Here’s another update on my visit to Beijing for the International Business Travel Course to China, which took place this past Spring semester.
We went on visits to famous tourist locations, as well as visits to international businesses and stores. We hiked the
and explored the
, and both stops were such eye-opening experiences to learn more about the Chinese history and culture.
During our free time exploring the city, we observed some international chain stores, like
. I expected Starbucks in China to be very similar to that in the U.S. because the company emphasizes that they want your experience in every Starbucks to be the same. The store initially seemed to have similar interior design and color scheme features as Starbucks in the U.S., but there were menu differences that did affect my experience.
At the time, they were promoting the “Dragon Dumplings,” which was a very sticky gelatin dessert, as well as the “Triple Coffee Jelly” drink. Although they had so many extra options not found in the U.S., we were all able to order drinks we wanted from back home. The business operations were also very similar in China. The line was long, but the service was quick. Just like in Orange County, once we ordered our drinks, we received them within two minutes. In my opinion, Starbucks is extremely successful in their international sector. They are able to keep their stores similar across the world, yet customize them enough to the surrounding culture for the store to be successful. Like in America, there is a Starbuck at about every street.
I don’t go to KFC very often in America, but my experience a few years ago was not so great. I was a skeptical when we decided to grab KFC for lunch one day. Like Starbucks, KFC looked very similar in China as it does in America. However, one notable difference was that the KFC was extremely well-decorated and clean. The KFC that I remember from the U.S. was poorly furnished with plastic seats, and it was also dirty inside. In China, the restaurant was relatively busy with almost every table filled with families and couples. The menu was very different from what I am used to. It focuses primarily on the sandwiches as opposed to the chicken breast and legs family combo. The food was delicious and my experience here was definitely a positive one. I would go back to KFC in China, however I wouldn’t say the same for KFC in the States.
Our experiences with American companies operating in China were very insightful. Starbucks was able to accomplish their vision of making the customer experience the same in every store across countries, while KFC found a flourishing market in another country. The trip has given me insight as to how different countries react to different businesses. One culture can completely embrace one business, while another country can reject it. Businesses must be able to thoroughly understand the surrounding culture and utilize their strengths in order to be successful internationally.
Thank you for reading this post as I compared experiences internationally.