A chef from Shanghai Classical Hotel's restaurant presents takeaway lunch, a service the century-old restaurant has adopted for the first time to mitigate losses resulting from the ban on dine-in service during the COVID-19 outbreak.[Photo provided to China Daily]
With the novel coronavirus outbreak coming under control in Shanghai, more and more restaurants have been reopening to the public, albeit with some changes.
Since resuming its dine-in service on March 9, Nanxiang Mantou, a restaurant famous for its steamed meat-stuffed buns, has capped its customer limit at 70 percent of usual capacity and reconfigured its dining hall so that there is now more space between tables.
Before the resumption of its dine-in service, the restaurant only made buns for delivery. According to head chef You Yuming, the restaurant has been delivering an average of 500 boxes of xiaolongbao (steamed meat buns) every day for the past weeks.
"The business in the first week since we reopened has been pretty good," You says.
Before coming into the restaurant, customers are requested to show their "health-status code", a QR code with three color classifications-green, yellow and red. The code one gets is determined by his or her travel history and health-declaration details.
Having a green code means that one is very unlikely to be infected, while yellow and red mean higher risks of infection. Customers with yellow and red codes will be denied entry to the restaurant.
Customers also need to undergo temperature checks and fill in their contact information in case the health authorities need to conduct epidemiological investigations.
Customers shop at Nanxiang Mantou, a restaurant famous for its steamed meat-stuffed buns, in Shanghai.[Photo provided to China Daily]
In a guideline issued by the Shanghai Restaurants and Cuisine Association on March 10, all restaurants in the city are required to provide serving chopsticks and spoons at each table, as well as hand sanitizer for customers. Restaurant workers are also required to wear masks and register their temperatures in the morning and afternoon every day.
Following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, many restaurants in the city had to offer delivery options for the first time to mitigate the loss in sales due to the ban on dine-in services.
Zhu Songtao, head chef of Shanghai Classical Hotel, says that he was first inspired to offer takeaway when a customer who had canceled his reservation asked if they offered delivery options.
After discussing with the hotel's executives, Zhu got the green light to do so. On Jan 27, the restaurant debuted its delivery menu for the first time in its 145-year history. Most of its customers then were residents from the same neighborhood, but as word of the restaurant's offerings spread, companies that resumed work on Feb 10 started making group orders.
The restaurant's lunch offering comprises three of its signature dishes plus rice and soup. Priced from 26 to 38 yuan ($3.70-5.40), the restaurant sold an average of 600 lunch boxes per day, says Zhu.
Seeing how more citizens now prefer to takeout instead of dine-in, many restaurants and stores in Shanghai have introduced a new element to areas where customers line up.
In front of the Guang Ming Cun restaurant on Huaihai Road, one can find yellow lines on the ground located a meter apart from one another, a measure taken to prevent customers from getting into close contact with others.