The Couch Potato’s Guide to Ordering Fast Food Online in China

The Couch Potato’s Guide to Ordering Fast Food Online in China
Jul 01, 2014 By Danielle Martin , eChinacities.com

Have you ever been curious about the fast food delivery guys you see whizzing around on their e-bikes? The names are familiar … KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut yet I’ve always been mystified by the fact that they have delivery available in China. In Britain this doesn’t exist: it’s simply not cost effective. Given that these fast food restaurants are already so cheap, allowing people to order online would mean having a member of staff available to drive the order to them. Since e-bikes aren’t a common site outside of Asia, then this would no doubt mean paying an extra staff member to work as delivery courier as well as gas money for using a vehicle for delivery purpose, not to mention insurance. These costs incurred by the company on top of the order probably would not make it a viable option in the West.

Here however, the use of e-bikes makes this a cultural norm and so for the foreigner who has that craving for some junk food but doesn’t want to leave the comfort of their home, we bring you online ordering. Let’s take a look at the three most popular fast food outlets and how to order online.

Fast food delivery China
Photo: Kenneth Lu

1) McDonalds
The website for McDonalds is www.4008-517-517.cn; it’s straightforward enough and also allows 24 hour ordering. However, when placing an order this is where it can get tricky. When the page loads, you will see it’s in Chinese. There is a button for translating into English at the top of the page. When the English version loads, it will give you the option to place an order (top right hand corner) or to click one of the scrolling adverts across the page that says ‘order now.’ Upon doing so, you will be redirected to a log in page.

To place an order, you must be a registered user so go ahead: fill in your details and register. It is worth noting that you should do this at least an hour in advance of wanting to order as you must verify your account before using it. To do this an email will be sent to the email address that you provide and it can take up to an hour to system generate the verification email. Once you have completed this, you will be redirected to an address book page where you can save your address for future ordering. The difficult part is that although the site is available in English, the address selection fields are in Chinese. You need to make sure that you have your exact address handy in Chinese (not Pinyin) since if you don’t input it correctly, the system won’t recognise it.

For example, I live in a new block that is still under construction. The McDonalds website doesn’t recognise the road I live on, only the nearest major junction. Upon entering your address you will first be asked to select your city (in Chinese) from a drop-down list. Next you must input the street name, then the community you live in. Below this are three boxes saying Block, Level and Unit. The information to be input here is your building number, door number and apartment number.

Another issue is the delivery range. When I do input my address I get this: “提示:输入的地址不在送餐范围内。” (Note: This address is not within the scope of delivery.) It would seem that McDonalds reach hasn’t quite spread that far yet – be warned: delivery is more than likely unavailable if you live off the beaten path or far from the nearest restaurant.

Upon confirming the address and clicking the ‘Save Address’ button, the next page to load is confirmation of the expected delivery time and address. McDonalds also allows the customer to designate a specified time delivery if you would like to place your order a few hours ahead of time. If the delivery options are acceptable and correct, click ‘Proceed to Order.’ Here, the menu page loads where you can make your selections from the different tabs across the top of the page. Your choices are then added to the cart on the right hand side (along with an 8 RMB delivery charge). If you are happy with your choices and quantities, click ‘Check Out’ where you can review, confirm and amend the order before placing it. Please be reminded that cash is the only accepted method of payment. Finally, after clicking the ‘Confirm Order’ button, sit back and wait for some delicious hot food to arrive!   

2) Pizza Hut
The address for Pizza Hut is www.4008123123.com/ and online ordering is available from 10:00 – 22:00. Similar to McDonalds, their site is easy to use and upon loading has an English selection at the top of the page. In the top right hand corner you can place an order by using your email address or telephone number. After clicking ‘Next’ you are taken to a Terms and Conditions page where it clearly states that “To ensure product quality, Pizza Hut Home Service has delivery tradezone restriction. If your address is out of delivery tradezone, you could choose take away from nearby Pizza Hut Home Service stores.”

This is good to know prior to ordering that your address may not be within the boundaries. The address placement system is much easier to use. It has a bullet point list reminding you to use Chinese characters only and to be aware of any spaces or punctuation contained within. For this website there are initially no drop-down boxes to select from so you must type in your address. For this, your keyboard must either be enabled for Chinese characters or if not you can copy and paste your address into the boxes either from a search engine translation or a word document if you have it saved somewhere. When you begin to type in your city, then an auto-fill box will appear for you to select the correct one from the list.

After inputting your address, click ‘进入菜单’ (Enter Menu) where the delivery time will be confirmed. If this is acceptable, click ’进入菜单’ (Enter Menu) again to this time go into the menu and choose your food. Please note there is a delivery charge of 8 RMB but this is waived if the order is above 39 RMB. After selecting the dishes that you want, the quantity and total are displayed in a column on the right hand side. Click ‘进入结算’ (Payment) to review, amend and place your order. 

3) KFC
Finding the website for KFC was a much more difficult process than the previous two restaurants. Each time we searched, only the Chinese website with no English translation available would load. Finally, I stumbled across it upon loading the Pizza Hut website. There, at the bottom of the page is a small yellow tab that says ‘Welcome to Yum other brands.’ Under this tab is ‘KFC Home Delivery.’ Click on this and you are redirected to the KFC website that is in exactly the same vein as Pizza Hut with an English tab in the top right hand corner and the ability to place an order using just an email address or phone number – no prior registration necessary. Be aware however: KFC does not deliver fries. You can place an order for other menu items, just not fries. Strange given that it’s a staple item but after querying this with the staff, they advise that fries do not retain their “crispy freshness” in transit and go soggy therefore are not offered for delivery! The direct website address is www.4008823823.com.cn/

As is probably noticeable, all three websites are very similar, especially the latter two, given that they are operated by the same brand, Yum. They also have very similar ordering processes so after ordering from one, it’s very easy to then navigate the process to order from the other. We’ve dissected the whys and wherefores of each site so the next time you’re craving a little bit of home, junk food or just don’t want to venture outside now you can rest assured that some Western comfort food is only a click away. 

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Keywords: fast food in China McDonalds delivery China ordering fast food in China

7 Comments

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1

dandmcd
comment|48029|78013

I thought KFC and Pizza Hut's address system was the same, or so it seemed. I think Pizza Hut has a fantastic delivery system, they are very quick, and will correct mistakes they make promptly. Also, they've never been sold-out of anything in my experience.

Jul 01, 2014 16:52 Report Abuse

2

mike168229
comment|48017|89706

No delivery by Pizza Hut in the UK? Where do you live?

Jul 01, 2014 11:25 Report Abuse

3

nonotz
comment|48023|99359

writer logic : not cost effective = doesn't exist ...

Jul 01, 2014 14:52 Report Abuse

4

dandmcd
comment|48028|78013

I'm sure he meant KFC and McD's (is there any Pizza Hut in the world outside a museum cafe or theme park that doesn't deliver?), but naturally there is no editor at this website who ever clarifies obvious mistakes.

Jul 01, 2014 16:49 Report Abuse

5

panimal
comment|54033|311897

The one in Stirling, Scotland doesn't deliver.

Jan 02, 2015 21:15 Report Abuse

6

sharkies
comment|48012|38436

Reading this article has been a total and utter waste of time. Even Chinese people have massive problems getting food delivered because either they don't know their address, or the food company doesn't know the address, so registration isn't possible. The online registration forms can only be completed in Chinese characters - so that rules out 99% of foreigners. Most "English" hotlines have no English whatsoever. I've been with Chinese on numerous occasions while they to explain where they live to the service operators on the other end of the phone. What a nightmare when trying to explain what "character" is in the street or building name. There is no logic to addresses in China. It is the worst system on earth. All I can say is that if you think you can just pick up the phone and casually order a pizza, you are mistaken. Honestly, a guide on how to clean a toilet would have been more useful than this article.

Jul 01, 2014 09:12 Report Abuse

7

sharkies
comment|48019|38436

OK fair enough I've never been to Japan. I just thought it couldn't get worse than here.

Jul 01, 2014 12:35 Report Abuse