App delivery boom shakes up China food sector

phys.org | 2/14/2018 | Staff
Micaella (Posted by) Level 3
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Guo Bonan has opened several new branches of his "8Peppers" spicy Sichuan-style restaurants across Shanghai since last year, and not one has a dining room.

He doesn't need them—stationed outside each outlet are packs of food deliverymen on motorbikes waiting to whisk dishes from Guo's steaming kitchens to homes, office buildings and factories across the city of 24 million.

China - Meal-delivery - Boom - Years - Phenomena

China's app-based meal-delivery boom of the past two years has introduced several now-familiar phenomena: families and office workers huddling around mobile phones to place orders, delivery scooters scattering pedestrians on crowded sidewalks, and mountains of empty plastic meal containers.

But it's also fuelling wider change by shrinking restaurants and reducing how often families cook at home while allowing millions to fry up meals in their own home kitchens and ship them to hungry buyers.

City - Shanghai - Time - Money - People

"In a rapidly developing city like Shanghai, time is money. So people don't want to spend it cooking for themselves anymore," said Guo, 29, adding that many younger people like him are no longer learning how to cook.

"8Peppers" focuses purely on delivery through leading platforms like Ele.me and Meituan, avoiding the expense of paying waiters and maintaining a dining space.

Business - 8Peppers - Branches - Guo - Partner

Business is good. "8Peppers" now has 10 branches and Guo is a partner in a separate kitchen-only project with eight outlets and hundreds more planned nationally.

Passionate about food, Chinese are also eager adopters of e-commerce, a potent combination for delivery start-ups.

Yuan - Worth - Meals - Bolivia - Product

More than 200 billion yuan ($32 billion) worth of meals were delivered in 2017, equalling Bolivia's gross domestic product, a figure expected to grow another 20 percent this year, consultancy iiMedia Research said.

Users of meal-ordering platforms tripled in two years to 343 million in 2017, the China Internet Network Information Center said, the vast majority using mobile apps.

'Convenience - Efficiency

'Convenience and efficiency'

The delivery cost of a few yuan is no deterrent as Chinese incomes...
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