Ice cream and drinks chain in the mix for success after jingle goes viral
If you are a frequent user of popular Chinese social media such as Tik-tok, Bilibili.com, or the Twitter-like Weibo.com, you probably have watched or heard the catchy jingle for Honey Snow City that goes with the simple lyrics - I love you, you love me, Mixue ice cream & tea.
Does the tone ring a bell? That's right, it's adapted from one of the most popular American folk songs ever written - "Oh! Susanna" by Stephen Foster.
Many have joined the fun and uploaded their versions of the jingle, but in different languages, Chinese dialects, and who'd have known, dog and cat versions.
Mixue is a brand that boasts of its affordability, even for elementary school kids. Most of its ice creams and drinks are priced under 10 yuan (US$ 1.55).
After the initial IPO earlier this year, Mixue was valued at more than 20 billion yuan (US$3 billion). With more than 10,000 chain stores in over 27 provinces, it is now one of China's largest beverage chain brands in terms of chain store numbers.
In May it was revealed that some of its outlets changed raw material expiration dates.
One shop manager revealed that its milk, red bean, and oatmeal are supposed to have an expiration date of only one day. By changing the opening date, as long as the material hadn't gone bad or smelt weird, they could use the material for an extra day to save costs.
Mixue apologized for such a behavior on its Weibo account. Surprisingly, some customers and long-time Mixue fans showed understanding. One Weibo user commented that they should strengthen the inspection of their outlets, and not let a single outlet ruin the brand.
One store manager of Mixue said his two employees have to make more than 700 drinks every day.
It is recorded that the average drinks sold everyday among the 10,000 chains of Mixue is 465, so it is really demanding for the Mixue employees. If an outlet should choose a location where there are not enough customers, it will go out of business in a short time, the manager added.
It takes about 350,000 yuan (US$54,172) to open a Mixue franchise store, and if the store manager chooses a good location, it normally takes one to one and a half years to earn back the cost, according to the company's website.
With the advent of the viral jingle, Mixue has imbued its affordable drinks with another tag - if you buy their product, it means you are hip and know what the latest internet meme is.
Here is a photo shared by one Douban (a book, movies, and arts-savvy forum) user - two women, who might be mom and daughter, enjoying Mixue's 3-yuan (46 US cents) ice cream on a summer day in a third-tier Chinese city.
He captioned the photo: "A good product that can be enjoyed by people of every age and income group, and can make most people enjoy an enriched and sweet life, is may be the true purpose of consumption."