From KFC’s 4,400 outlets across 850 cities to McDonald’s at a UNESCO heritage site, fast food giants have extended their greasy tentacles over seemingly every profitable square-inch of China. Most recently, Burger King opened an outlet in the Northeastern city of Urumqi, Xinjiang, and it’s apparently creating a big buzz. Far West China writes:
Using the power of WeiXin (also known as WeChat for us English-speakers) and ads all across Urumqi, Burger King had built buzz for a few weeks prior to this grand opening. Me, my wife and son all got ready to leave our home in the freezing cold weather as if we were headed to a formal affair. It seems silly but this felt like a big deal.
We got there at about 1pm Beijing time (which is early by local standards) and had to wait in line for a good 20 minutes before we got our food.
…….By the time we finished eating – and we were lucky that we even got a table – the line had now pushed far outside the door. The staff was politely controlling the flow of people who were allowed in the door and another hundred or more were waiting outside in the freezing cold Xinjiang, China winter.
Hordes of Xinjiangers eagerly await their Whoppers and fries
The crowds are particularly surprising since BK reportedly hasn’t adjusted either the price or the offerings to the local consumer base. Though considering fast food chains’ past attempts to appeal to the native palate, maybe it’s for the better:
The special for the day was two burgers, chicken nuggets, fries, onion rings, two sodas and two deserts for 130 RMB (about US$22). They threw in a pair of movie tickets as a bonus. So yea, expensive to say the least, even by Western standards.
The most interesting thing to me is that I was expecting the menu to be more local. I’ve read stories about fast-food chains drastically changing their menus to accommodate the local palette or dietary restrictions, but that’s not the case here with Burger King. A Whopper, fries, drinks and desert.
In the future, perhaps we’ll see onion rings dusted with copious amounts of cumin, and the Double Cheeseburger with fermented mare’s cheese.
[Images and video via Far West China]