Fast food

The Big Read: Through thick and thin (waistlines) — Singaporeans’ enduring love affair with speedy meals

SINGAPORE: When American burger joint Shake Shack opened its doors at Jewel Changi Airport in April, Mr Watt Zhong Qing, 29, was one of the first in line.

The element-time service workforce eats fast food about four times a week.

He stated that again in 2013, whilst Filipino speedy meals chain Jollibee first arrived right here, he queued 3.5 hours only for a taste of it.

“(It) changed into really worth it,” stated the meals fanatic, whose affinity with speedy meals commenced while he become 10 and his aunt sold him McDonald’s Happy Meal, which came with a toy.

These days, lengthy queues could nonetheless be spotted every time new speedy food players got here to city, as seen these days with the hole of Shake Shack and A&W at Jewel Changi Airport.

New flavours introduced through the quick food chains additionally generally tend to generate an awful lot buzz, with offerings occasionally bought out in only weeks, which include McDonald’s Nasi Lemak Burger.


And once in a while, it isn’t always simply the meals: The McDonald’s Hello Kitty craze returned in 2000 saw lots of Singaporeans spending hours in line for the sake of getting special mementos issued through the quick food massive. Around 2.Eight million toys have been sold within 40 days, said the National Library Board’s (NLB) net encyclopedia.

Based on state-of-the-art figures from the Department of Statistics (SingStat), speedy meals stores in Singapore generated a total of approximately S$1.1 billion in running receipts in 2016.

Singaporeans’ reputedly insatiable urge for food for burgers, fries and the like has helped the short food sector greenback the overall trend within the food and beverage (F&B) enterprise, which saw a 10 in keeping with cent decline in sales from 2000 to 2018.

Over the equal period, income from speedy food shops grew 29 in keeping with cent, based totally on SingStat records. In contrast, income at eating places declined 20 in keeping with cent, whilst the ones at other ingesting locations — inclusive of cafes — fell with the aid of thirteen according to cent.

The scenario in Singapore stands in evaluation with america — the u . S . Of beginning for lots global fast food chains that households around the arena have come to understand.

According to media reports, American millennials are shunning those chains at the same time as an oversaturated market and growing labour prices are ingesting into the profitability of these corporations. Other factors include rising health consciousness and competition from neighbourhood eateries serving the equal fare, said experts.

However, in Singapore, no matter greater national attention of the need to consume healthily, many just cannot live faraway from their rapid meals restore.

Take Mr Muhammad Hafiz for example. The self-described fitness conscious man or woman runs and does different physical games about 3 times a week.

But that has now not stopped the 30-12 months-old management consultant from indulging in his guilty delight of speedy meals as a minimum a couple of times weekly.

His “tender spot” for immediate food began whilst growing up, while he and his pals might frequent rapid food chains after a sport of football or rugby.

Likewise, soccer fanatic Lance Ling, 32, gives in to his “fried-food yearning” nearly 3 times every week.

“It’s a comfort aspect, definitely. Even now, McDonald’s is simply downstairs (from his home) and it is straightforward to (buy takeaways),” said Mr Ling, who works in the transport industry and currently moved to Buangkok with his spouse.


Fast meals chains are commonly defined as those which sell heavily produced objects, which include burgers and fried food, and serve them short.

Singapore’s love for fast food commenced in 1968, when the first A&W eating place opened its doors in the former Malaysia-Singapore Airlines building at Robinson Road. Next came Colonel Sanders in 1976 and then Ronald McDonald in 1979, with its first shop at Liat Towers in Orchard. Burger King arrived in 1982.

A signal of things to come back, the number of customers who attended the McDonald’s establishing turned into so massive that a global document became set then for serving the highest quantity of hamburgers in a unmarried day, in line with the NLB’s internet encyclopedia.

The document become handiest broken within the 1990s whilst McDonald’s opened in Beijing, China.

Over the past decades, the predominant speedy meals chains have grown improved swiftly in Singapore.

For example, there are actually 135 McDonald’s stores and 86 KFC joints scattered throughout the island. Burger King will be commencing its 50th outlet in Singapore in July, its spokesperson stated.

Another family call, Long John Silver’s, first opened in Singapore in 1983.

Between 2016 and 2018, it multiplied from 19 to 26 retailers right here, with income going up in tandem through approximately 30 in keeping with cent, stated its spokesperson.

Many different worldwide manufacturers have additionally entered the Singapore market, such as Pizza Hut, Popeyes, Carl’s Junior and Texas Chicken.

But it isn’t always all clean crusing: Brands together with Milano’s Pizza, Hardee’s, Wendy’s and Taco Bell had located the going tough and exited the Singapore marketplace.

A&W additionally suffered the equal fate — final down its 5 last outlets at that point in 2003 — before returning to the Republic to an awful lot fanfare.

A&W global enterprise development manager Sally See stated that going ahead, the chain could be beginning new shops at a “secure pace”.

“We need to ensure that we’ve stores jogging well and optimally before expanding in addition,” she stated.

Based on statistics from market research company Euromonitor International, McDonald’s had the most important market proportion (forty in step with cent) in Singapore remaining yr — way in advance of its closest rival, KFC (thirteen in keeping with cent).

In its file, the firm included comfort save chain 7-eleven, which got here in joint-0.33 with Subway, with each having 6 per cent of the market percentage, Next was Burger King (4 in step with cent), followed with the aid of Pizza Hut (3 in line with cent). The Soup Spoon, Pasta Mania and Long John Silver’s each has a marketplace percentage of about 2 in line with cent.


Experts say that speedy-meals chains do in particular nicely in Singapore because of numerous motives. These include the truth that the wholesome consuming motion right here is not as commonplace as in the United States and other international locations in Europe, and an English-speaking population who is exposed to international cultures.

In Singapore, speedy meals isn’t always plenty extra highly-priced in comparison with local fare consisting of hawker meals, the experts cited.

Mr Karthik Bakthavathsalem, an F&B lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic, stated that during countries along with Malaysia and Indonesia, nearby food alternatives are lots cheaper than speedy food.

There also are local rapid-food chains in those international locations, which includes Jollibee in the Philippines, that prevent the worldwide ones from garnering an excessive amount of marketplace percentage, said Mr Lucas Tok, advertising lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic.

Given Singaporeans’ “higher stage of attention subsidized with purchasing electricity”, Adjunct Associate Professor Lynda Wee of Nanyang Business School said the Republic makes an “first rate” check mattress for fast-food retailers to expand or strive out new products.

Long John Silver’s, for instance, does precisely that.

Catering to Singaporeans’ flavor buds and possibilities assist in its arrangements for distant places expansion, its spokesperson stated, including:

Duane Simpson

Internet fan. Zombie aficionado. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Alcohol enthusiast. Spent several months exporting UFOs in Jacksonville, FL. A real dynamo when it comes to exporting gravy in Tampa, FL. Spent 2001-2004 implementing saliva in Edison, NJ. Had moderate success getting my feet wet with junk food on Wall Street. Practiced in the art of building Virgin Mary figurines in Tampa, FL. Practiced in the art of marketing Roombas in Phoenix, AZ.

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