Most of you probably don't know, but I actually worked for McDonald's Australia for 15 years in many different capacities from store operations to new business development.
As such, I still have a soft spot for QSRs (Quick Service Restaurants - or fast food joints if you prefer) and whenever I see or go into one I am judging the operation in terms of QSC (quality, service and cleanliness) and in terms of the business itself. I must admit that I also get excited when I discover a new brand.
Today was one of those days when I had my first encounter with Kungfu.
They are a modern QSR serving Chinese food, their point of differentiation was the fact that the food was healthy (steamed meats, soups and quick boiled vegetables), and they have Bruce Lee on everything!
The service was very quick and attentive, however it was very haphazard. We ordered and the cashier was very friendly and helped us with the menu, but when we ordered at one cash register he walked back to the middle of the counter and punched in the order. Then over the top of all the customers he yelled over to Sabrina the amount that was due. She then had to fight her way through the lining up customers to get to the register to pay. Not a nice experience.
The other problem was with the disclosure of what was in certain dishes (this is a common China problem). Sabrina doesn't eat pork, so we ordered a beef and a chicken meal with an egg custard dish on the side. Once we got the egg custard dish, there was a funny grey meat in it. After quizzing the staff it turned out that it was pork. The food providers in this country need to get their act together and disclose the contents of some products. This is particularly crucial for the upcoming Olympics and World Expo 2010 as it will drive hundreds of thousands additional visits over the next 10 years, many of these people will be Jews, Muslims, Hindus etc with particular beliefs. It would be very easy to ruin someones experience in China with an innoculous egg custard.
On the positive side, the manager happily replaced the offending egg custard with another dish, so full points for service and customer care after the fact.
The style of food would be described as modern casual Chinese. It consisted of steam rice with mushrooms, noodles, soup, beef with rice, soy milk etc. You can see more here.
The food quality was great. Everything was hot and fresh and tasted very good.
We had to wait for the beef noodle soup, but it was delivered quickly.
The boiled lettuce in strange brown sauce was ok - a bit more up Sabrina's alley than mine.
The food was all served in branded melamine bowls with lids - even the spoons were melamine and had the Bruce Lee image. This kept the food hot and made the eating experience more like that of a traditional restaurant (ie cutlery and crockery) although the chopsticks and cups were disposable.
The prices were reasonable, 16 RMB for a meal with some steamed chicken & mushroom, rice and soy milk - and only 6RMB for a small bowl of beef noodle soup (and it wasn;t really that small).
Decor & Cleaniness
The decor was great. The colours, furniture and lighting was very modern, acctractive and comfortable. The store was absolutely spotless. There was not an uncleared table in the store when we entered, not a mark on the floor or the windows. What I could see of the kitchen was clean and tidy as well.
They have certainly positioned the name and imagery to capture the youth market. Huge Bruce Lee pitures abound and his iconic image appears on everything from the signs, cups, bowls to the tray mats (I wonder about the licensing of his image!?).
The Bruce Lee images made me think of them running birthday parties with a martial arts host instead of a clown. Might catch on!
The quality of the branding and the image they portrayed overall shows that a great deal of money and developmenbt time has gone into these stores.
Kungfu is owned by Global Fast Food Chains and is based in Guangzhou. They operate a total of 106 stores in China, 46 of them being in Dongguan (only 3 in Shanghai at the moment).Tags: Shanghai China Fast Food Kungfu QSR McDonald's Bruce Lee