Fast food industry is made of restaurants, hotels and eateries that offer quick service in regard to food and drinks preparation. Similarly, the most restaurants mainly offer takeaway services for foodstuffs packaged to customers. Fast food industry form one of the largest segments in the overall food industry. Growth in this sub-segment has mainly been noted in the USA which has a record in excess of 200,000 restaurants. The market segment has grown from national to international markets with major players being companies such as Al Dinal food products and McDonald. Despite instability on energy and food prices, fast food markets have prevailed over this challenge with noticeable levels of achievement mainly noted in the international chains. Industry breakdown has basically exhibited national, regional and international chains trend. International chains have been rated the highest performer among the three chains due to emerging growth that has propelled such markets. Intentional fast food industries use various approaches and techniques in ensuring larger customer base. Most companies adopt franchise approach in carrying-out global operations. This marketing report, will illustrate the marketing strategies used by fast food industry operating in a competitive environment based in Hong Kong.
Fast food industry suffer profit decline due to Import licensing requirement associated with NTB i.e. non-tariff Barriers on common imports to Hong Kong. Similarly, minimum import price ceilings influence industry profitability when Anti-dumping Duty is implemented on industry’s future foreign imports on major raw materials (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). Hong Kong is popular for the highest quality food samples in the world. Like other major cities Hong Kong entrenches free market economy that is highly dependent on international finance and trade, and as a result the city is exposed to inventible economic turmoil that began in fiscal 2008. Under economic growth, fast food products may thrive better given the City’s fast food reception capacity.
Fast food industry is faced with stiff competition mainly from Al’s Diner fast food providers. Al Diner is very competitive as it operates several fast food restaurants, institutional catering services and a number of quick food casual dining joints. Al’s Diner is also known for its specialty in international restaurant chains including quality distribution chains that have recorded high performance globally (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). As a key competitor in fast food market, Al’s Diner offers a variety of brands with much of its popularity associated with Bistro M and New Asia Dabao, which threatens other participators in the industry. Ability to reach greater market share requires specialization on customer while capturing fast food products that counter Al’s Diner’s brands. In order to compete effectively with Al’s Diner, fast food marketers ought to presents affordable cuisines variety, featuring both western and local tastes.
As an international firm, McDonald has targeted both local and/or foreign market under its key brands such as Angus beef-burger, Hamburger King and Premium Chicken sandwiches which has gained popularity in Hong Kong market. McDonald has been performing better in china market for the last couple of decades. McDonald has remained more competitive due to its ability to venture and occupy fast food market share under effective franchise arrangements (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). Similarly, McDonalds is known for its environmental conservation concerns, which remain a subject of interest among many customers in regard to global warming matters. In order counteract the effect of McDonald, healthy cuisine provision by fast food companies with greater consideration of fat contents reduction in our mainstream foods and addition of natural foods.
The native Hong Kong resident’s exhibit diverse customs, values, behaviors and distinguished lifestyle that may create favorable environment for fast food industry i.e. in group meetings, the seniors are greeted first, and individuals are addressed using their titles and surnames. Such an aspect highly influence sales person’s efforts or even fast food attendants wish to give a warm welcome to the clients. Entertainment is part of business operations, and business deals or alliances are made in the restaurants where an 8-course meal is availed (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). Similarly, appointments are made in advance and seasons like Chinese New Year, Christmas or Easter should be avoided. When commencing business in Hong Kong, fast food products can be communicated to visiting clients in the main joints by issuing them with a name card or a business card. Lack of a card to exchange with another individual can lead to closure of your business.
The political environment in Hong Kong influences food industry performance with view of profitability platform. From the political will, Hong Kong business people rarely feel the effects of economic turmoil owing to government intervention through special relief packages. For instance, in fiscal 2008 the government advanced about HK $11 Billion to families as an extraordinary measure to cushion the populace against hard economic times (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). By such an approach, fast food industry enjoys high buying power from mainstream menus as the purchasing power of the population is assured. Currently, the city report few cases of protestations since the 1997 human rights demonstrations that nearly drained major industry performance, with Fast food industry suffering more. With the inclusion of business sectors in the city’s 28 functional constituencies under the political framework in Hong Kong, success business policies are always poised to sail-through. As such, fast food industry benefit from assured business representations from political elite under the functional constituencies in the Electoral College.
Customer behavior: Demographic Factors
Fast food industry targets the 94% Chinese within the city, plus the minority 1.8% Filipinos. This is achieved by providing Chinese cuisine under the main meals options. Similarly, the 1.6% Indonesians plus other minority group at about 2.2% by proportions, prove to be very vital ethnic groups considered when offering various meals options.
According to research, fast food industry reaps more benefits from the 15-64 aged consumers who constitute about 74.6% of city habitants. The lifestyle among this age structure is easily managed by providing fast foods both western cuisine and the traditional meals. This has been the nature of main restaurant players in the food industry.
Within the Chinese community, the consumer’s lifestyles are changing with time driving the Hong Kong market to ready meals. Hong Kong government has invested in growth strategies for ready meals via creation of opportunities for fast food dealers. Similarly, improvements on innovations, formatting flavor trends for consumers and creation of consumer drivers is being implemented. Business Insights group has been mandated with analysis of the consumer trends in fast foods market, thereby giving future growth forecasts or opportunities. Fast food products therefore have a promising opportunity in securing food market share
In determination of the competitive positioning, considerations is adhered in acquisition of a detailed picture of the existing fast food industry within Hong Kong. Pinpointing of sectors of growth and within the ready meal market is recommendable (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). While positioning, consideration of the market size and assurance of equal distribution within the targeted areas enhance proper coverage. Fast food products can be sold by sectors or type, and positioned in an eye-catching manner. Additionally, the strategic positioning is usually where target consumers are concentrated and products are easily accessible. For example, next to an airport or where shopping trips are occasioned. Locations where complementing food products are located can also serve a recommendable area. Similarly, possession of an elaborate view of the competitive environment, keenly identifying the key players and the leading brands
Fast food industry chooses pricing options among three options. First, fast food firm may use the cost-plus pricing by first considering the total costs met during material acquiring and price the brand services by assuming a given margin (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). Just like other industries, fast food industry players consider offering suitable prices by evaluating the perceived expenses incurred while availing the brand in the defined market. In Hong Kong this might suffer some stiff competition. Secondly, fast food firms may opt to employ market-oriented option. As per the current trend in pricing, fast food brands will thrive better in food industry by following market trend in the industry. Internal business organ are used in gathering relevant information to assist in such decisions. Alternatively, in fast food industry a firm may use availed reports from independent investigatory authorities that covers extensive period. Finally, the fast food business goes for penetration pricing strategy as an attempt to target locals. Here the basic consideration is to lower the price in anticipation of gaining market share at about 30% by consideration.
Development of initial library containing information on the fast food industry, in-order to create enticing basis for fast food consumption’s the mains focus. Regular contacts online through e-mail marketing or social media are maintained on information transfer on fast food products to our consumers, upon launch of the brand in the fast food industry. Frequent supply of fast meals products is maintained by giving the consumers excitement and power allowing for customer satisfaction (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). Supply of varieties of fast food products ensures that all the consumer categories are catered for. Even though consumers may be financially incapacitated, availing of affordable, quality and variety of ready meals will increase the sales volumes as well. Information from an existing to a new customer can be passed though ways in an attempt to seek new customers’ appeal. Fast food industry intentions are on ensuring communication and information on our participation in fast food provision does effectively reach all categories of customers at a wider range. Industry website is of beneficial use to the consumers by allowing them to air their views, opinions and suggestions on fast food brands offered.
To facilitate distribution on food supply fast food industry partners with key distributors such as H.K, in order to reach out the Kowloon city and Victoria City. In enabling the fast food products to have a frequent supply, reliable transport and distribution system are availed. This is gained by allowing franchise outlets as well as restaurant chains undertake fast meal distribution activities. This is because fast food firms have to overcome the challenge of timely delivery and goods in good condition (Shaw & Onkvisit, 2004). Industry website also enables consumers to make their orders online and improve downloading of order applications, by making it more reliable speed and timely delivery. Increasing of the market orders to consumers provide a larger market base, resulting into high gain in market share. Due to limited resources and proper financial management many companies in the industry, specialize mainly in networking and advertising. Advertisement is done online through search engines to enable collection results in few days thereby knowing the impact of our products to the market. After realizing good performance the firm may consider using outskirt outlets in enhancing retail distribution to Hong Kong locals. Similarly, events attendance is a core marketing plan to facilitate networking with potential consumers. Fast food industries are committed to submission to responses on calls to be speakers in some of those events; this plays a good opportunity to market our products.
I would recommend that the investor to go for an international fast food chain other (such as McDonald), rather than the regional or national chain because as illustrated by the study, the chains are more competitive across culture. In addition, once the investment is done I would advise fast food firms to engage in product differentiation to survive the stiff competition in the industry. Similarly, the investor should consider the firm’s move to eliminate fat and cholesterol in the fast foods to ensure long-term continuity of the firm’s profitability.
In conclusion, fast food industry is faced with rapid growth resulting from globalization. Intense marketing through application of various marketing strategies enhances better performance by fast food firms operating in a competitive market. Selective marketing with focus on international boundaries is another factor important in development of sound marketing plans. Efficient distribution through distribution channels and international partnering has been a successful strategy by fast food industries in HK.
Shaw, J. & Onkvisit, S. (2004). International marketing: analysis and strategy. New York, U.S.A. Routledge Publishers
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