Lanzhou lamian chain has noodle sector in a tangle as shops expand

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-8-20 23:13:01

Government-backed restaurant operator Eastern Palace Lanzhou Beef Lamian, a chain that specializes in a dish of that name, is facing growing competition nationwide along with rivals' protests.

The chain's signature dish is a kind of hand-pulled noodle, reportedly originated in Northwest China's Gansu Province and Lanzhou is the capital city of Gansu. 

The restaurant, supported by local authorities in Gansu has opened 400 branded shops in China over the past four years, according to media reports.

The company, however, is facing competition from imitators and smaller rivals in some places as it has allegedly flouted an unwritten rule in the lamian industry.

While the owners of franchised outlets of Eastern Palace are reportedly facing increased protests by competitors, some of the stores' owners in Beijing told the Global Times on Thursday that they do not encounter that situation.

The problem, they said, is mainly in second- and third-tier cities. 

The chain itself has quickly expanded in recent years, but some of its franchise owners are complaining of chaotic conditions in the sector, Beijing-based magazine China Economic Weekly reported on Tuesday.

There are about 100,000 Lanzhou lamian restaurants in China, which are operated not only by people from Gansu Province but also by those from Northwest China's Qinghai Province and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Ma Qingyun, chairman of the Qinghai Lamian Service Center, said in a media report.

Ma said that two lamian restaurants are not supposed to be operating within a few hundred meters of one another.

However, Eastern Palace's fast-growing business has brought "chaos" to the market because its franchised stores are usually close to each other or near other small lamian restaurants, said Ma. 

But keeping stores a certain distance apart is only a custom, not a law, so it can be ignored, according to the media reports.

And local authorities in Lanzhou plan to continue supporting the company to promote the Lanzhou beef lamian trademark not only in China but also overseas, Wang Shaorong, deputy director of the Lanzhou Municipal Bureau of Commerce, was quoted as saying in a report.

Posted in: Companies

blog comments powered by Disqus