McDonald’s goes upmarket in China
By Mark Godfrey, GlobalMeatNews
There are clear signs that the newly independent China arm of McDonald’s plans to squeeze more revenue out of its stores, even as it seeks to double its store count across China up to 2022.
The company is looking at more healthy options and table service, as well as touch-screen ordering and upgraded delivery services, according to China boss Phyllis Cheung, who said she planned to double the store count to 4,500 by 2022 with the bulk of new openings in lower-tier cities. McDonald’s competitiveness in China appeared to receive a boost when a controlling stake in McDonald’s China arm was purchased last year by Chinese state-owned financial conglomerate CITIC.
Healthy dining and food safety will be the “cornerstone” of McDonald’s future expansion, according to Cheung, who spoke at a ‘McBanquet’ gathering of suppliers and franchisers in Shanghai recently, which featured a talk and demonstrations by chefs and camera-friendly displays of vegetables and fruit arranged at the upscale WaterHouse Hotel on Shanghai’s famous Bund waterfront. Among the healthy shifts planned by Cheung is the use of sunflower and canola oil in McDonald’s restaurants, as well as the introduction of fruit and vegetable servings. Nutritional content will also be listed in-store from January.
McDonald’s China already appeared to be testing the water for more premium products with a major autumn marketing campaign for ‘German-style’ hamburgers sold at RMB17. With two beef burgers and two pork sausages, the hamburgers represent a large premium on single-burger hamburgers (RMB7 at Beijing stores). German products are synonymous with quality in China and Germanic origin is frequently a plank of marketing campaigns.