The McChronices is in China, reviewing the practices that McDonald's is implementing in this important and unique market. One observation has to do with an attempt at market segmentation.
In China, two elements of life are critical: speed and money. People need and expect extremely fast service. They simply will not wait too long for anything. There are way too many alternatives for almost every product or service - a customer can easily replace any vendor or product. A vendor has to strike while the iron is hot.
McDonald's wants and needs to be in prime locations (and that's where consumers want them). As in any major city, the prime locations (street-level, major intersections, etc.) are highly-prized. To acquire sales opportunities, to capture impulse-buy customers, and to reduce costs, McDonald's has developed a "dessert kiosk" concept. They use a very small footprint store at street level (low cost and good advertising), they sell a very limited menu (soda, pies, and ice cream), and they direct people to a 2nd-floor or nearby full restaurant(advertising, suggestive selling).
These kiosks are very visible, and in excellent consumer locations. The service is simple and fast (limited menu)-and every customer is reminded in some way that there is a full meal waiting nearby.