Robot waiters and snail pizza: What US fast food brands do to please Chinese diners

America’s fast food giants are having to work harder to win over diners in China.

With more than 1.3 billion people, the country has driven sales at the likes of McDonald’s and KFC in recent years. The Chinese fast food industry is now worth $131 billion a year, according to research firm Euromonitor.

But things are getting tougher as the world’s second biggest economy slows and diners demand more. The response has been glitzier restaurants, bigger menus — and some pretty weird food.

KFC’s recipe for success

KFC is the biggest American fast food success story in China. The fried chicken chain entered the country more than 30 years ago, becoming its biggest player with 6,000 outlets. McDonald’s has about half that.

“By being the first Western fast food chain in China, it was an incredibly exciting offering purely by just being KFC,” said Andrew Atkinson, senior marketing manager at consulting firm China Skinny.

China is now the brand’s biggest global market, making up