Where it used to be just one or two random McDonald’s on the touristy main streets, there is now almost as much choice of fast food in Beijing as in some mid-sized US American city. For burgers and chicken you have Burger King, KFC and McDonald’s, for pizza you have Papa John’s, Pizza Hut and Domino’s, for all else you have Dairy Queen, Sizzler, Subway and Dunkin Donuts. Be advised that there (still) are no Taco Bells, Arby’s, Wendy’s or Krispy Kreme’s helping the Chinese population to live more conveniently.
Pizza Hut is actually a hut in China
The strange thing is: While the burger franchises pretty much work and taste the same as they would elsewhere in the world, most of the pizza places have localized their menus and adapted their business strategies to the Chinese market in radical ways. Papa John’s and Pizza Hut both see themselves as more of a family restaurant operation while Domino’s has tried to establish itself as a delivery chain. The result so far: PJ and PH have been doing quite well while Domino’s has failed miserably. At least, there are not even remotely as many Domino’s as there are Papa John’s or Pizza Huts in the Greater Beijing area. To add insult to injury, I had a Beijing Domino’s once and it tasted awful.
All the other fast food chains
The clear market leaders for fast food in China are McD and KFC. By now, almost every street corner seems to feature one of them and sometimes more. And they are busy almost 24/7. The other restaurants are also-runs more or less. Perhaps due to be late to the party, they are competing for market share in whatever McD and KFC are willing to let them have. What is more important though is that China still features a lot of home-cooking at cheaper prices than western fast food. Who would not prefer a nice chicken dish over rice?