Deal type: Management buy-out
Deal size: $US50m
China’s most popular hotpot restaurant chainDiners at Xiabu Xiabu savour the taste of this warming favourite that combines tradition with the speed of fast food. With more than 300 branches across Beijing and Tianjin, its contemporary design, pristine eating environment, and modern twist on a Chinese staple, have made it a hit with people looking for an affordable, convenient meal. And it is a particular favourite of young women, who prefer healthy hotpot to fried junk food.
China’s restaurant market, worth US$170bn in 2007, has grown at 17-18% a year as people choose to eat out more often. But although the urban Chinese have more spending power, work and family demands mean they have less time to cook, which has led to an appetite for American and Asian fast food. Xiabu has benefited from these trends and has expanded rapidly, rolling out restaurants in office blocks and shopping centres.
Xiabu pioneered the individual, bar-style hotpot format: so rather than sharing from a traditional communal hotpot, diners can create and enjoy their own dish. All stock, vegetables and meat are prepared in a central kitchen in Beijing and transported to each store daily, ensuring consistent food quality, hygiene and freshness.