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Who abandoned Quanjude?

Quanjude’s revenues had been falling in recent years, and the epidemic was the final straw. Quanjude posted a net loss of more than 200 million CNY in the first three quarters of this year, with net profit down 484.4 percent year on year.

For years, with a steady stream of foreign and domestic tourists coming to Beijing, the restaurant chain had no shortage of customers — despite the additional service charge and the poor dining experience. After all, as the old saying goes, “an emperor’s daughter need not be worried about marriage”..

There are three main reasons for the Quanjude’s income decline.

Firstly, the traditional roast duck technique of Quanjude is no longer a unique skill. And as traditional roasting techniques lose their advantage to modern electric roaster, duck restaurants’ dependence on highly skilled chefs has declined.

Secondly, Quanjude has lost the young consumers. The “century-old soup”, the “roast duck technique” and the “old culture” claimed by Quanjude are no longer attractive to young people — and Quanjude made no effort to shift their brand message. Today’s foodies simply do not feel that Quanjude’s exuberant prices justify the food.

Thirdly, Quanjude lacks appeal to local clientele. Quanjude’s roast duck is expensive and has an additional service fee, unlike most restaurants in China. Local Beijingers are simply turning elsewhere and the restaurant chain has become not much more than a glorified souvenir shop, that is, a one time stop for a tourists and almost no return business.

Quanjude’s revenue decline cannot be simply attributed to the epidemic. According to the financial data, Quanjude’s numbers have been in decline for years. Whether 2020 will be a year to recover from — or the inglorious demise of a once cherished brand still remains to be seen.

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