NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One of the more fascinating aspects in corporate China is that business relationships are created and reinforced over food and drink. When I frequented there for business, I never missed an opportunity to take advantage of mealtime to strengthen my connections. Besides, eating out in China is a sensational experience, unlike most restaurants in America, in my opinion.
For example, many seafood restaurants (my usual choice when asked) in China have a giant aquarium feel to them. After entering and settling on a table, you usually walk to a large area with dozens and often a hundred or more tanks surrounding tables in the middle, all with various sea creatures on display.
As you transverse the offerings, an order taker writes down your selections, which are in turn caught, cooked and served. It just doesn't get any fresher than straight out of the tank, and it's quite the spectacle the first time. The fish inspection is a mere formality, but demonstrates the importance and concern for food quality. Some restaurants even display ducks, chickens and rabbits in small cages for the same reason.
Live animals don't fit well in the business models of Yum! Brands (YUM), McDonald's (MCD) and Wal-Mart (WMT) and their need for high-quality, low-cost food sources. As the middle-class grows in size each day, so does the demand for high-quality, safe foods. Yum! Brands KFC recently reported weak sales after concerns of illness drove customers away. In order to achieve the revenue actually received, KFC needed expensive promotional discounts to drive traffic.