China Has Fast Food Delivery Onboard Its High-Speed Trains

Screenshot: Shanghai Daily
Screenshot: Shanghai Daily

China is home to the longest and fastest high-speed railway trains in the world, and provide ground transportation for billions of people annually. It turns out there is a lucrative business in food service for long-distance train patrons, and many don’t want to pay for the mediocre food or lack of choice that comes out of the kitchen car. Chinese travelers enjoy KFC just as much in motion as they do at the restaurants, and the availability of so-called O2O (online to offline) food ordering is exploding in the country.

While riding on a train at 160 miles per hour, you can order the famous Bu Su Zhi Ba Double Decker Beef Burger and a refreshing original pearl milk tea from McDonalds to be delivered right to your seat. China is living in the future. The closest we have in the U.S. is getting Starbucks delivered by UberEats and the driver leaves it next to the trash can in the parking lot of your office building, and slow trains that kill pedestrians. Five stars.

I really thought that Americans were the undisputed champions at the nexus of terrible food and laziness, but it turns out Chinese folks are giving us a run for our money. Reports from 2020 indicate that a single station, the Nanchang East train station, saw around 1,700 on-demand meal orders per day for high-speed rail, and growth has been the name of the game since then.

Each of these meals requires a precise timetable to get them onboard and doled out to the correct passenger. Passengers must order their meal one hour prior to their train arriving at the restaurant’s station. Ordered meals flow from the restaurant to a distribution center at the station, then station staff deliver the meals en masse to railway crew. Your meal is then brought right to your seat, as you have to input your ticket when you order. Trains often spend no more than a few minutes at each station, and if the meal is late to a departing train by even a few seconds, it’s a lost sale, a disappointed customer, and a bad review.

This is the absolute pinnacle of capitalism, and it was brought to the world by the allegedly communist PRC. Good job, America. We’re so cooked.

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