Middle-aged Town Enters the “Halogen” Final Circle

By orchioo Nov19,2022

According to enterprise inspection data, up to now, there are 184500 enterprises related to braised meat in China, compared to 123000 in August 2021. In less than two years, tens of thousands of players poured in.
In contrast, in February this year, Zhouhei duck, one of the “three stewed flavor giants”, issued a profit warning at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It is estimated that the net profit in 2022 will not be less than 20 million yuan, and the net profit in the same period in 2021 will be 342.4 million yuan, a year-on-year decline of more than 94%. Zhouhei duck is not the only one whose profits are falling precipitously, but also the duck neck giants such as Juewei and Huangshanghuang are struggling to support it.
This has also made the topic of “why the life of the braised flavor giant is not easy” and “why the duck neck cannot be sold any more” once become a hot topic.
Under pressure from giants, there are numerous newcomers, and the transformation and upgrading of the entire marinated flavor industry has slowly begun. Where will the brand’s next increment come from in the face of the bittersweet racetrack with serious internal pollution?
1、 Breaking into the “Duck Goods” Circle
In 2021, Xu Yang, whose hometown is in rural Hebei Province, pondered repeatedly and decided to quit his job and open a halogen flavored franchise store of his own.
At that time, Xu Yang was already 45 years old, and like many middle-aged people who came from rural areas and did not have a degree, he had been working as a waiter at Shaxian snacks since coming to Beijing due to his low degree.
“I said I was a waiter, but my daily work was very miscellaneous. I cleaned up the dishes, tables and chairs, made Fried Rice, fried noodles, and cooked soup. I even had to follow the bosses to make Wonton and wash dishes. The daily workload was very heavy.” Xu Yang said that her working hours in this store were from 8 or 9 a.m. to 1 or 2 a.m., and she could take a day off every month. Her salary was 5500 yuan.https://forum.stoneitech.com/
However, because the restaurant manages food and accommodation, Xu Yang is also able to endure hardships. Her income of 5500 yuan is not much for her, and she can even save 4000 or 5000 yuan per month for her son who was studying in junior high school at that time. However, in 2020, because Xu Yang worked outside all year round, his 16-year-old son had the idea of dropping out before graduating from junior high school.
“Because his son is not yet an adult, Xu Yang sent him to the county seat as a car repair apprentice.” Jobs without a degree are very hard, and he regretted dropping out of school before long. It happened that a relative had studied computer technology in a training class, and now he is very promising. I also want to send him to study, but the tuition fee for two years will cost more than 100000 yuan. ”
Later, when Tiktok accidentally sent the news of braised food entrepreneurship, Xu Yang also wanted to start his own business
Under the pressure of life, Xu Yang still feels that the threshold for starting a business in the marinated flavor industry is low. “The business is stable, after all, 1-2 people can do it, and the store only needs 10 square meters or less. This should be a good small business.”
After that, Xu Yang began to pay attention to the joining of halogen flavor while working, and after understanding the basic workflow and approximate income of the halogen flavor industry, he resigned from his job and joined the entrepreneurial team in 2021.
Xu Yang disclosed to “Modern Consumption” that she has joined a halogen flavor chain brand with a store area of only 10 square meters. The cost of cold chain distribution fees, deposits, equipment, decoration fees, and other costs for two years add up to a single store investment of around 70000 yuan.
“The technology is not difficult, you can learn it in less than a week. Now, I feel that the business is OK. I have to get up at 5:00 every morning to prepare braised pork, and I have to stay in the store until 8:00 or 9:00 in the afternoon, but I also have a conservative income of 10000 yuan per month.” Xu Yang expressed satisfaction with this income.
In fact, unlike dinner, the marinated racetrack, which often appears in leisure or social occasions, has simple production processes and a high degree of standardization, is gradually gaining popularity among entrepreneurs.
“In the past two years, opening a small and beautiful restaurant has become increasingly popular.” Cheng Xiao, the founder of the Weixiaoshu braised food brand, told Modern Consumption that he felt that today’s braised food store is the first choice for many low-cost entrepreneurs, and there is even a trend towards being closer to residents and becoming smaller and smaller.
Weixiaoshu Marinated Meat was established six years ago. It opens its stores in the community, focusing on family scenes, and featuring the original flavor of instant eating and instant stewing. Today, the brand has opened more than 360 stores in more than 10 cities, including Shaanxi, Henan, Hebei, Shandong, and Shanxi.
“If the franchise store is operating well now, it can recover costs in three months to six months.” Cheng Xiao told Modern Consumption that a small store’s net profit is around 30%, selling 2000 yuan of braised pork every day. After calculating rent and labor costs, it can still generate a net profit of more than 20000 yuan per month. “Moreover, we have a large number of regular customers, and the repurchase rate can reach 80% to 90%.”
Some big brand franchises are even hotter. According to data released by Ziyan Baiwei Chicken, the number of stores across the country has exceeded 5300. The management of Ziyan Food has also stated that its goal is to open 1000 stores per year, like Starbucks, and by 2025, it will open approximately 10000 stores.
The registration data of marinated flavor related enterprises are also evidence of the popularity of the industry. According to enterprise inspection data, there are 184500 enterprises related to braised meat in China. And before 2020, the annual growth rate of the registration volume of relevant enterprises in the bittern industry was above 10% compared to the same period last year. In 2022, the new registration volume of industry enterprises was 27400, with a significant recovery in year-on-year growth rate.
As braised food has become a “good idea” for many entrepreneurs, more and more entrepreneurs are entering the market to make braised food, and braised products have already become a popular track.
2、 Consumption Scenario Differentiation
The halogen flavor industry is becoming more and more popular, and many brands are trying to create marketing logic and business methods based on different user portraits.
For example, Wang Xiaolan’s target audience is young women aged 20 to 35 – many young women like to eat snacks while chasing dramas or variety shows, and many of these people are office white-collar workers, who like to relieve stress by eating or using snacks instead of dinner. Through the understanding of these scenarios, Wang Xiaohan laid out online and offline sales channels and conducted targeted marketing based on specific scenarios, such as drama marketing.
In 2022, Wang Xiaolan partnered with Youku to launch creative advertisements in major dramas such as “Just Like An Old Man Returns” and “The Gate to Rebirth”. “I hope to convey a concept to consumers: When chasing dramas and eating snacks, I will eat Wang Xiaolan’s tiger skin and chicken feet.”
Not only that, “Modern Consumption” also observed that on Tiktok, new halogen brands such as Wang Xiaohalogen are often shown “three shifts” to sell goods live 24 hours a day.
The main products of Ziyan Baiwei Chicken are Fuqi Feipian (Sliced Beef and Ox Tongue in Chilli Sauce), Baiwei Chicken, crispy duck, and various cold dishes, which are mainly consumed by families. Therefore, the product positioning of Ziyan Baiwei Chicken is also different from the leisure snack brands such as Zhouhei duck and Wang Xiaoyan, namely “cooked food with meals”, which is committed to becoming a dish on the family table. Therefore, its advertising slogan is called “Take the purple swallow home for dinner”.
Unlike some well-known new halogen flavor brands, brands such as Weixiaoshu halogen flavor that open offline stores in second and third tier urban communities do not value marketing.
“I am an entrepreneur who suggests that the main force of online shopping should not pay too much attention to marketing.” Cheng Xiao believes that nowadays, the marketing information on platforms such as short videos is very messy, and the franchisees who open offline stores are mainly husband and wife stores. If these people go to take short videos and make group purchases every day, in fact, they don’t really make much profit.
He said that opening an offline braised food store only requires a simple advertising slogan to highlight the brand’s advantages. It is also appropriate to do some activities around the store, such as opening events, holidays, or giving back to old users.
“The bittersweet industry seems to have a low threshold, but in fact, if you want to run this business well, you need to work hard. However, I think the main thing is not to rely on marketing. Instead, you need to maintain product stability, choose a good address for the store, and work hard on later operations.” Cheng Xiao added, the key is to serve the people around you well.
In Cheng Xiao’s view, there are also concerns about product development for different groups of people.
For brands that focus on community stores, the best product development logic is to improve and enhance the flavors that are acceptable to the public. “Because we want to make popular money, we need to improve the flavors that people often eat, such as the five flavors that people often eat, adding aftertaste on the basis of the five flavors, and adjusting the degree of numbness and spicy on the basis of the spicy flavor,” he said.
There is no doubt that the market is seriously implicated, and catering brand players need to find a precise positioning in order to further occupy a place in the braised red sea market.
3、 The Next Step of “Homogenization”
For a long time, the braised food industry has maintained the pattern of “three competitors competing for hegemony”: Huangshanghuang, Zhouhei duck and Juewei Duck Neck. With the launch of Ziyan Baiwei Chicken and the influx of a large number of new players, the business of chicken and duck products has become increasingly difficult to do.
On February 13, Zhouhei duck released the performance forecast. It is estimated that the net profit in 2022 will not be less than 20 million yuan, with a year-on-year decline of more than 94%; Coincidentally, Jue Wei Food and Huang Shanghuang, both famous in the duck industry, also released their 2022 performance reports, with net profits both falling by more than 70% year-on-year.
Where will the next market increase come from in the face of the heavily entrapped halogen flavor circuit?
In fact, braised products mainly use livestock and poultry meat, vegetables, bean products, aquatic products, and other food ingredients. Through braised cooking, they have the characteristics of “color, aroma, taste, and shape”. However, various types of braised foods such as duck necks, duck wings, and bean products are common in various braised brand stores, so solving the homogenization dilemma has become a major challenge for brands.
In this regard, Liu Ran, a media person who has been paying attention to the catering industry, believes that when making the initial product brand positioning, brands should achieve differentiation.
For example, Liu Ran said that Ziyan Baiwei Chicken is different from Zhouhei duck, Juewei Duck Neck and other brands that make duck products with their heads.
When Wang Xiaolan was just founded, he mainly focused on “collagen” braised pig’s hoof products, but his business was tepid. On the one hand, the stewed pork trotters are relatively greasy, with a narrow consumption scenario, and do not have an advantage in young people’s daily consumption choices. On the other hand, the street mom and pop store’s “sell now” business approach is more reassuring than Wang Xiaolan’s vacuum packaged products.
Later, Wang Xiaohalogen turned to the chicken snack industry, and based on the consumption data of Tmall, Tiktok and other platforms, finally selected the chicken claw category. The tiger skin chicken claw with unique selling points, such as “manual nail removal, first frying, then brine, and one second bone removal”, soon became Wang Xiaohalogen’s flagship product. According to public data, in 2021, Wang Xiaolan’s sales of tiger skin and chicken claws exceeded 700 million yuan.
“So as long as you have a certain product with your own characteristics, you can also ‘kill’ a race track with one category,” Liu Ran sighed.
Cheng Xiao believes that taking root in community stores is still a new opportunity for the braised food and beverage industry.
In recent years, some well-known catering enterprises, such as Xiabu Group, have made a layout in the field of community catering. In addition, there are also new brands that focus on community catering, such as Niushuang Shuang and Wuwei Xiaomian, which indicate that the community catering track is heating up.
“The current form of doing and selling small community stores at the entrance is still relatively popular with consumers.” Cheng Xiao revealed that the survival rate of his company’s stores has increased by 80% to 90%.
At the same time, Cheng Xiao also started experimenting with the marinated bistro model last year. “The store has added staple foods, allowing guests to sit inside and eat marinated dishes as well as drink small drinks. Previously, people used to eat barbecues and drink more in the summer. Now, the marinated bistro model is used to increase revenue in a more casual setting.”
In order to increase income, entrepreneurs are doing everything they can to increase their income. However, as Cheng Xiao said, the catering track has always been a world where down-to-earth and hardworking people are favored, and if the braised flavor brand wants to stand firm, it is even more necessary to return to the original state of catering and make its products healthier and delicious, which is their way of survival.

By orchioo

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