Rise of Chinese Fast-Food Chains: A Shift in Dining Preferences

by Ella

Once dominated by Western fast-food giants like McDonald’s and KFC, China’s casual dining scene is witnessing a remarkable transformation. The proliferation of foreign chains was once a symbol of modernization, but now, Chinese fast-food insurgents are challenging their dominance.

Historical Dominance:

Western chains, including Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and McDonald’s, enjoyed unparalleled success in China, with thousands of outlets across the country. Starbucks also established a significant presence, with thousands of coffee shops catering to Chinese consumers’ growing appetite for Western-style dining.


Emergence of Local Competitors:

However, the landscape is evolving rapidly, with Chinese consumers increasingly favoring domestic fast-food chains over their Western counterparts. Tastien, a local chain offering burgers filled with traditional Chinese delicacies like Peking duck and mapo tofu, has expanded aggressively, opening 1,600 new outlets in just six months.


Wallace, another homegrown burger brand, has also experienced significant growth, boasting over 20,000 outlets. Meanwhile, Cotti, a coffee-shop chain, plans to expand its network to 20,000 outlets by 2025, capitalizing on the rising demand for local coffee experiences.


Success Stories:

Luckin, an established player in the Chinese coffee market, doubled its network in 2023, opening 8,000 outlets. Mixue, renowned for its bubble tea offerings, has a staggering 36,000 outlets across the country, reflecting the widespread popularity of its products among Chinese consumers.


Shift in Consumer Preferences:

The declining sales of foreign chains like Starbucks and Yum China signal a broader shift in consumer preferences. While once enamored with Western brands, Chinese consumers are now gravitating towards local offerings that resonate with their cultural tastes and preferences.

Implications for the Industry:

The rise of Chinese fast-food chains poses significant challenges for their Western counterparts. With local brands gaining momentum and expanding rapidly, foreign chains may need to reassess their strategies to remain competitive in the Chinese market.


As Chinese fast-food chains continue to gain traction and expand their footprint, they are reshaping the country’s dining landscape. With their focus on local flavors and innovative menu offerings, these homegrown brands are capturing the hearts and palates of Chinese consumers, signaling a new era in China’s fast-food industry.



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