Burger King in China is on the rise once again, as the company’s CEO sets forth an aggressive strategy for store openings in the Chinese market. Korhan Kurdoglu, CEO of TFI Group, announced plans to launch 200 new Burger King restaurants annually in China from 2023 onwards.
After reaching its peak in 2019 with store openings, when nearly 300 new locations were inaugurated, the global fast-food chain saw its expansion plans stall due to the pandemic. As a result, the number of Burger King outlets hovered around a total of 1,400 in 2020. However, the recent surge in expansion indicates that the company is now opening twice as many stores per year compared to the past few years.
At present, Burger King boasts 1,528 outlets across mainland China, with a widespread presence in 188 cities. The fast-food giant first entered the Chinese market in 2005 and is operated by TAB Foods Investments (TFI), Turkey’s largest catering group, which is also the world’s largest franchisee of Burger King.
Compared to its rivals, however, Burger King’s presence in China is notably smaller. According to Euromonitor International data, Burger King holds a 1.2% share in total retail sales of food services in 2021, ranking fifth in the market. In contrast, KFC and McDonald’s hold 12.0% and 6.7% shares respectively.
Burger King’s delayed entry into the Chinese market, coupled with slow development, has hindered its expansion efforts. The brand’s entry came nearly 15 years after McDonald’s and KFC, leaving limited room for establishing its foothold among Chinese consumers. Addressing this issue, Burger King has undertaken localisation efforts and introduced affordable menu options to attract a broader audience.
Looking ahead, TFI aims to boost its presence in 200 cities, expand franchise operations, and strengthen its position in existing markets. Additionally, the company is exploring alternative investment avenues within the catering industry by considering new operational models such as the “cloud kitchen” concept, which focuses on delivery and self-pickup services.