Posts Tagged ‘fast food in asia’
This is our entry point to the Asian market…we see Korea as the trend-setting country for Asia. A lot of trends start here, like entertainment. That makes it right for a new brand like Taco Bell.
Most of company’s the focus seems to be on “building excitement” via billboards and the like in order to project the image of Taco Bell as a “new, fun flavor”, according to its . Beyond that, the main attraction is the best value menu itself, featuring soft beef tacos and brunch burritos for 1,500 won each ($1.30) and bean burritos for 1,700 won ($1.50). There are also healthier options in its “lite menu” where sour cream and cheese is removed from tacos and burritos and replaced with fresh salsa.
It’s probably far to early to speculate on its prospects, but I’ve got a few preliminary observations. Taco Bell’s main target in South Korea seems to be the young, urban crowd, and that appears promising since Seoul is the world’s fourth largest city and ranks 4th among East Asian countries in terms of GNI per capita. Also promising is the fact that, according to 2007 data, South Korea ranked 6th globally in terms of total spending on fast food and 5th in terms of per capita spending (after the US, Canada, Australia and the UK).
I worry somewhat though about whether Taco Bell specifically will catch on in South Korea. Yes, 40-minute lines were seen on the first day. And, yes, the Washington Post article seemed to place great faith in Seoul’s “powerbloggers” (almost 40% of South Koreans own blogs, including several about food) to transform Taco Bell to a trend in no time as they did with kebabs, frozen yogurt and pastrami sandwiches.
But most bloggers tend to have short attention spans, and their initial fascination with Taco Bell may wear off quickly. There is only so much you can say about and so many pictures you can take of fast food. At some point, Taco Bell will need to start carrying itself in order to sustain its presence.
I’m not sure if it can. The other two main Taco Bell Asia points are India and the Philippines. The latter is an exceptionally easy market because of its unique mixture of Spanish and American influences. And the former, which Taco Bell entered earlier this year, appears to be catching on primarily because of the Indian obsession with value and the fact that much of the menu is easily modified for the large vegetarian population there, including potato and local cheese (paneer) variations flavored with Mexican spices.
I don’t see a similar focus on either value or vegetarianism, or even a particular cultural affinity in Korea for Mexican food (though Seoul does have around 30 Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants). But maybe I’m underestimating the reach of Seoul’s bloggers, or just not thinking outside the bun.