Whatever President Xi Jinping’s political legacy turns out to be, we at least know for certain that his baozi legacy is secured.
Qingfeng Steamed Bun, the Beijing-based chain of baozi restaurants where Xi Dada once enjoyed a much-publicized meal in late 2013, announced a rather aggressive five-year plan over the weekend.
By 2020, Qingfeng General Manager Gao Wenhui wants his company to expand to 1,000 total locations with logistic bases in five different cities, according to local media reports via NetEase News. The chain currently boasts 312 shops, with 262 located in Beijing.
To reach the 60-year-old eatery’s lofty expansion goals, Gao says that Qingfeng will go public early next year by listing “backdoor” through a shell company. He also disclosed that next month the company will start construction on a new “steamed bun research center” that will help the company continue to provide the high-quality fare that Chinese heads of state are looking for in a good photo op.
After Xi’s oh-so-casual visit to chow down at one of the Qingfeng locations, the chosen restaurant became so incredibly popular that patriotic customers would have to wait in line for more than hour to order their “Presidential Combo Meal.” The restaurant even had to remove the table where the down-to-earth president had once sat for fear that customers would fight over the seat that once had been graced by Xi’s high-pants.
Once the initial fervor wore off, the restaurant continued to capitalize on its hard-won notoriety by becoming a highlight on five-day packaged tours of Beijing right alongside the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven.
Qingfeng didn’t always manage to attract the sort of clientele that it wanted; however, as the baozi joint also became a meeting ground for petitioners and protectors banking on the shop’s fame for some attention.
In Xi’s China this kind of prosperity could never happen to a noodle joint.
by Alex Linder
[Images via NetEase // h/t George Chen]