KFC's first restaurant in Tibet open for business

The Potala Palace features as wall art at KFC's first branch in Tibet.

Story highlights

  • The U.S. fast food giant opens first branch in Tibet
  • Branch is first Western fast food restaurant in the remote region

(CNN)American-style fried chicken has found its way into Tibet's ancient capital.

KFC opened its first branch Tuesday in the Shenli Shidai shopping center in Lhasa, Chinese state media reported.
    This makes the business the first major Western fast food chain to set up shop in Tibet.
    And its choice of decor?
    The Potala Palace -- the historical residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959 and open today to pilgrims and tourists -- features as wall art.
    Photos of the restaurant's interior, long queues and meals were posted on Chinese social media.
    "This indeed tastes better than Dicos," referring to the Chinese fast food chain, one user wrote.
    Flower baskets stand outside the storefront of KFC on March 8, 2016.

    China's American fast foods

    KFC's foray into Tibet comes more than a decade after parent company Yum Brands scrapped plans to enter the high-altitude region back in 2004, citing economic reasons.
    The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader and advocate of vegetarianism, condemned the chain's plan at the time.
    Yum Brands first entered the Chinese market in 1987, and had made China a primary focus for expansion.
    Also an owner of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, the U.S. fast-food giant has been hammered by declining sales and scandals in the past few years over the quality and safety of food sold at KFC outlets in China.
    The company said it had more than 5,000 KFCs and nearly 1,600 Pizza Hut outlets in the country, with plans to build more.
    According to Xinhua, China's state-owned news agency, KFC is planning to build a frozen storage area in the suburbs of Lhasa to grow its business in the Himalayan region.