Monday, February 28, 2011


My favorite supplier and good friend David from Shijiazhuang, a city in China of 4 million you never heard of, took me out to lunch at the most en vogue restaurant in that city. Babela's Kitchen. A franchise founded by a local millionaire with an affinity for all things America. With major American funding (wonder what their taste buds are thinking), this group has tons of places all over Beijing, Shanghai and other cities around the country.
The place could best be described as the love child of a Denny's and Pizza Hut. Grand Slam Pizza would have been a more appropriate name...

The owner of this franchise is a good friend of my supplier so I had a chance to meet this entrepreneur and find out more about the system food industry in China. He also offered a tour of the kitchen which was very much up to American standards.

His ROI was 100% in 18 month. Pause. Think. Yes. One and a half years to recoup his investment. Now that's a nice margin. In the food industry no less. Most dishes are pre made in a central kitchen and then shipped to the franchise locations where a large team of "Chefs" puts the finish on. Kids love it.

David ordered a nice cross selection off the menu and I let the images speak for themselves. When I asked what his number one bestseller is, his reply was fast. Mashed Potatoes. What? I told my friend David (who also always orders this dish) that we eat it at home frequently he got so excited that I will give him the recipe.
Maybe he won't go back to Babela's after he makes it himself....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It doesn't surprise me. People forget that this kind of food is all still relatively new to them. Even in Hong Kong, which has had western food for years, people still get excited about it. My HK cousins couldn't understand why I wanted to order the Hainanese chicken rice instead of the pork chops and spaghetti when we went to a HK cafe.