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Beating out industry giants like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, KFC is now the first Western fast food company to open a branch in Tibet, the area between China and India that for decades has battled mainland China for its own sovereignty.
More than 1,000 customers showed up during KFC’s first day of service in Lhasa, the region’s administrative capital. According to China Daily, local children posed for pictures outside the restaurant, and the location is already expected to serve an average of 1,000 customers every day.
Because restaurant items, including frozen chicken, must be flown in from a neighboring province, menu prices at the Tibet KFC are higher than those in mainland China.
In a nod to its surroundings, this particular KFC features design elements like an image of the Potala Palace, once the chief residence of the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet. Since China’s exile of the 14th Dalai Lama, the palace has been turned into a museum.
The new restaurant is expected to appeal to appeal to Western tourists, an estimated 30 million of whom will visit Tibet by 2020. The restaurant will employ an even number of local, ethnic Tibetans to non-Tibetans, according to manager Yu Zhengqing.