Coffee&Beer” stores in Shanghai. In addition to selling coffee, the stores also provide a variety of beer and snacks.
Zhang Yi said that the business model of the tavern is very clear, and the profit of wine is relatively high. When operating the tavern, how to stabilize the passenger flow should be the first consideration. Secondly, how to get rid of the homogeneous competition between pubs and bars of the same type, night clubs, etc., and how to seize the consumer demand of customers are also issues that need to be considered hard when operating pubs.
Author: Ye Manzhi; Source: No. 19 Business Research Institute (ID: time_biz), reprinting has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media cooperation: Jennifer (WeChat: 15151447934);
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It’s hard for Helen to get the bonus of the World Cup


今年9月,呷哺呷哺推出新品牌“趁烧”,主打“烧肉+酒茶+欢乐”多元化模式。同月,Tims中国在上海开设了两家Tims“Coffee & Beer”门店,店里除了卖咖啡,还提供多款啤酒与小食。



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