Shang­hai is un­like any other city in the eastern part of the world. Home to ap­prox­i­mately 30 mil­lion peo­ple, it is a con­stantly chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment, where much of the pop­u­la­tion is com­pet­ing to make money, es­pe­cially the city’s restau­ra­teurs. Emilia Shi,

Hospitality News Middle East - - CONTENTS - den­

When it comes to lo­cal food, vis­i­tors will find de­cent out­lets less than 100 me­ters away, ir­re­spec­tive of their lo­ca­tion. The num­ber of small, in­de­pen­dent stores in Shang­hai, oth­er­wise known as mom and pop shops, is vast, equal­ing, if not ex­ceed­ing, New York City’s of­fer­ings. Some es­ti­mates sug­gest the num­ber could even be dou­ble that found in the Big Ap­ple. This is a ma­jor plus, as lo­cal Chi­nese food re­mains pop­u­lar with Shang­hai’s cit­i­zens, and these mom and pop shops gen­er­ally serve the best qual­ity cui­sine for the price. The list of places with name recog­ni­tion serv­ing great Chi­nese food and fa­vored by locals in­cludes The Grandma’s, known for its Hangzhou style food, and Jesse, which is a Shang­hai orig­i­nal, fa­mous for its Xiefen potato soup and Shaox­ing wine-mar­i­nated crab. Shang­hai locals are also huge lovers of cray­fish, so much so that there is an en­tire street, named Shoun­ing Rd, with noth­ing but cray­fish restau­rants on it.

In­ter­na­tional food to fit any mood

Many Chi­nese peo­ple have a neg­a­tive opin­ion of Western-style food, view­ing much of it as too sweet or fat­ten­ing. How­ever, for the more ad­ven­tur­ous locals and the tourists mak­ing their way through Shang­hai, there are plenty of great Western-style restau­rants to choose from, in­clud­ing both chains and non-chain out­lets. Lead­ing the way as a des­ti­na­tion fa­mous for show­cas­ing a va­ri­ety of food op­tions from dif­fer­ent cul­tures is the French Con­ces­sion. Don’t be mis­led by the name, how­ever, this must-visit area for food­ies is home to an abun­dance of restau­rants of­fer­ing di­verse cui­sine op­tions, in­clud­ing the fa­mous Cantina Agave (Mex­i­can) and Bella Napoli (Ital­ian). Shang­hai has also found it­self caught up in a craze for bread in re­cent years, lead­ing to the open­ing of sev­eral ar­ti­san bak­eries, such as the ex­cel­lent Bread, which is also lo­cated in the French Con­ces­sion. Mean­while, in an­other part of the city, Nan­jing Rd has wel­comed some well-known names since the be­gin­ning of the year, in­clud­ing one out­let each for Amer­i­can Bistro chain Hard Rock Café and New York City’s fa­mous Joe’s Pizza.

Tech­nol­ogy halts brick and mor­tar re­tail

While the food in­dus­try in Shang­hai might be boom­ing, the news has not been so good for the re­tail sec­tor, which is bear­ing the brunt of the rise and rise of de­liv­ery apps.

On­line or­der­ing has taken the city by storm

In Shang­hai, cus­tomers can or­der any­thing they fancy through a va­ri­ety of apps, like Taobao - which is sim­i­lar to Ama­zon - and, the go-to food de­liv­ery app that de­liv­ers from al­most any busi­ness sell­ing

food and drink. Much of the time, these apps will waive de­liv­ery fees in a bid to se­cure re­peat busi­ness. The phi­los­o­phy among locals is, why leave the house when ev­ery­thing can be de­liv­ered free of charge? This mas­sive rise in us­ing the in­ter­net to buy goods and ser­vices has forced many busi­nesses in Shang­hai to make their prod­ucts avail­able on­line or face clo­sure from a lack of both rev­enue and foot­fall. Many smaller malls and stores have shut down dur­ing the last five years, hav­ing failed to adapt and change. How­ever, an­other new trend that is tak­ing Shang­hai and wider China by storm could help to stem the flow some­what.

Share­bike is a move­ment, which en­cour­ages peo­ple liv­ing in and vis­it­ing China to get around its cities by hop­ping on a bike for a small fee. Un­der the sys­tem, the cy­cles are eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble, lined up along most streets and col­or­coded by op­er­a­tor. Users can un­lock the bike via smart­phone, with fees rang­ing from be­tween one and five yuan (USD 0.08 – 0.15) for half an hour’s use, sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper than trav­el­ing on the metro (four yuan) or by taxi (20 – 40 yuan). Once done rid­ing, users can drop off the bike and re­lock it. Two firms have the lion’s share (70 per­cent) of the Share­bike busi­ness: Ofo, whose cy­cles are yel­low, and Mo­bike (or­ange). Given cy­cling’s health ben­e­fits and suit­abil­ity for city life, along­side Share­bike’s af­ford­abil­ity, the sys­tem may well help ef­forts to re­vive re­tail foot­fall.

A call for new ho­tels

When it comes to the city’s ho­tel busi­ness, the hottest new thing is the Shang­hai Dis­ney Re­sort, which opened in June 2016 and serves the trade­mark Dis­ney­land Park. The re­sort cur­rently con­sists of two ho­tels - the Shang­hai Dis­ney­land Ho­tel and the Toy Story Ho­tel - of­fer­ing 420 and 800 rooms re­spec­tively. Lo­cated near the new Dis­ney­town, an area within the con­fines of the re­sort that has ex­ten­sive re­tail shop­ping, din­ing and en­ter­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties, both ho­tels are ex­tremely pop­u­lar and usu­ally booked up well in ad­vance. Plans to build two more parks within the re­sort are in the pipe­line, which will pave the way for many more ho­tels.

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