Fast-food spots to serve up his­tory

China Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

BEI­JING — Din­ers now have the op­por­tu­nity to have a taste of tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture when eat­ing fried chicken. A large in­ter­ac­tive screen show­ing how the Lantern Fes­ti­val was cel­e­brated in Em­peror Xian­zong’s palace in the Ming dy­nasty (1368-1644) cov­ers the wall be­side the cashiers at a KFC res­tau­rant in Qian­men, cen­tral Bei­jing. The res­tau­rant was the first KFC opened in the Chi­nese main­land in 1987.

When a cus­tomer scans a QR code be­side the screen with their mo­bile phone, mu­sic starts to play and the char­ac­ters on the screen be­gin to move. The cus­tomer can also ac­cess more in­for­ma­tion on their phone.

The Na­tional Mu­seum of China has au­tho­rized KFC to use the in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights of its 17 col­lec­tions, aim­ing to jointly cre­ate “na­tional trea­sure-themed restau­rants”.

By ob­tain­ing au­tho­riza­tion to use the im­ages and de­velop char­ac­ters based on them, KFC hopes to en­hance cus­tomers’ cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences in their restau­rants through tech­nol­ogy.

In the Qian­men res­tau­rant, im­ages of dragon and phoenix crown relics are shown in the form of win­dow dis­plays and wall paint­ings, with a de­tailed in­tro­duc­tion of the relics at­tached.

Im­ages of the relics are also painted on the din­ing ta­bles in the res­tau­rant.

A KFC res­tau­rant in Chang­sha, the cap­i­tal of cen­tral China’s Hu­nan prov­ince, is themed on a square ves­sel with four rams from the Shang Dy­nasty (c. 16th cen­tury-11th cen­tury BC). A short an­i­mated video about the relic tells din­ers how it was un­earthed.

KFC has cre­ated the na­tional trea­sure-themed restau­rants in 18 cities where the relics were un­earthed. The store lay­outs in­clude show­cases, ceil­ing lamps, din­ing ta­bles and chairs de­signed to re­flect a spe­cific relic or col­lec­tion.

Li Liu­san, deputy head of the Na­tional Mu­seum of China, said the au­tho­riza­tion to use the IPRs will help in­te­grate tra­di­tional cul­ture with ev­ery­day life.

“We know that 85 per­cent of KFC’s cus­tomers in China are chil­dren and young peo­ple,” Li said. “We hope they can learn more about Chi­nese cul­ture while con­sum­ing.”

Star­bucks is also pro­mot­ing Chi­nese cul­ture with mem­ber­ship cards and mugs fea­tur­ing tra­di­tional pat­terns im­ply­ing good luck.

Zhang Huiyu, a re­search fel­low at School of Jour­nal­ism and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion at Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity, said that for­eign brands may choose to use tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­tural el­e­ments for busi­ness pur­poses.

“The relics, to­gether with the Chi­nese tra­di­tional cul­ture, be­come more present in peo­ple’s daily lives,” he said.

We know that 85 per­cent of KFC’s cus­tomers in China are chil­dren and young peo­ple; we hope they can learn more about Chi­nese cul­ture while con­sum­ing.” Li Liu­san, deputy head of the Na­tional Mu­seum of China

ZHOU CHANGGUO / FOR CHINA DAILY

Pedes­tri­ans walk past a KFC bill­board in Hua­ian, Jiangsu prov­ince.

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