Hi-tech fast food in Beijing

CNC report from Beijing
Added On February 14, 2013

Next-- China has a justifiably proud culinary heritage. But here in the capital, you can get your teeth into just about any kind of food imaginable.

As salaries go up, so too do the expectations of connected Beijingers with disposable income to spend on dining.

That's where companies like Jinshisong come in.

Three entrepreneurs have harnessed the power of the web to offer a fast, efficient premium delivery service with a hi-tech edge.

Let’s show you how the website works.'s homepage is available in both English and Mandarin...

In contrast to many information-heavy Chinese websites, it favours a pared-back browsing experience.

Start by giving your rough location so the service can calculate an estimated delivery time...then click through to a selection of more than 150 restaurants, categorized by area and cuisine.

Scroll and select your dishes. You can even choose meals from different eateries. Once the order tops 68 RMB, around 11 US dollars, you qualify for delivery. Enter your address and payment details. The delivery fee is about two dollars fifty for a short journey. At the moment you pay on delivery...but online transactions are coming soon...

"All that's left for me to do now is click here on Checkout and then in under an hour my food will be delivered directly to my door. On the surface it's a very simple, intuitive interface, but in fact under the hood there's some really hi-tech stuff going on."

In English Jinshisong translates as "best food delivery."

With the firm getting up to 240 orders on a busy night, the heat is on to provide a speedy service with no room for glitches.

Jinshisong's up against a raft of other delivery services, like and KK Rabbit...

Its developers say they use tech to give them the edge...

SOUNDBITE: DREW KIRCHHOFF, Business Development, Jinshisong
"All of our drivers have Android phones..."

The bespoke system also lets these operators track the progress of deliveries.

The location of every driver is plotted on the map, which means they can be deployed more efficiently.

The delivery men also use GPS to help them find their way through the maze of Beijing streets, saving precious minutes.

”Our society is high speed and many people don't have time to wait in restaurants for their food. We hope we can send their food to where they want it by the time they need it. We can deliver conveniently to their workplace, and also their home."

After less than a year and a half in business, Jinshinsong employs 55 people, and is seeing 10-15 per cent growth per month.

The majority of users use mobile, browsing via an iPhone application.

Jinshisong plans to launch an Android version shortly. The team’s also working on a social dining platform.

Jinshisong sees itself bringing Beijing dining into the internet age.

The start-up acts as middle man between the restaurant industry and the evolving needs of customers.

SOUNDBITE: DREW KIRCHHOFF, Business Development, Jinshisong
"Restaurants slow to take on new forms of technology..."

Also in the pipeline...a tablet app for restaurants to process orders, replacing their old-school faxes and phones.

New York-style pizza joint Kro's Nest often tops the list of Jinshisong's most popular restaurants.

On a busy weekend evening, up to a quarter of its total business can come via the website.

The partnership has saved Kro's Nest the cost of setting up its own delivery service.

The staff here work closely with Jinshisong to keep diners informed in real time.

SOUNDBITE: ZHU ZHEN, Head Waiter, Kro's Nest
"We update our menu for Jinshisong and they put our new dishes online for the customer's reference. We also let Jinshisong know if anything is out of stock and they update accordingly...since we've cooperated with Jinshisong, our orders have grown and grown, and theirs have too.”

The pizza’s ready to be boxed up and delivered without delay to a hungry customer. Meals on wheels for the connected generation.

Jinshisong‘s looking to expand to more Beijing districts – then take its business model to other cities across China.