Customers queue inside the Qingfeng Steamed Dumpling Shop in Beijing, Dec. 30. (Photo/CNS)
Qingfeng Steamed Dumpling Shop in Beijing has seen an overwhelming surge in sales after President Xi Jinping was spotted at the restaurant on Saturday, reports the Beijing Youth Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League in Beijing.
Xi's visit caused the internet to go into meltdown with photos of the president carrying the buns and paying for them himself. The restaurant chain has since seen a significant rise in applications for those wanting to open franchises, while hundreds of customers are flocking to the restaurant to order the same set meal as Xi, which costs just 21 yuan (US$3.50).
Meanwhile, other steamed bun chains are also benefiting from the Xi visit. Quanjude, a famous Peking duck restaurant group, saw its stock surge 4.83% to 19.76 yuan (US$3.30) on Monday, helping increase its market value by 255 million yuan (US$42.1 million) in just one day, the report said.
Beijing Shunxin Agricultural's Pengcheng Food Branch, which supplies pork to Qingfeng, has yet to see any benefit from the surge in Qingfeng's popularity, however. Shunxin shares opened higher on Monday, but fell to close at 0.86%.
Qingfeng has seen a rise in franchise applications, with each applicant paying 320,000 yuan (US$52,850) to join the chain, while typically needing between 700,000 yuan and 800,000 yuan (US$115,000-$132,000) for initial investment, excluding monthly store rental, according to a company official.
The chain now plans to simplify the application process so that people can apply directly on its website. The details will be announced soon, the official said.
An owner of a Qingfeng franchise store told the paper that it costs more than 1.2 million yuan (US$200,000) to open an outlet and pay for employee wages, raw materials and monthly rental.
Qingfeng Steamed Dumpling Shop was founded in 1948. It began focusing on steamed buns from 1956 and has since expanded from just three stores to more than 140, becoming the largest steamed bun chain in Beijing. In 2004, it was absorbed by the state-run Huatian Foods and Drink Group.