Blog image

Fast and Easy Connects East and West, in Shanghai

September 2012

By Mike Finstad, Shanghai

The western notion of convenience food and drink takes many forms in Shanghai. Fast, casual restaurants are plentiful, but they are dominated by expatriate business owners and investors. Chains, like Blue Frog Bar & Grill and Big Bamboo Sports Bar, used to be niche brands when they opened more than fifteen years ago. Their western atmospheres are attractive to home-sick expatriates, but they also lure an increasing amount of business from younger locals who want to learn about foreign sports and chat with expats. Wagas-- another popular fast casual chain--- is also popular among Shanghainese of all ages due to their free wi-fi and trendy vibe. The lower prices don’t hurt either.

Happy hour is always a peak time for the food and beverage industry in Shanghai. Many venues offer discounts for volume drinking, such as two-for-one deals, or one price for all-you-can-drink (such as 100RMB for two hours) specials. Collective Concepts is an ownership group that has opened The Apartment, The Geisha and Food Central, all of which heavily promote their happy hours and receive a heavy dose of their revenue from alcohol sales. Their investors say the two-for-one deals achieve two goals. Firstly, they attract deal-hunting expats. Secondly, owners can sell at least two beverages to frugally minded patrons who nurse their drinks (a common act among Chinese men and women).

Beer delivery has also increased in popularity in Shanghai. Cheers In is a beer delivery service that started just last year. The business has thrived, selling international labels such as La Trappe (Belgium), Kingfisher (India), Brooklyn East Indian Pale Ale (US) and Rogue American Amber Ale (US). Inexpensive labor costs offset high import taxes for foreign beer, which is why the model works so well.

Retail & Dining
Liquor, Beer & Wine
Food & Drink

Subscribe Form