BEIJING: International fast food chains KFC and McDonald's are adapting their menus and redefining their image in China so that they can better cater for local tastes while a major local operator is also changing its strategy.
KFC, which has been operating in the country since 1987 and now has almost 4,600 outlets on the mainland, last month unveiled a new look restaurant in Beijing that is designed to look more like a "dining room" with wooden chairs and potted plants.
In addition to dispensing with its traditional red-and-white colour scheme, the fried chicken chain also revealed 15 new dishes, including Sichuan-style roast chicken, South China Morning Post reported.
"[To launch so many new dishes in one go] is unprecedented in KFC's history," said Su Jingshi, China CEO of Yum Brands, KFC's parent company.
Mirroring its US rival, McDonald's has also started to offer more dishes geared towards Chinese tastes and it opened the first of its new-style restaurants in Guangzhou in April that incorporates Chinese-style furniture, such as lanterns.
Both chains are seeking to offer their Chinese clientele more dining options, but they are also responding to an increasingly health-conscious consumer sentiment.
Local operator Dicos, an American-style fried chicken chain controlled by Ting Hsin International of Taiwan, has also recognised it's time to change.
The company, which operates mainly in third- and fourth-tier cities, is planning to concentrate more on quality rather than expansion.
Gary Ghao, president of the Dicos business division, said: "During the past ten years, we were mainly pursuing an increase in shop numbers. But now we are focusing on how to improve our service quality and management levels."
And in a sign that there are still opportunities for Western-style fast food in China, Dicos plans to open up to 500 outlets on the mainland this year, concentrating on first- and second-tier cities.
Data sourced from South China Morning Post; additional content by Warc