McDonald’s China wants to “embed green experiences throughout the consumer journey” as the fast-food giant seeks to engage with China’s young, environmentally focused customers.
The fast-food giant has rolled out a range of marketing activities to promote opening its first carbon-zero restaurant in Beijing.
The green restaurant, which is powered by more than 2,000 square metres of on-site solar panels, is part of McDonald’s China’s commitment to open 1,800 green restaurants across the country by the end of the year as it works to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The marketing aims to provide consumers with green experiences to advocate the benefits of a low-carbon lifestyle. The activities include free food for consumers who use a navigation app and visit restaurants by bicycle or on foot and discounts on sustainable menu items, such as Filet-O-Fish, which uses 100% Marine Stewardship Council certified codfish.
McDonald's China CEO Phyllis Cheung said, "With the scaling up of our business, we are determined to take up more social responsibilities to feed and foster our communities.
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“We will continue to drive high speed and sustainable growth by creating a future where people and the planet will thrive. We will focus on opening more green restaurants and embed green experience throughout the consumer journey."
McDonald’s China’s green push aligns with the brand’s global mission to adopt greener, sustainable practices and achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050.
It also represents a significant strategic move for the China business, which is number two in the market behind market leader KFC, which had 11.6% market share, compared to McDonald’s 5.6% in 2020.
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KFC continues to dominate the sector thanks to a combination of a first-mover advantage – it was the first American fast-food chain to open in China – and a localised menu which caters to Chinese tastes – it serves congee, egg tarts and pork.
McDonald's runs a strong second but has failed to capture the brand love KFC attracts in China. The shift to promote its green credentials and appeal to young consumers by increasing its focus on environmental issues is a strong strategy to boost its popularity.
It comes as the brand moves to expand its McCafe concept across the country in a bid to further engage China’s young, affluent consumers. McDonald’s plans to launch the coffee concept in 1,000 new locations by the end of 2023 in a bid to compete with Starbucks and local coffee giant Luckin Coffee.