Inspiring Journeys

2014 JUNE A TRIP TO CHINA

JUNE 2014

SHANGHAI

Cin-1-ENG

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been to 5 different Burger King restaurants in Shanghai. I’ve found different prices at each restaurant and I’ve learned that the prices of the product vary depending on areas. For example, water is priced at 5 RMB in one Burger King restaurant, while it is 3.5 RMB in another. This variability has caught my attention. Because I think it would have a large impact on sales. When I’ve further inquired into the matter, I’ve learned that the prices vary depending on the income level of the area. Here, people are generally very affectionate, very hospitable and insightful. I have already learned a few words in Chinese. For example, “Sheshe” means thanks; “nihow” means hello and “hahaha” means ok ok.

 

 

Cin-2-ENG

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve asked the following questions about Burger King at each Burger King restaurant that I enter:

    • Since when and how often have been coming to Burger King?
    • Do you prefer meat or chicken products?
    • What is your priority, quality or price?
    • With whom and why do you visit Burger King? (Birthdays, afternoon snacks)
    • Do you think that the portions are filling and adequate?
    • Do you prefer KFC, McDonald’s or Burger King?

I’ve presented a glass from Burger King to the children that I’ve asked questions. Both to thank them for sparing time and as a little memory from me.

I’ve learned that the fries will be sent from the fries factory in Turkey.

 

 

1. Burger King location: Global Harbor Shopping Mall Floor B2

Restaurant name: Yue Xing Burger King Restaurant

I chatted with two girls aged 18 at the first location I visited. At first, they were very shy; but they relaxed as we talked. And I even noted that they hugged me when I wanted to have a photo taken with them. These two girls, who are students, answered my question as follows:

Cin-3-ENG

 

    • Both prefer chicken products.
    • Quality matters more to them than price.
    • Generally, they visit Burger King to hang out with their friends.
    • They prefer Burger King to other brands because of the taste.

Then, I chatted with a female and a male student, both aged 18.

    • The female one was trying Burger King for the first time; and this was the second time for the male one.
    • They prefer chicken products.
    • Quality is the most important matter for them.
    • They said they find the portion adequate.
2. Burger King on JIN Feng Road

There is an American School. Mostly foreigners visit the place. An area with a high level of income and they know the Burger King brand well due to the high population of foreigners.

I chatted with 3 boys, aged, respectively, 9, 11 and 13 at the second restaurant. They had a very good accent; obviously, they attended to a school teaching in English.

    • The three visited Burger King three times a week as average.
    • They liked fish burger and chicken fingers.
    • They also preferred products of high quality.
    • They liked to visit Burger King to hang out with their friends after school.
    • They preferred McDonald’s for breakfast and Burger King for lunch and snacks.

I have not run into many people avoiding chat as people are generally friendly. This allowed me to ask my questions to many people. I also chatted with a mother at the restaurant. She does not work and she has one child.

    • She said that, once a month, they walked to Burger King after she picked her son from school.
    • They preferred meat.
    • She preferred to come with family.
    • She said that the portions are too large for her son but fitting for her.

 

3. Izhong Yuan Restaurant
On Guohe Road

Visiting customers: Generally office workers, house complex dwellers and customers visiting the shopping mall.

Restaurant Opened: 30th December 2013

 

I had the opportunity to talk to two young boys aged around 12 after school. One of them visited once a week and the other visited once a month. Price is an important criterion for both of them; both prefer chicken and they visited the restaurant with their families. The one who visited once a week heard the brand in 2006 and the one who visited once a month heard it in 2012. Maybe this is an indication that trademark recognition influences the frequency of visits.

 

4. Xijiang Restaurant (Behind Jinyi Square Mall)

Restaurant Opened: 31st May 2013

The visiting customers are house complex dwellers and people visiting the shopping mall.

 

When I talked to a lady, I learned that she worked in the food sector herself and that she owned a restaurant. She said she had a child and that she visited very often with her child, too; and that she preferred especially Whopper among meat products.

She said that although she considered the prices higher as compared to a few other brands, she cared more about the quality, which is why she preferred Burger King. Also, she said that she considered Burger King more experienced as compared to other brands.

Some restaurant employees were more distanced as compared to other restaurants; and they even found it strange that I wanted to have a photo taken. Maybe there can be differences specific to areas. And I understood it. But the memories of this restaurant remained somehow incomplete in my memoir.

 

5. Expo Avenue Restaurant Floor B1

Restaurant Opened: 25th April 2014

Visiting customers: Generally tourists and shopping mall employees

 

I ran into a couple at this restaurant. The girl answered most of my questions; the man was shyer. The girl was aged 25 and she was in the decoration business. The man, on the other hand, was aged 26.

  1. The girl visited Burger King twice a week.
  2. The man preferred chicken.
  3. Quality mattered much to both.
  4. They preferred to come with friends.
  5. The portions were adequate for the girl.
  6. She bought fries once at Burger King and they tasted too salty; besides that, she is satisfied with the service at Burger King.

 

Near the Burger King restaurant, I spoke to a man that I had spotted on the way, who was an external diseases physician and who walked around with his baby in his arms.

  1. He visited Burger King now and then.
  2. He preferred meat whenever he visited.
  3. He preferred to visit with his family.
  4. He found the portions adequate.

     

 

JUNE 2014

SHANGHAI

Cin-4-ENG

 

Today, I’ve asked questions about Burger King to a few people that I’ve come across on the way. (A high income level surrounding near Abercrombie & Fitch). I’ve contacted with a lady who has visited Burger King just once. She talked neutrally about Burger King. Then I spoke to two male students. They said they are satisfied with Burger King’s quality and also that they liked the fries.

Then I visited Water Town. Here, we had a river tour with boats for 20 minutes and we tried to take a tour around the entire Town. I saw that it is a very traditional place. They sell the main (traditional) Chinese food (pig’s and chicken feet). Not that I didn’t wonder how people with such different taste in food will get used to Burger King.

While walking around, I bumped into an old man aged nearly 100. He was washing eggplants near the window. It was interesting that he was so fit at such age. I later found out that the Chinese like to do more work as they age, and they don’t like to be idle. And I’ve figured out the reason that they stay so dynamic. No wonder they say a rolling stone gathers no moss…

Now that I’ve come so far, it wouldn’t be right not to have my photo taken in traditional outfits.

I also visited the old town. It was like the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. We got to do some shopping and I noticed that they can give big discounts although the prices are high in order to gain customers. For example, you can buy a product worth TL 100 by an 80% discount for TL 20. Briefly, my advise is to you not to take the first price at once.

I visited their temples. I also burned an incense and made a wish. I also entered the temple and saw various ornaments and Buddha.

Cin-5-ENG

In the evening, we went out to dinner with Lişov and his family. I tried to learn the trends of the Chinese youth from his son. For example, while Message Me Me is a very popular application in China, Whats App is not used that much. Also, he said that he does not listen to Chinese music and that he is into songs in English and also that the pubs are very popular among the young. He said that the young people follow up a group of popular young people here and the trend that they start become popular. After this piece of information, I thought that Burger King can address such group and can gain new customers through joint efforts with them.

Cin-6-ENG

JUNE 2014

SHANGHAI

I went to the office early this morning. I took photos and walked around the office. I conversed with people working in different business fields. And I had the opportunity to ask the questions that came to my mind during my travels of the past few days to the assistant marketing manager.

 

Why do the prices vary between restaurants?
Economic conditions of the people and lease prices vary. Therefore, the brands accommodate themselves to such change. It is for their own benefit to keep pace with these conditions in order to make money. And the competitors have also adopted the same strategy.

Do we plan to create Kids Menu?
Maybe later this year or early next year. But it is not among the immediate future plans.

What is the method you consider for toys?
Whichever toy Burger King introduces globally, they import it; and sometimes, they can use characters for localization specific to China.

Do you have any plans to improve breakfast? What kind of a method do you pursue?
The number of restaurants is inadequate as it is very few as compared to the competitor. But they intend to introduce more Premium and breakfast products towards the end of the year. They can have access to a more limited clientele as the number of restaurants is low.

 

My third day in Shanghai is over. During the rest of my visit, I’ll travel in the areas that I’ve learned to be more traditional areas of China. My father and I will have a very busy time for 4 days. I am very happy about this. We will take a look at the potential and existing restaurants. We will have seen the entire China, both north and south. People say that these areas have more traditional food. Which means that Burger King is even more challenging for the people of this area.

 

Cin-7-ENG

JUNE 2014

WUHAN

 

Today, we arrived in Wuhan located around the center of China. Here, we visited 7 potential and 2 existing Burger King locations. And I tried to assess the palatal delights and tastes in this area and the potential for success for the BK brand by interviewing people at the existing locations.

I interviewed 3 people at the first restaurant that I visited. One of them was a male engineer aged 25. He visited Burger King very often. He liked fries the most at Burger King. He preferred chicken and a little chilly for products. He comes with friends although he lives far away.

Then I interviewed with 2 female university students aged 19. They visit once a month. They came to know about Burger King when the restaurant first opened, they prefer to come with their schoolmates. They like fries, and among the sandwiches, they prefer meat. They also said they consider the prices reasonable.

I also talked to a girl, who is just about to start her fourth year in university. She has just met Burger King. She said that she likes that they have promotions and special campaigns for students. She prefers Burger King as the competitor firms have very small portions. Also, she said that she is very satisfied with the service at Burger King. She likes the free wi-fi and her favorite product is Hawaii Burger.

The second location sells very well although its building is a little old and it is even located on the second floor.

I interviewed 2 males aged 14 and 15. They just finished secondary school and their school is far from this district. They know Burger King but this is their first time at this particular restaurant. One of them prefers chicken, while the other one prefers meat. They find portions and taste satisfactory.

As a result of my interview with an IT employee male aged 32, I learned that he started to eat at Burger King in Peking 1 year ago and that he visits once a month or once two months. He prefers meat and his favorite product is Steakhouse Burger. He lives near the restaurant and he prefers to visit his friends. He also suggested to enhance the product variety.

I interviewed a girl aged 10, who came to the restaurant with her mother. This was her second time at Burger King this year. She comes after the school as it is near. Her favorite product was mango drink; actually, she preferred Burger King just for this product. Among sandwiches, she liked Fish Burger. She said that the finds the portions satisfactory and although the prices are not very inexpensive, they are acceptable for her due to high quality and originality. She said competitor brands feel ordinary for her.

Through most of my observations, I found that Burger King is not yet known by all in China. A certain section of the population has not yet heard of the name Burger King because it is new in the sector. Although anyone who tastes Burger King once keeps coming because they like the taste, there are people who have not yet met the brand. The competitors, having been there for a long time, can be preferred due to recognition. If you ask me, it is a big and bold step for Burger King even to access China. Burger King will increase the number of restaurants to a much higher figure if they emphasize advertising and marketing.

 

JUNE 2014

SHIJIAZHUANG

Early in the morning, we arrived from Wuhan to Shijiazhuang on train that travels 300 km per hour. Here, we visited 2 existing and 6 potential BK locations. One of the two existing restaurants is located in the middle of universities.

I interviewed two girls aged around 20. This is the first time for both of them. Their university is nearby. They said that Burger King is distinct from the competitors yet beautiful in terms of the environment, meal types and design. Both love meat; but one prefers hot and the other prefers not hot. They prefer to come with friends. Although they consider it to be a little expensive for their level of income, they think it is acceptable considering the advantages.

 

JUNE 2014

MONDAY GUANGZHOU

Today, we visited both existing and potential locations in Guangzhou. I interviewed the customers of both Burger King and the competitor.

I interviewed 2 girls aged around 21. One works and the other both works half time and studies at the university.

As a result of my interview with a male university student aged 23, I learned that this is his fourth or fifth time at Burger King. Although the competitors have products that he likes, he thinks that Burger King is more original.

3 girls aged around 14 told me that they first heard of Burger King in 2011 and that they visited once a week. They come with their friends after school. They prefer chicken and like ice cream the best. They consider the prices reasonable and the BK products tastier as compared to the competitors; however, it is their opinion that the menu variety can be further enhanced.

Today, I interviewed many people. Next were the 2 girls aged 18. Their school is far from Burger King and they rarely visit. Their friends prefer the competitor as it is more familiar and popular.

Comes once a month. Prefers the competitor as it is nearby and is unable to visit Burger King frequently as the number of restaurants is low as compared to the competitors.

A male university student aged 21 said that he visited Burger King 2 or 3 times and that he visited the competitor brands often. His opinion is that Burger King is not yet popular because it is new in the market and it does not have many restaurants.

I also interviewed with the competitor’s customers. Because the customers visiting Burger King maybe heard of Burger King before and they like it. But I wondered if the people visiting the competitor ever heard of Burger King.

A girl aged 30 said she mostly prefers Chinese fast food. She said she has heard of the brand Burger King but has never been there.

 

JUNE 2014

FOSHAN

From Guanca, we traveled to Foshan by car. I also got to interview the customers of the competitors here.

A man who works on financial analysis said he had breakfast at McDonald’s frequently since the World Cup started. As you know, McDonald’s sponsored World Cup this year. And the advertising within this context may have been effective.

 

To sum up, during my trip to China, I have both come to know a different culture and I have both concluded how different cultures shape or should shape the marketing strategies and how effective they are regarding sales. No matter how well known is a brand in a country, it should be able to break some chains, especially in the food sector. Otherwise, it will be bound to become forgotten under the traditions of such country or region and to be a foreigner.

If we take Burger King in China, for example, although it is not very well known and although it has less restaurants than competitors, I saw that it still accessed the Chinese market with a bold step and it is proceeding with firm steps. The most important reason for this conclusion is that I learned that although it is not very cheap in terms of price, the customers mostly considered the products worth such price due to high quality and the taste. Although chicken is more preferred in China (I am not sure of this piece of information, I will check out again), the existing customers mostly prefer meat in Burger King, which is actually an indication of the product produced. The feedback that the portions are larger than the normal can also explain the matter of price. The fact that they consider that it has more in terms of being filling despite they find the price more expensive can actually be an answer to these comments.

It seems that, although the trademark recognition is not very high, a marketing network will obviously be created by word of mouth with the positive comments of the trying customers; and it will develop without taking much investment. Of course, it should be supported by advertising and marketing.

Based on the notes I’ve taken down throughout my visit, it seems that Burger King in China will leave many competitors behind in that region in a brief period of time and with firm steps. And I will be following up curiously.

2015 FEBRUARY A TRIP TO MIAMI

At the end of January, during my school’s semester break, I accompanied my family to Miami, for a week’s vacation. Its long sandy beaches, luxury hotels, water sports and entertainment facilities makes it one of the world’s premier holiday resorts. Furthermore, tourism isn’t limited to a single season. It attracts tourists year round because of its mild climate and nature. Due to its tropical climate, it often rains. But nevertheless, it is sunny throughout the year in Miami. Temperatures rarely fall below 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), except for a few limited days in December, January and February during the hurricane season.

During the icy cold winter months, tourists from New York and other northern U.S. cities and from other parts of the world flock to Miami. Unlike summer months, the winter tourists are generally the middle aged and older. While throngs of young tourists party crazily along Miami Beach during the summer months, elder couples holding hands can be seen strolling in the streets of the city and beaches during the winter months. Many wealthy Americans own summer homes here, and one out of every three retired American has dreams of owning homes or apartment flats in Miami and residing in the city.

Winter in Miami is beautiful in a different way. Gone are the summer crowds along with the hot, sultry damp weather. While the north freezes, one experiences the mild weather of Spring here.

With a population of 420,000, Miami is Florida’s second biggest city and a key financial, commercial and educational center. Many international banks have branches and regional offices here. The city has the world’s biggest port for cruise liners. Luxury ocean liners leaving the port take wealthy tourists on cruises in the Caribbean and the countries of Central and South America.

Seventy percent of the population of Miami and southern Florida are of Hispanic origin. Some 34% of the population is of Cuban descent, and 16% come from Central American countries such as Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The other Hispanic residents originated from Porto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. More Spanish is spoken in the streets and shops of Miami than English.

miami


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