Hello Again Everyone
As it turns out, I give up. Seeing as there is a severe lack of nice western street food around here, I would like to give it a try. The problem being the legal side. Anyone has any contacts or friends that have gone though the pains of building something up here? Extra points for start ups in the same field(food).
I know what I want to do and how I am going to do it. But the Chinese red tape is a big unfathomable pit for me, please enlighten me. Horror stories are welcome, let me drown your sorrows in beer while I grow fat(er) with your experience. Health Licences, permits, the whole shebang. Right now nothing is set in stone and the whole thing can go into the garbage in a second, no sweat. But getting info in order to something in a couple of years doesn't hurt.
And thanks for all the fish
Based on what I've read in the newspapers, just build your food truck and go about your business. If a police comes by give him free lunch and a couple of red Maos. You'll be fine.
All sorts of buildings and businesses are built and operated in Shenzhen. Many go on for years before being noticed, and god knows how many are never discovered.
There is an old saying, "Complexity breeds corruption." The Chinese bureaucracy is extremely complex, therefore it is extremely corrupt. Play it.
All it would then take is for someone to learn what he's doing and Hongbao a cop to poof him from existence. Better to do it the legal way.
Manuel, I have a friend that opened a Dutch bakery in Shanghai, I'm trying to get a hold of him for you. As far as the legality I would suggest speaking to a local lawyer.
Thanks for the help man. Let me know how it turns out, and if you see me around beer is on me.
Posted by Manuel Gutierrez - I know what I want to do and how I am going to do it.
A bbq in my neighbourhood complies by operating off of an established bar's license, pays them rent, stores their rolling food freezer and other equipment inside the bar and the businesses compliment each other. Patrons can eat in any open chairs at the bar. I often eat at an adjacent restaurant and order bbq items to add to my meal. In China, there is no conflict with ordering stuff to your table from outside the place you are a patron at.
If your plan is to do something like your in 2nd photo, or if you are operating in a grey area, you mainly need find a suitable location for it (and pay some rent). The government did make a new stricter policy just a few years ago that you should ask about, but what is possible depends a lot on 'where' you intend to do it. To avoid red tape, inspections are often known about before the inspectors arrive, unless it's due to a complaint, so you should simply not open the day the inspectors are coming and you'll be fine. Many long standing businesses of all kinds operate this way, but it is important to know the in and outs of the location you choose.
That is a surprisingly accurate description of what I was thinking of doing while I sniff under this particular lady's skirt. Although I was thinking of something mobile. Something that can follow the crowd.
That's the way I figured things work around here, but I rather look it up first.
I will save you your savings.
Chinese people generally don't like Western food as they think it is 'hot' for their bodies. Too much oil. Plus they don't like the taste of spaghetti and the likes.So you will struggle to even break even.
Only school-age kids may like their burgers and Macdonalds.
Chinese folks sometimes dine at Western restaurants to impress their dates or to splurge a little. But if yours is a food stall, you will not attract this segment as well.
So, open a Western food stall at a place with many high schools nearby and make sure you price it so the kids can afford it.
Or open one like Mcawleys which targets expats.
You do have a lot of competitors though...Mackers and KFC and BK and even the Hong Kong Coral Cafe and numerous pubs.
Have you done a SWOT? Marketing plan (7Ps)? Budgeting? How will you differentiate yourself? USPs?
Please, don't throw away your savings.
First things first. Thanks for the concern man, its appreciated.
As far as I have seen in SZ, there is a huge demand for western food. Hence my current job. With a proper marketing plan I don't see why it could not be viable. However you are right the average Chinese person is not my target, I would be targeting mostly expats and a very small part of the Chinese population.
The type of business that I am thinking of doesn't need a very big (starting)investment in the first place, so no worries about hanging myself by the balls either. As far as the business model, you are right there is much to be done.
However I stated that I would like to get some feedback on the legal side in order to determine what I can and cannot do. Rest assured I don't plan in going by half measures on this.
We do not have the ability to do that, only David and maybe CB do. Got it?
Restaurants are an allowed business for WFOE (wholly foreign owned enterprises). I would rate the difficulty on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most difficult) as maybe a 6, compared to a 4 for the USA. It is not that difficult, but you will need professional help to form the WFOE.
I have experience in this industry in China, and would say that, do not let a concern over difficulty in forming the corporation or compling with local regulations persuade you not to proceed. Actually, I have some experience with forming corporations and conducting business in your home country, and personally I have found China to be equal or maybe easier.
There will be a minimum capital investment requirement, legal fees etc.
There are some interesting options to consider, such as Brian hinted at, such as operating with a currently licensed business such as a bar or restaurant. These can be accomplished legally and would allow you to "test the waters".
The one concept to completely avoid is the idea of having a Chinese friend create a Chinese corporation, of which you are a hidden owner. This is 100% illegal and is about the most stupidest idea you could come up with. Avoid this, it is a fool's game.
I get back in a few weeks, lets get together and talk it over.....along with beer! :-)
Those are very welcome news GrandPa. I am glad to hear some experience talking.
As far as the initial investment goes, with a number in my hands it is just a matter of raising it, no sweat.There are many ways of going about this I think, but I want to get as much info as possible on everything before I decide in which way to tackle this particular tree.
Ill be here with a couple of gallons of beer when you come back.
Cheers and Thanks.