IMPACT 01/22/2019 05:45 am ET Fast-food companies like KFC and McDonald’s have planted their flags overseas, encouraging a love affair with fast food that carries a heavy cost. By Charlotte Middlehurst When KFC opened its first restaurant in Beijing in 1987, people from all over the city flocked there for a taste of America. Foreign brands were still a novelty after the restrictions of the Mao Tse-tung era. Foreign fast-food restaurants represented quality and modernity, with KFC’s shiny three-story restaurant in China’s capital its largest in the world, seating up to 500 people. A KFC meal was considered a luxury to most residents at the time, referred to as “fine dining.” Given that the average monthly wage in China was around 100 yuan ($15 in today’s money), most people ate at the restaurant (with its 6-yuan hamburgers and 2.5-yuan fried chicken meals) only on special occasions. Today, KFC is the biggest fast-food brand in China, with more than 5,000 outlets. And over the last 30 years, KFC has been joined in China by Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. The scale of expansion has been immense. Fast-food businesses in China generate annual revenue of $125 billion. McDonald’s owns about 2,500 stores, with new outlets… Read full this story
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