On June 19th, the China Securities Regulatory Commission issued 5 IPO approvals, among which Tongqinglou, a time-honored catering enterprise, attracted much attention. The company’s IPO application was submitted for review on December 12, 2019, and six months later it finally got a ticket to the main board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Following the listing of Xiang’eqing in 2009, catering companies will enter the A-share market again after an interval of 11 years.
Tongqinglou is a well-known Anhui food and beverage brand, which adopts the chain operation model and takes the popular catering route, and has successively won the titles of “Chinese time-honored Brand” and “China well-known Trademark”. In 2010, as the only representative of Anhui cuisine, it entered the Expo Park to provide catering services.
There are very few catering enterprises in China’s A-shares, which is not consistent with the background of China as a vast catering market. Generally speaking, the capital believes that the growth rate of catering enterprises is slow and difficult to break out exponential growth, which makes these enterprises a bad investment target. A small number of existing A-share catering enterprises, such as the equally well-known time-honored restaurant Quanjude, have little business performance or stock market performance.
Tongqinglou Restaurant opened in 1925 and was jointly founded by 19 Anhui merchants, featuring Anhui cuisine along the Yangtze River. According to the official website of Tongqinglou, after years of development, the company has become one of the top 100 catering groups in China, with nearly dozens of chain catering hotels in Hefei, Wuhu, Nanjing, Wuxi, Jiangyin, Liyang, Taicang and Beijing, and has become a well-known catering enterprise in Anhui and Jiangsu provinces.
Tongqinglou had received celebrities such as Mao Zedong, Liu Bocheng, Chiang Kai-shek, and Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh. But in today’s China, Anhui cuisine is not among the four recognized cuisines: Huaiyang cuisine, Shandong cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, and Cantonese cuisine, while another concept, “eight cuisines”, is relatively less recognized. In the characteristics of dishes, Tongqinglou shows certain characteristics of Anhui cuisine, including famous dishes braised duck with golden sauce, sweet braised pork belly, minced crucian carp, cream shad, and so on. However, due to its close geographical location and similar local conditions and customs, Tongqinglou also provides some dishes that are highly similar to Huaiyang cuisine, such as crab roe soup buns, Braised Shredded Chicken with Ham and Dried Tofu and so on. This makes the characteristics of Anhui cuisine even more obscure.
The current epidemic has caused some disruption to China’s offline service industry, and catering enterprises are also one of the hardest-hit areas. In the next few years, offline catering may be difficult to be favored by capital, and the stock market outlook of this time-honored company is also worrying when it is chosen to be listed at this time.