How KFC won over China

Food & Beverage

How KFC won over China

KFC stands as one of the globe’s largest restaurant chains, boasting over 29,000 locations and a remarkable pace of unveiling new outlets, with one opening approximately every three and a half hours, as reported by Yum! Brands.

While the brand initially thrived in the United States, its primary growth epicenter today is none other than China. A significant milestone was recently reached as KFC China celebrated the inauguration of its 10,000th store, nestled in the city of Hangzhou, located an hour outside of Shanghai. In comparison, the U.S. is home to a little over 4,300 KFC establishments.

KFC in China is renowned for more than just its chicken offerings; their menu extends to include diverse items like rice congee, steamed dumplings, and egg tarts.

However, the journey hasn’t been without challenges. The chain has encountered obstacles such as Covid-19 lockdowns, concerns regarding the health of the Chinese consumer, and uncertainties surrounding future growth strategies.

The question arises: How did KFC manage to surpass other fast-food giants like McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Taco Bell in the Chinese market? And, perhaps even more intriguingly, can the company sustain its momentum? CNBC ventured to Hangzhou, China, for an exclusive interview with Yum China’s CEO, Joey Wat, to gain insights into these compelling questions.

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