I’ve been waiting and salivating in anticipation for over 3 months. I first saw a section in Raffles City mall sectioned off, with huge CARL’S JR logos all over it, complete with luscious looking burgers that tempted me.
Well, CARL’S JR FINALLY OPENED IN SHANGHAI!!!! I charged down there on the 2nd day they opened (would’ve gone on the 1st day but had a lunchtime meeting – boo) and dragged a bunch of my colleagues along with me ;) I really adore Carls Jr, above McDonalds and Burger King, because the burgers are bigger, juicier, and all round taste bloody better. Plus, they have delicious crispy criss-cut fries, and also my favourite – oreo milkshakes!!!! I could eat Carls Jr every 2nd day and be happy as a clam.
I know it’s fattening and all, but now that I’m married, it’s ok if I become a big fat old maid. Bwahahha!
Ahem. Anyways, so were headed on down and it was packed with loads of expats and locals alike. A bunch of locals were having a FIELD DAY with the “refillable soft drink” station… basically drinking their body weight in soft drinks. I also saw a bunch start grabbing at the napkin dispenser (one on every table, instead of the China-version of 1 napkin allocation per person) and taking as many napkins as possible and stuffing it into their bag. Words fail me to describe the absurdity of the situation.
So we queued to order and the food arrived quite a while later. It took about 15 mins, which I attribute to the sheer crowds, as when I went back a few days later the food arrived super quick. My colleague, unfortunately, waited about 30mins for the food, and it never arrived. When she asked, it was obvious they forgot but they refused to admit it, but her food came out shortly afterwards. She asked what they were going to do about the mistake (since the rest of us had nearly/totally finished eating) and if she was going to get a refund, and the local waitress stared blankly and said “No.” Not satisfied, she called over one of the American managers (the whole team was in town for the launch – great move) and explained the situation, and whilst he was great, she still didn’t get a refund or ANY sort of make good. Hmm.
Happily though, the food was excellent. The quality holds and the portions are solid. However, the prices are expensive for China standards.. at around 50RMB pp. Don’t forget that here, you can get a big bowl of delicious noodles for 10RMB. It’s also about double the price of McDonalds. So for that reason, I’m pretty sure that once the excitement dies down, the locals will go to the cheaper choice – in China it’s the lowest price that reigns supreme, not the quality. Because of this, Carls Jr really needs to lower their prices by at least 30%, to be sustainable and attract not just expats but also locals (let’s face it, you need the massive number of locals here to purchase or the store won’t survive).
I’m also not sure how the free re-fills of soft drinks and free napkins are going to work. Stuff like this DOES NOT exist in China for a reason. People are not accustomed to it and don’t know how to act, so they go into a frenzy. Still, we loved it and really reminded us of back home. They also need a few of their American management team to stay behind. I’m not sure if they realise what will happen when they all leave… there’ll be litter over the floor and not picked up, tables not wiped promptly, and mostly, I fear the quality/quantity of the food will slide downhill. I just pray and hope everything still upholds and it remains the exact same as during their launch! I did find most of the local staff very friendly and polite, which is great news.
So pleased that Carl’s Jr is in town though, and 5 mins from my office to boot. I’ll go there every week to have my burger, fries and milkshake fix now. HAPPINESS!!! :)
All hail Carls Jr!
Paper napkins, salt and pepper on all tables. VERY rare in Shanghai.
Criss-cut fries and deep fried zucchini
Portobello Mushroom burger – my absolute favourite
Chilli cheeseburger – spicy!
With the girls!
With one of the Carls Jr hotties