A 'fast pass' for chain food stores looking to open new outlets
The city's market regulators said on Monday that chain food operating companies in the city have received a "fast pass," allowing them to take advantage of a number of easy procedures for the registration of new outlets.
After the headquarters of the chain food businesses are recognized by the market authorities, they will be able to enjoy preferential policies such as simplified application materials, exemption from on-the-spot checks, and shortened time of review and approval when their new outlets apply for operating licenses.
The Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation says that the new method will cut the time it takes to evaluate and approve new stores from 20 working days to just one.
To take advantage of the policies, chain food operation business headquarters must first file an application, after which regulators will analyze their food safety management system to determine eligibility.
So far, Shanghai has registered 178 chain catering businesses with headquarters in the city, and 45 of them are big chains that have more than 100 outlets nationwide.
"The policy intends to create more sense of gains for companies and further improve the city's economic climate," said Huang Lirong, director of the administration's food operation safety monitoring and management department.
The administration clarified that this does not imply decreased food safety supervision and management standards.
Market regulators at the district level will conduct inspections to ensure that new food outlets live up to their promises and that their food operations meet food safety standards.
According to the administration, if they fail inspections, their headquarters will be removed from the list of those who benefit from the measures.
Under the new mechanism, three new Starbucks, KFC and Freshippo locations received food operation licenses on Monday.
"The new practice saves firms both financial and labor costs and greatly enhances business efficiency," said Wendy Yang, director of government affairs and social impact at Shanghai Starbucks Coffee Enterprise Co Ltd.
The new Starbucks outlet in Xintiandi got the license in a day.
"Previously, it took between five and 20 days to receive the license due to the number of procedures involved, such as on-the-spot inspection," Yang explained.
Starbucks intends to open 128 new stores in Shanghai this year.
"The new mechanism creates an amazing environment for firms and strengthens our confidence in investing in Shanghai," Yang said. "It also speeds our city's development layout."
"The system greatly cuts the time it takes for us to open new shops," remarked a KFC spokesperson. "The down-to-earth business climate is outstanding. We are optimistic about our prospects in Shanghai."