You might want to grab your “Stars & Bucks” coffee for this one, it’s going to be an interesting ride going through the list of hilarious Chinese fast food chain knock offs. China’s copycat culture is well known and it’s no secret that they are good at replicating stuff. Some knock-offs are very good and at first glance, you can’t tell the difference but some you definitely can, especially when it comes to well-known fast food chains!
10. Mak Dak
China loves the taste of the West, it’s new, exciting and a special treat for them to be able to go eat “Western food”. Although there are many knock-off Western fast food chains some of them you might be fooled at first glance. So did you think this was a McDonald’s? At second glance Mak Dak is clearly not McDonald’s but more like a tribute to Daffy Duck, perhaps the “happy meals” come with gold coins? The Chinese are excellent replicators and if there is a successful business they want in, they make their own version replicating everything they can from the biggest to the smallest details. McDonald’s is in second place for the top grossing American fast-food chains in China. Not only that but Chinese people trust American fast food chains so the replicas might think they can fool people by luring them in with the same look, feel and similar tastes. How close can they get the taste to the real thing though? Instead of McD’s you have Mak Dak’s who’s menu include burgers, fries, nuggets and some kind of replica of the Big Mac. But the most important question is were they able to get the big mac sauce right?!
9. KFD and KFG
Sound familiar? Let’s try each letter of the alphabet after C… KFC what’s next? Oh! D! KFD… then there is KFG. You can also find a DFC they just use a play on letters to imitate the well-known food chain KFC. There are so many rip-offs for this popular fast food chain because it is loved by the Chinese people and the top-grossing fast food chain countrywide. All the versions of KFC seem to be just a variation of any combo of three English letters on the wall. The other knock-off Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in China include KLC, FBC, and MFC. They all use the red and white brand colors that KFC uses and have a different sketched face to accompany the logo. Sometimes the sketch is a fat chicken other times it’s a Chinese man’s face. They offer a menu that includes popcorn chicken and fries just like the real thing and of course the signature dish of fried chicken! You can find a KFD or KFG all over the country!
8. Cheese Burger
Recognize this logo? Well well well if it isn’t the Burger King logo but how can you really change this restaurant down to just one menu item… the cheeseburger? After all, they do have a lot more on the menu than just cheeseburgers! This burger joint has taken the Burger King brand and renamed it “Cheeseburger”. Perhaps the Chinese people really love cheeseburgers? Or maybe the founder really loved cheeseburgers from the real Burger King and thought about starting their own version featuring just the one menu item? However else you want to explain this one, this is our best guess! But the real story behind this Burger King knock-off is that fast-food Western burger joints are very well-liked in China, unfortunately, they are mostly only available in big and well-known cities. So, the cities in between don’t get as much fast food options and hence these ripoff versions started to pop up. They look the same, taste the same and therefore generate quite a bit of traffic into their locations. It might not be the same quality of a real Whopper meal but something is better than nothing, right?
7. 7 Twelve
From identical branding and logo to the small size convenience store this knock-off can easily be mistaken for a 7 eleven. But if you are sleepwalking or had a few drinks you might not even know the difference. 7-Eleven Inc. is a Japanese owned American international chain of convenience stores and there have many replicas popping up all over Asia. Well thought out replicas like this one think of every detail of the original brand just the names have been slightly changed. Why not 7 twelve, what’s next? Our guess is 7 thirteen then 7 fourteen! You can also find a 7 “apple” in China but this knock-off is not as great as 7-twelve because they use Apple’s logo in place of 7 eleven, making it more obvious that it’s not the real deal. 7-eleven really started to boom a few years back in China because people liked the idea of easy, quick, grab and go items and started to stop by for daily snacks and even home staples or hot meals. The knock-off version also provides the same sorts of items for quick on the go convenience like sandwiches, pop drinks, candy, cigarettes and snacks like chips or vacuum sealed chicken feet.
6. Taco Bell Grande
Taco Bell goes up a size to “Grande”. Just kidding it’s only the knock-off version of Taco Bell except that this knock-off is like an upscale version where the logo and restaurant look nothing like the real one, and the menu consists of items like tacos, fajitas, smoked salmon and oxtail soup. The staff are friendly and wear sombreros, you can order different Mexican dishes and listen to a mariachi band (off of a playlist, but still). The service is much better than your local taco bell, this is one knock-off food chain that really did it right and seems to have more success than the original version of Taco Bell, who didn’t do so well in China. Taco Bell Grande offers a complimentary bowl of chips and salsa upon being seated, this on its own makes it worth the visit! The founders of this knock-off so to speak were looking to find the recipe for success with Mexican food in China by making it an upscale full service, sit-down restaurant and providing great customer experience and great food. For the average American, Taco Bell is a fast-food restaurant with fast food when you don’t have a lot of time or wanting something cheap yet tasty. Taco Bell Grande is one of the best knock-offs mentioned here because they went above and beyond the genuine one to make it a restaurant people line up to go to with a detailed, bilingual menu and very “Mexican” feeling decor. It seems the secret to a successful knock-off fast food chain is including not only the original menu but also items that are familiar to the Chinese palate.
5. Dairy Fairy
Welcome to Dairy Fairy where instead of a Blizzard you can get an oreo “Ice Storm”. By the looks of the menu, the fake Dairy Queen is also accompanied by a fake Orange Julius as well. There are a number of Dairy Queen look-a-likes globally but it seems as though Dairy Fairy in China is really taking it to the next level by trying to become a fast food chain of their own! With locations in China, they are also planning to open up in South Africa… if they haven’t already! Can any South Africans confirm this for us? Dairy Fairy is known in China to be a popular brand of soft serve ice cream along with their various other ice cream menu items. They also have their cups labeled “DF,” which is exactly what “DQ” does on their cups, and all the employee uniforms are pretty much the same. The Chinese copycat brand’s slogan is “the taste of California”. It is clear that the logo, style, and the general brand idea is from Dairy Queen. They can’t fool us by changing a few colors and menu names like the Ice Storm but they seem to be fooling others considering they have opened up a few locations. There is also another imitation of Dairy Queen but they call themselves Dairy & Queen, isn’t that original?
4. Pizza Huh
Some might say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery because they clearly like what you are doing and you’re doing it well. Although for many international companies in China imitation is the opposite of flattery and they need to constantly protect themselves from counterfeiters. All these companies do it the smart way, they change the name a little bit or in some cases by one letter and keep the branding almost identical. Hence the birth of eateries like “KFG”, “Cheese Burger”, “Dairy Fairy” and “Pizza Huh”. You might see this and ask “Pizza what?… Huh?” Yes, we were thinking the same, where did Pizza Hut go? It turned into “Pizza Huh”, same logo, same menu, the same layout just with the change of one letter! Pizza Huh made no effort to be original in their signage and they went for a look as similar to Pizza Hut as possible. It is located in a mall, which is dedicated to knockoff stores and restaurants. So, if you were in the knock-off mall would you think it’s legit, probably not!
3. Bucksstar Coffee or Sunbucks Coffee
Bucksstars, Sunbucks, Bucks and Stars or USA bucks, are all nothing but a ripoff Starbucks! They really do a solid job with knocking off this world-famous coffee chain, from the logo and branding, right down to the printed take-out cups and menu. The Starbucks look-alike named ‘Bucksstar Coffee’ has it down to the logo and branding to look very much like those of genuine Starbucks. Want to know the funny part about some of these knock-off chains, specifically Bucksstars or Bucks and Stars? It actually was not designed to cater to city residents but rather to the tourists. As though tourists would look for the familiar green mermaid knock off logo for some comfort and caffeine? They offer similar items to what is on the Starbucks menu from the basics of a latte or muffin to frappucinos. Bucksstar Coffee is located in the middle of a “knock-off” mall and received some complaints that people were being easily deceived by the mimicry, thinking they were getting the real Starbucks when they were not. This might have started a little bit of trouble for the brand especially since they haven’t posted on their Twitter account since May 2014. On Twitter, they were posting images of the real Starbucks logo and tweeting that they are serving Starbucks lattes! They legitimately tweeted “we will be selling Starbucks lattes and Voodoo Donuts”. Seems a little sketchy… and many people did not like this a latte.
2. OFC (KFC)
If you thought there was enough KFC knock offs with ripped off menus you were wrong, there’s more. China made another KFC ripoff in Beijing and called it “OFC,” for “Obama Fried Chicken.” Needless to say, this got a lot of attention and was considered offensive so they changed the name again to “UFO” later on. They used the same colors, font, style, and menu but this time instead of targeting Obama they went for Aliens. “Yes, I’ll get the alien fried popcorn chicken, please and the galactic fries with that”. Why are there so many KFC rip-offs in China though? I mean there are tons of different variations of the knock-off for this fast-food chain. Well, KFC was the first American fast-food chain to open in China and before 1987, they were closed off to the rest of the world. So, when KFC came in they went bananas.. or “chickens” for it! It was the first Western food they had access to and many Chinese consumers prefer chicken over other meats like beef or pork. It quickly became not only popular but China’s favorite fast food joint. The original KFC has over 5,000 locations and in 2017 they made $5 billion in revenue. It is no wonder that others wanted a piece of this success and wealth so they started to knock it off in hopes of the same success and to maneuver customers to the false KFC by using similar logos, the same color scheme, and menu items.
1. Michael Alone
This version of McDonald’s in China has replicated the golden arches and turned them upside down, must have been created by Ronald WcDonald? Who would agree that the founder maybe was inspired after watching the movie Home Alone? Or maybe it’s in memory of Michael Jackson? After all, he did sing ‘You Are Not Alone’, perhaps “the founder” of this restaurant was going for something comforting and familiar? The slogan could be “you are not alone, there is fast comfort food for you”. They even have a fake “Ronald McDonald” mascot out front with the same look, logo and similar menu as the original McD’s. Ironically, the restaurant does look kind of lonely with no customers inside. Maybe this is because you can tell from the terrible name that it’s a ripoff Mickey D’s, if not for the Michael Alone the restaurant easily could be mistaken for a real McDonald’s! From the red and yellow color scheme to the decor and menu we wonder if it tastes anything like the real McD’s. Hopefully they got their crispy fries right at the very least.