1. From Tech Giant to “Crispy Burger” Tycoon: Discover how Bingz’s founder, a former tech whiz at Tencent and Baidu, is shaking up the global fast-food scene with a humble street food from China.
  2. The “Crispy Burger” Taking on the World: Forget everything you think you know about Chinese food. Bingz’s flagship “rou jia mo” is poised to become the world’s next comfort food obsession.
  3. Conquering Canada, Eyeing America: Bingz isn’t just dreaming big; it’s already achieving it. Learn how this Chinese chain is outperforming global giants in Canada and preparing for a major US expansion.
  4. More Than Just a Meal, It’s a Cultural Movement: Bingz is on a mission to change the way the world experiences Chinese food, one crispy, flavorful bite at a time.
  5. The Future of Fast Food is Served Crispy: Get an exclusive look at how Bingz is reinventing fast-casual dining, combining authentic flavors, data-driven efficiency, and a commitment to global expansion.

Walk down a bustling street in nearly any major city on Earth, and you’re likely to encounter a familiar sight: the Golden Arches of McDonald’s, the comforting glow of a Starbucks storefront, or the submarine-shaped sign of Subway beckoning hungry passersby. These Western fast food chains have become deeply ingrained in the global cultural landscape, their logos instantly recognizable and their menus familiar to millions. Yet, amidst this sea of globalized cuisine, a delicious irony persists: Chinese food, arguably one of the world’s most beloved culinary traditions, remains largely absent from the global fast-food scene.

Enter Chinese Burgers.

We once introduced the development trend of Chinese hamburger in an article, which almost rose in 2023. But one of the brands is different. It was founded 10 years ago and its name is Bingz.

Formerly known as “Xi Shao Ye” in its home market of China, Bingz is on a mission to change this narrative, one crispy burger at a time. The company’s flagship offering, the “rou jia mo,”(肉夹馍) is a deceptively simple yet incredibly flavorful street food staple from Xi’an, China. Imagine a perfectly crisped flatbread, hand-ripped and enveloping savory, slow-braised meats, fresh herbs, and a tantalizing blend of spices. This, in essence, is the “rou jia mo,” a dish Bingz believes has all the makings of a global comfort food.

Bingz’s ambition extends far beyond simply introducing a new flavor to the world. The company’s vision is clear: to become a globally recognized and respected fast-food brand, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the giants of the industry, and sharing the unique flavors of Chinese cuisine with the world.

Leading this ambitious charge is founder Meng Bing, a former tech entrepreneur who traded lines of code for steaming kitchens and the sizzle of flatbreads hitting the grill. His journey, from the world of algorithms and app development to the heart of the culinary world, is a testament to his unwavering belief in the global potential of the “rou jia mo” and his unwavering commitment to building a brand that embodies both Chinese culinary tradition and modern fast-casual dining.

The Birth of a “Crispy Burger” Empire

Meng Bing’s path to culinary entrepreneurship was anything but conventional. A graduate of Xi’an Jiaotong University, one of China’s top engineering schools, Meng’s early career was a far cry from steaming kitchens and sizzling flatbreads. He cut his teeth in the fast-paced world of technology, honing his skills at industry giants like Tencent and Baidu. Yet, despite his success in the tech realm, Meng harbored a growing sense of restlessness. He yearned to build something tangible, something that connected with people on a deeper level than lines of code ever could.

This yearning led him back to his roots, to the comforting and familiar flavors of his childhood in Xi’an. The “rou jia mo,” a street food staple ubiquitous in Xi’an, held a special place in his heart. He saw in this humble dish the potential for something much greater, something that could transcend cultural boundaries and capture the palates of diners worldwide.

Meng Bing, the Founder of Bingz.

Fueled by this vision, Meng took a leap of faith, leaving behind the world of tech to launch Xi Shao Ye, the brand that would later become Bingz. In 2014, the first Xi Shao Ye store opened its doors in Beijing’s bustling Wudaokou district, a neighborhood teeming with students and young professionals. The small, 10-square-meter eatery quickly became a sensation, drawing in crowds with its promise of fresh, flavorful “rou jia mo” served with a side of tech-savvy efficiency.

But what exactly is a “rou jia mo,” and what makes it so special? Imagine, if you will, a cross between a burger and a pulled pork sandwich, but with a distinctly Chinese twist. The “mo,” often translated as “crispy burger,” is made from a simple dough that’s hand-ripped and griddle-cooked to achieve an irresistible crispy exterior and a soft, chewy interior. This “burger” is then stuffed with a choice of savory fillings, the most popular being “lao rou,” a slow-braised pork belly marinated in a secret blend of spices and simmered until meltingly tender.

The simplicity of the “rou jia mo” belies its culinary depth and adaptability. Just as the burger has been endlessly reimagined with countless toppings and variations, the “rou jia mo” offers a blank canvas for culinary creativity. It can be customized to suit local tastes and preferences, while still retaining its core identity as a comforting, satisfying, and handheld meal. This inherent adaptability, Meng believed, held the key to Bingz’s global ambitions.

The early days of Xi Shao Ye were a whirlwind of success and growing pains. The brand’s unique positioning as an “internet-famous” eatery, coupled with Meng’s own compelling story as a techie-turned-restaurateur, captured the imagination of both diners and investors. However, this rapid ascent was not without its challenges. Internal conflicts within the founding team, played out in the public eye, tested the young company’s stability. Moreover, external factors, such as the outbreak of African Swine Fever in 2018, sent shockwaves through the pork industry, driving up ingredient costs and forcing Meng to rethink his supply chain strategy.

Despite these early hurdles, Meng’s belief in his vision never wavered. He recognized that to build a lasting brand, he would need to address the company’s growing pains and find innovative solutions to the challenges that lay ahead. These challenges, he knew, were simply stepping stones on the path to building a “crispy burger” empire.

Weathering the Storms: Resilience and Reinvention

The path to building a successful business, especially in the notoriously competitive food industry, is rarely a smooth one. Bingz, despite its early success and promising trajectory, was not immune to these challenges. In fact, the company faced a perfect storm of internal and external pressures that would test its mettle and force it to adapt in order to survive.

The public falling out among Bingz’s founding team, detailed in a series of impassioned blog posts and media interviews, brought to light the growing pains of a young company grappling with rapid success. Disagreements over business strategy, equity shares, and the future direction of the company led to a very public and acrimonious split, leaving the company’s reputation bruised and its future uncertain.

Just as Bingz was navigating these internal struggles, a far greater challenge emerged on the horizon: the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health crisis sent shockwaves through the restaurant industry, forcing widespread closures, disrupting supply chains, and drastically altering consumer behavior. In China, where Bingz had established its base, the impact was immediate and severe. Lockdowns brought restaurant operations to a standstill, and the future seemed precarious at best.

However, it was during these tumultuous times that Meng Bing’s leadership truly came to the fore. While many entrepreneurs struggled to stay afloat amidst the uncertainty, Meng met the challenges head-on with a decisive and unflinching resolve. He viewed the pandemic not as an insurmountable obstacle, but as a crucible, a test of resilience that would ultimately forge a stronger, more adaptable company.

Faced with the daunting reality of a global pandemic, Meng made a bold decision that would come to define Bingz’s trajectory: he doubled down on the company’s international expansion plans. At a time when many were advising him to cut losses and retreat inwards, Meng saw an opportunity to seize the moment and solidify Bingz’s position in a rapidly evolving market.

This unwavering commitment to the company’s vision was not without its challenges. The global shutdown had crippled supply chains, making it incredibly difficult to source ingredients and equipment for the new international locations. The company’s Canadian expansion, which was already underway when the pandemic hit, faced unprecedented logistical hurdles and delays. Yet, Meng remained steadfast in his belief that Bingz’s future lay beyond the borders of China.

In parallel with navigating the complexities of international expansion, Meng recognized that Bingz needed to strengthen its internal operations to ensure long-term sustainability and growth. The company embarked on a period of strategic reinvention, focusing on three key areas:

1. Forging a Resilient and Cost-Effective Supply Chain: The African Swine Fever outbreak had exposed the vulnerabilities of relying on external suppliers for key ingredients. Meng resolved to build a more robust and self-sufficient supply chain, one that could withstand market fluctuations and ensure consistent quality. This involved investing in new technologies, establishing direct relationships with farmers, and exploring alternative protein sources. The result was a leaner, more agile supply chain that gave Bingz greater control over its costs and ingredient sourcing.

2. Embracing Data-Driven Optimization: Meng, with his background in technology, recognized the power of data to optimize operations and enhance customer engagement. Bingz invested heavily in developing proprietary digital systems to track everything from customer order history to inventory levels to staff performance. These systems provided valuable insights that allowed Bingz to streamline operations, reduce waste, and tailor its offerings to better meet local preferences.

3. Cultivating Talent and Consistency Through Training: As Bingz expanded its footprint, both domestically and internationally, ensuring consistent quality and service across all locations became paramount. Recognizing that a company is only as strong as its people, Meng prioritized building a robust training program. This program, designed to instill Bingz’s core values and operational standards, provided employees with the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver exceptional customer experiences.

These strategic shifts, born out of adversity and executed with unwavering focus, transformed Bingz into a leaner, more resilient, and data-driven organization. These internal improvements, while often operating behind the scenes, would prove to be just as crucial to Bingz’s success as its delicious food and global aspirations.

Conquering New Territories: Bingz Goes Global

While the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global restaurant industry to its knees, Meng Bing saw an opportunity amidst the chaos. He was unwavering in his conviction that the “rou jia mo,” with its satisfying flavors and adaptable format, held universal appeal. He envisioned a future where Bingz would stand alongside global fast-food giants, not just as a novelty, but as a mainstay, a go-to option for a quick, delicious, and satisfying meal.

This conviction fueled Bingz’s ambitious international expansion plans. The company set its sights on North America, a market with a diverse culinary landscape and a deep-rooted love affair with convenient, flavorful food. Canada, with its multicultural population and open approach to international cuisine, presented itself as the perfect testing ground for Bingz’s global ambitions.

The challenges of launching a new restaurant brand in a foreign market, even in the best of times, are considerable. Doing so during a global pandemic, with travel restrictions, supply chain disruptions, and shifting consumer behavior, seemed like a fool’s errand to many. Yet, Meng and his team persevered.

In May 2021, Bingz’s first Canadian store opened its doors in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall, one of the country’s premier shopping destinations. Despite the ongoing pandemic, excitement for this new culinary arrival was palpable. Word of mouth spread quickly, fueled by social media buzz and the allure of experiencing a taste of China, reimagined for the Canadian palate. Lines snaked through the mall, defying social distancing norms as eager customers waited patiently to get their hands on Bingz’s signature crispy burgers.

The Yorkdale Mall location became an instant success, exceeding even the most optimistic projections. Canadian media couldn’t get enough of this Chinese fast-casual sensation, with publications like BlogTO and Toronto Life praising Bingz’s flavorful offerings and modern, inviting atmosphere. The “rou jia mo,” rebranded as the more approachable “crispy burger,” became a viral hit, with customers raving about its unique texture and savory fillings.

However, Bingz’s success in Canada wasn’t solely due to its novelty factor. Meng understood that to truly resonate with local audiences, adaptation was key. Bingz meticulously studied local tastes and preferences, incorporating Canadian ingredients and flavors into its menu while staying true to its Chinese culinary roots.

This commitment to localization led to the creation of menu items like the butter chicken “rou jia mo,” a clever fusion of Chinese and Indian flavors that quickly became a customer favorite. This strategic blend of authenticity and adaptation proved to be a winning formula, demonstrating Bingz’s ability to appeal to a wider audience without sacrificing its unique identity.

Beyond critical acclaim, Bingz’s success in Canada has translated into impressive financial performance. According to Canadian media reports, Bingz’s single-store revenue is estimated to be amongst the highest in the Canadian fast-casual landscape, surpassing even established international chains like Starbucks and Subway. This remarkable achievement speaks to the strength of Bingz’s brand, the universal appeal of its product, and the shrewd business acumen of its leadership team.

With a string of successes in Canada, Bingz is now setting its sights on the even larger and more competitive US market. The company is taking a strategic approach to its US expansion, leveraging the lessons learned from its Canadian experience to ensure a smooth and successful rollout.

A key component of this strategy is the establishment of a central kitchen in San Diego, California. This state-of-the-art facility will serve as a regional hub for Bingz’s US operations, ensuring consistent quality and efficient distribution as the company expands its footprint. The central kitchen will also play a crucial role in Bingz’s commitment to local sourcing, allowing the company to partner with local farmers and suppliers to source fresh, high-quality ingredients.

The first Bingz location in the US is slated to open in San Diego in late 2023. This strategically chosen location, known for its vibrant culinary scene and diverse population, will serve as a launchpad for Bingz’s ambitious plans to bring its unique brand of Chinese-inspired fast-casual dining to the US market.

The journey from a single, 10-square-meter eatery in Beijing to a burgeoning global brand has been anything but linear for Bingz. Yet, through it all, Meng Bing’s unwavering belief in his vision, his willingness to adapt, and his commitment to building a company that values both tradition and innovation have remained constant. As Bingz embarks on this exciting new chapter in its story, one thing is certain: the world is hungry for what Bingz has to offer.

Looking Ahead: A Future Served Crispy

Bingz’s journey, from a single, unassuming storefront in Beijing to the precipice of a global fast-casual empire, is a testament to the power of vision, resilience, and a damn good crispy burger. It’s a story of embracing challenges as opportunities, of staying true to one’s roots while boldly adapting to new landscapes, and of never losing sight of the ultimate goal: sharing the simple pleasures of Chinese comfort food with the world.

Meng Bing, the driving force behind Bingz, isn’t one for resting on his laurels. He envisions a future where Bingz isn’t just a successful restaurant chain, but a household name synonymous with delicious, affordable, and culturally authentic Chinese food. He dreams of a world where families from San Diego to Singapore gather around tables to enjoy the satisfying crunch of a crispy burger, the rich aroma of slow-braised pork belly filling the air, and the subtle heat of chili oil lingering on their taste buds.

Achieving this vision will require more than just serving up tasty food. Meng understands that Bingz’s success hinges on its ability to navigate the complex and ever-changing landscape of the global fast-food industry. This means continuing to innovate, to refine its operations, and to adapt its menu to local tastes while staying true to its Chinese culinary heritage.

But Meng’s ambitions extend beyond mere market dominance. He sees Bingz’s success as a stepping stone to something even greater: changing the way the world perceives Chinese food and culture. For too long, Chinese cuisine outside of China has been relegated to greasy takeout boxes and dimly lit dining rooms. Bingz, with its modern aesthetic, commitment to fresh ingredients, and emphasis on transparency, is challenging these stereotypes, showcasing the diversity and sophistication of Chinese culinary traditions in a way that resonates with a global audience.

As Bingz continues its global expansion, its impact is likely to be felt far beyond the walls of its restaurants. With each crispy burger served, each bowl of spicy noodles slurped, and each cup of jasmine tea sipped, Bingz is chipping away at preconceived notions and inviting the world to experience the true flavors of China.

This is not simply a story about building a restaurant chain; it’s a story about cultural exchange, about bridging continents through the power of food, and about proving that a humble street food, given the right ingredients and a bold vision, can indeed conquer the world, one crispy bite at a time. The future of fast food is about to get a whole lot more interesting, and it just might be served with a side of chili oil.

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