Posted by Shirley Brady on December 15, 2010 01:30 PM
McDonald's is planning its "biggest ever expansion in China," reports the Wall Street Journal. With plans to build up to 200 new locations in the market, where it its upping its investment some 40% next year and swapping out "the old red and yellow decor for a more relaxed, European-style bistro design." The move will double its footprint on the mainland and include a more health-conscious menu.
"China has been the fastest-growing market for McDonald's worldwide with regard to new restaurant opening," the US fast food giant's China CEO, Kenneth Chan, told reporters in Beijing. "It took us almost 19 years to reach 1,000 restaurants. We will get our next 1,000 restaurants within three years."
In keeping with its bistro-style revamp in the US, it's already started to modernize its outlets in Beijing, making over 80% of its current locations by 2013. In a nod to China's car boom, half of the new McDonald's restaurants opening in the next three years will feature Drive-Thrus.
In the short term, it needs to win back luxury-loving but price-conscious consumers there, following menu price hikes last month (by 0.5 to 1 yuan, or 8 to 15 cents). The reason, said Chen: higher food costs, spurred by consumer inflation hitting a 28-month high of 5.1% in November.