Shang­hai res­tau­rants strug­gle to meet de­mand for CNY

Global Times – Metro Shanghai - - COMMUNITY - Page Ed­i­tor: chen­[email protected]­al­times.com.cn

Many Shang­hainese res­i­dents pre­fer to en­joy Chi­nese New Year (CNY) din­ners with fam­ily and friends at lo­cal res­tau­rants in­stead of at home.

Though the lu­nar new year is about two months away, seats for CNY din­ners in many lo­cal res­tau­rants are al­ready booked up, Laodong Daily re­ported Mon­day. No­tice­ably, many lo­cals have booked seats for meals dur­ing the Spring Fes­ti­val hol­i­day week.

The price for CNY din­ner in Shang­hai was re­ported to wit­ness a 10 to 20 per­cent in­crease on av­er­age this year. But the ris­ing prices have not af­fected the mar­ket. Thus far, over 90 per­cent of seats for CNY din­ners in the city have been booked.

A well-known Shang­hainese restau­rant told Laodong Daily that its seats for CNY were all booked in Sep­tem­ber.

For a ta­ble of 10, the restau­rant of­fers two meal sets; one for 3,680 yuan ($533.63) and the other for 4,580 yuan, ac­cord­ing to the restau­rant man­ager. For a ta­ble of six, the restau­rant has a meal set for 1,980 yuan. If cus­tomers de­sire a pri­vate room, they must choose the 4,580 yuan set.

Jin Pei­hua, deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral of Shang­hai Res­tau­rants Cui­sine As­so­ci­a­tion, said that the av­er­age set price for lo­cal res­tau­rants of at least 2,000 square me­ters in size was around 2,000 yuan in 2017.

“The av­er­age CNY din­ner cost per per­son in 2017 was 200 yuan. But this year, most lo­cal res­tau­rants have raised their set prices by 10 to 20 per­cent. Most meal sets are be­ing sold for 2,000 to 3,000 yuan now,” Jin told Laodong Daily.

Lim­ited din­ing

Since seats dur­ing CNY are ex­tremely lim­ited, some lo­cal res­tau­rants have re­quested that cus­tomers hurry and fin­ish their meals within a cer­tain time frame. An em­ployee at a fa­mous Shang­hainese restau­rant told me­dia that the du­ra­tion for the first batch of con­sumers is fixed be­tween 4: 30 pm and 7 pm.

Cus­tomers must leave be­fore 7 pm, be­cause the sec­ond batch of con­sumers starts at 7:30 pm.

But some lo­cal res­tau­rants refuse to limit their din­ing time dur­ing CNY in or­der to pro­vide a more pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence. “Un­lim­ited din­ing time lets our cus­tomers en­joy their meals. And if we only serve one batch of cus­tomers, we can close up around 8:30 pm so our staff can go home ear­lier and have din­ner with their own fam­i­lies,” one lo­cal restau­rant man­ager said.

Semi-cooked

Since it is now more dif­fi­cult for Shang­hai cit­i­zens to book a restau­rant dur­ing the lu­nar new year hol­i­day, many lo­cals in­stead choose to buy semi-cooked meals from well­known res­tau­rants.

A res­i­dent sur­named Yang told Laodong Daily that if she is un­able to ob­tain a seat at a fa­mous restau­rant, she will opt to buy semi-fin­ished dishes from well-known res­tau­rants rather than eat at a small restau­rant.

Jin agreed that semi-fin­ished dishes have been pop­u­lar for many years in Shang­hai, with well-known res­tau­rants also launch­ing such ser­vices this year. “The sales vol­ume of semi-fin­ished dishes is very likely to hit a record high around one month be­fore CNY,” Jin told Laodong Daily.

An em­ployee who works at a fa­mous Can­tonese restau­rant in Shang­hai said his restau­rant launched six semifin­ished meal sets this year; all the in­gre­di­ents needed for a restau­rant-stan­dard dish are in­cluded, which frees cus­tomers from hav­ing to search for the in­gre­di­ents in a mar­ket.

This story was trans­lated by Wang Han based on a re­port by Laodong Daily.

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