Try Selling Cheeseburgers In China

Cheeseburger In ChinaHonestly, sometimes when I see what other people have to overcome to be successful in their businesses I feel like a total wimp. I love to complain about Google, Facebook ad editors, article editors at EzineArticles.com and just about anything that doesn’t suit me well. But some people are on a mission and regardless of the obstacles they just keep plugging away doing business.

Case in point – Yesterday Jean and I were trying to decide what to have for lunch so we got out the menu from one of our local Chinese take out restaurants and phoned in our order. During the process we quickly figured out that we didn’t have the updated menu from the restaurant and the numbers and prices of the 497 items on the menu didn’t quite line up. As you might guess there was quite a large language barrier going on here and it took a little while to get the guy on the phone to understand what I wanted.

After running my mouth for awhile I just stuck with the names of the old items on the menu such as, “bean curd, Szechuan style”, and everything was fine. Once I got to the restaurant to pick up lunch, the hilarity continued as I tried carry on a conversation with the guy at the counter. “Were you the person I talked to on the phone?” was met with a smile and a nod. “I guess we had the numbers mixed up” was again met with a smile and a nod, but when I used the word menu in conjunction with the fact that we had an old one, he knew exactly what I was talking about and nodded vigorously.

At that point I figured out we could have a conversation as long as I stuck with keywords like order, bean curd (or any ingredient on the menu), credit card, thank you and a few others. It was also interesting to note that the guys running the restaurant were all talking to each other in their native language and it wasn’t English.

And that’s when it hit me…

I thought of the incredible barrier language is, yet these guys don’t let that stop them, they have a booming business and they keep plugging along despite the fact that they can hardly communicate with their customers, except for when it comes to food. And it’s not just Great Wall Chinese Food in Palm Bay Florida, if you haven’t noticed there’s probably a Chinese take out restaurant within walking distance your home. In fact, a quick mental check brings up 7 of these restaurants within about a 10 minute drive of our home. And yes, 2 of those are withing walking distance.

Many families run these restaurants and they have become incredibly adaptable to the American way of life. Even though their English may not be the best, they may not know the customs of our land all that well and they probably had limited start-up capital to get their businesses going, they have succeeded and keep pumping out Kung-Pow chicken and broccoli with garlic sauce as fast as we can eat it.

Compared to these food service entrepreneurs we affiliate marketers have it easy. The next time you think you have it difficult in your online business and are ticked off at Google for one of their slaps or some such thing, think about how difficult it would be for us Americans to start a family business and sell cheeseburgers in China.

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23 Responses to “Try Selling Cheeseburgers In China”

  1. You have a point. Sometimes in my lack of patience I get annoyed with situations like these, but know that many of these people have overcome enormous obstacles to have what we see as a normal life. They really do have it much harder than many of us.

    When I was younger there was a Chinese restaurant in the small town where I lived. The owners did not speak any english, but their 14 year old son did. He worked every night after school taking orders, he came by on his lunch hour to help and was also there Sat and Sundays taking orders. I’m not sure what they did when he wasn’t around. They were very hard workers and were quite successful.

  2. That is a great story that makes a really good point. Thank you for putting this all together, in terms of seeing this situation as you did, and writing it up so well.

    I best quit whining and get cracking on improving my online presence and income!

  3. nice post there. finally after a long wait i see a new post on your site :). why did you stop posting regularly alan ?

  4. I’m pretty sure McDonald’s and all that are big over in China, but I see you’re point.

  5. Lol Macdonald in China and Szechuan Style Beancurd in the states? When east meets west..

  6. The Chinese must have a good knack at running a viable business without the native tongue, we have similar businesses here in Australia, as for me i would be lost without any other language other than English,

  7. These small fast food restaurants are actually quite inspiring.

    I was in Germany this year, and I visited this “Turkish Food TakeAWay” Restaurant. These people didn’t speak English, nor German, yet their business was booming. Customers are coming in and out.

    If you look around then no matter what obstacles people face, yet they can make a living. And this is quite inspiring actually.


    The Moneyac

  8. I’m pretty sure that picture of a Whopper on the Great Wall of China has gotten your name and a few “watch” lists in China. Sacrilege!

  9. Lawrence,

    Yea, I’m sure they’re watching me now that I’ve defaced their national monument. I guess I’ll get the leaded toys this Christmas.

  10. Alan, you got a right opinion about this thing. However, I have some other ideas.

    Selling Cheese Burger in China is not the same as selling Chinese Food in USA.

    Let’s say Cheese Burger in China (A) have the same demand in Chinese Food in USA (B).

    When you do A you have the following difficulty:
    1. Language barrier
    2. Culture barrier
    3. High capital
    4. And other barrier.

    But for B, you don’t really have the third barrier (capital) as much as for A. The land price and the ingredient cost is much lower in China. Unfortunately the price therefore would be lower.

    Nevertheless, doing business in another country the person should learn and reduce the barriers listed above. Otherwise, the success rate is low. Even when the demand for Chinese food is really high in USA, there are a lot of supplies as well. So a business that doesn’t adapt to the culture and language, must die eventually. It’s just “quick and easy”, or “long and painful”.

    As for the online part, there is nothing to disagree. Just one thing to clarify: Google is the King of traffic, but without it, we don’t die, just a little less quality of living.

    Just some thoughts.

  11. When you were talking about what others have had to go through to become successful, it just makes me think that if you just keep pushing you should be able to make it.

  12. i wonder if the chinese would even like hambugers… perhaps if you could make them with different kind of meats, such as cow, horse, dog, etc. (or whatever animals they like to eat)

  13. Serious.. They eat meat that you can never imagine..

  14. Awesome comparison – and your point is very clear.

    Barriers and obstacles are not always as HUGE as they seem – and if you keep focused, and keep the core function of your business current and well-fed, than you will succeed.

  15. Ben , You have me worried :)

  16. welcome to chicken lover country..i dont hink McD will make it..just like kentukcy fried chicken

  17. I have a lot of neighbors which are Chinese. I admire their entrepreneurial skills. Often times, a teacher of mine described them to be like ants… always working and never minding. No wonder, they survive anywhere. Lol. :)

  18. The Chinese people are truly entrepreneurial. I guess they have to be because I think the social well fare is not to good.

  19. I actually think that these guys have it a lot easier than any affiliate marketer. As long as they have a good location with ample patronage, put out some good food, it doesn’t really matter that their English isn’t up to scratch. As long as they can smile and take your money they have it made.

    Affiliate marketers on the other hand have to entice people to click on a link hoping that the page they get directed to is enticing enough to create either a lead or sale.

  20. Yeah,

    You have a point there…


  21. You’re right. We should appreciate what we have, our accomplishments, and stop worrying about what we have yet to achieve.

  22. nice idea. but maybe you should try selling noodle. because many chinese peple love noodle 😀

  23. There are many people that come to this country and can barely speak english. They work hard, they don’t complain, and they make good money. Many of these people don’t speak english very well and yet they succeed.

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