Service business

Shanghai restaurants resume catering service, business revenue up 293%

On the first evening of the resumption of catering services in Shanghai on June 29, 2022, it took 3 hours to queue for dinner at a hotpot restaurant on Dingxi Road, Yan’an West Road, Changning District. Photo: Wu Shiliu/WG

Shanghai restaurants reopened to diners on Wednesday after catering service was suspended for about three months due to an outbreak of Omicron, bringing most high-end and expensive ingredients to Shanghai foodies and giving a new impetus to the recovery of consumption.

A representative of a Japanese restaurant in downtown Jing’an district told the Global Times that they prepared many advanced ingredients such as imported peony shrimp and sea urchin as before the recent epidemic outbreak to ensure the supply of difficult gourmets.

“We have received a lot of customer reservations for the weekend. We will do our best to meet their demand,” the representative said.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, a Starbucks store in Huangpu district is nearly full with its first flock of restaurant customers in months, as local residents return to enjoy coffees and other food.

“Our 10,000 partners are thrilled to welcome customers back to Starbucks, as we resume food services at 800 stores within 48 hours. This is Starbucks’ modest contribution to helping customers in Shanghai resume their pre-epidemic routines and lifestyles and recover the city to its usual effervescence and vibrancy,” Leo Tsoi, general manager of Starbucks China, said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Wednesday.

The return of food service to Shanghai could trigger a new wave of consumption of high-end food ingredients and help boost the recovery of China’s food service industry, as it is among the top Chinese cities in terms of power. purchasing for expensive products. food ingredients,” Zhu Danpeng, a seasoned food industry watcher, told the Global Times.

Shanghai allowed restaurants to resume on-site operations in low-risk areas where no outbreaks occurred last week from June 29.

On the first day of resuming catering service, on-site restaurant turnover increased 293 percent from the previous week, according to data provided by Meituan.

Among them, meals at Japanese restaurants jumped more than 252% from last week as the first choice for many as a first meal, followed by hot pot, Cantonese cuisine and buffets.

At a mall in Jing’an district, restaurants serving white-collar working lunches resumed their usual bustle and picked up about 80% of their usual traffic, the Global Times observed.

In a Cantonese dim sum shop, the Global Times found that several customers were already waiting for tables. Inside, waiters trotted around taking orders, clearing tables and helping guests to their seats.

“We weren’t expecting so many people on the first day. We’re out of hands,” a server at the store told the Global Times on Wednesday.

A queuing restaurant said it was its first sit-down meal in months. “Feels good. To celebrate, me and my co-workers are planning on ordering a lot,” she said.

Nearby, a waiter from a local hotpot chain told the Global Times that seats were already fully occupied at the moment and also reserved in the evening.

In order to meet COVID-19 prevention requirements, the local commerce commission has asked restaurants to maintain the distance between tables. Large restaurants must limit their tables to 70% capacity, while smaller restaurants must operate at 50% capacity.

The server at the hotpot store said he suggested diners finish their meal within 90 minutes, as advised by the local industry association, which is not mandatory.

“It is expected that more areas will be open to diners as the epidemic situation improves,” the waiter said.

However, some restaurants have not resumed meals on site or have remained closed. Some staff told the Global Times they were still awaiting advice from the local food and drug administration and others said they would not be resuming store service at this time due to a lack of manpower.

“It is expected that activity will pick up and return to normal levels in mid-July,” Zhu said.