--- SEARCH ---
Chinese Women
Film in China
War on Poverty
Learning Chinese
Learn to Cook Chinese Dishes
Exchange Rates
Hotel Service
China Calendar
Telephone and
Postal Codes

Hot Links
China Development Gateway
Chinese Embassies
Restaurants Cashing In on Festival Reunions

While most companies are preparing to put up their shutters on January 28 for Lunar New Year's Eve, the restaurant industry is gearing up for an increasingly busy period.


For the past five years, more and more people have opted out of exhausting dinner preparations at home in favor of eating out.


It has been reported that some restaurants began taking bookings for the occasion as early as October last year.


But diners are being warned to be cautious.


Because of the growing demand, some restaurants have begun serving two separate sets of feast in the same evening.


Experts within the industry, however, warn that the two mealtime shifts can exhaust both the chefs and waiting staff, and also spoil the happy and relaxed atmosphere customers expect for the occasion.


"It is just a new market, and the regulations are not so mature. A system needs to be put in place to guarantee the rights of the customers through various methods," said Wu Zebin, a researcher with the Sociology Department of Peking University.


According to statistics from Shanghai Customers' Association, 38 percent of complaint calls to its hotlines during the 2004 Spring Festival holiday were about unsatisfactory festival meals.


High charges and poor service were the two main complaints, according to staff.


With eight considered the luckiest number by the Chinese, restaurants offer various menus which are priced at 888 yuan (US$111), 1,288 yuan (US$161) and 1,688 (US$211), among others, which are all considered higher than the normal price.


Some experts doubt whether the higher prices are always reflected in better service and food than usual.


The Price Bureau of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province has recently put forward regulations to try to tackle problems.


It wants restaurants to write clearly the sorts of ingredients used in a festival dish, their weight and their price, and provide the customers a breakdown of their costs after the dinner.


A 198,000 yuan (US$24,780) festival banquet was advertised last week by Lao Zheng Xing, a hotel which serves Hong Kong cuisine in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province.


Although the manager explained the price reflected the standard of ingredients being flown in from across the world, many people are stunned that the banquet costs 10 times the annual income of an ordinary city dweller.


A survey in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province, showed that the majority people only wanted to spend 1,000 yuan (US$125) for a reunion feast for their family.


Many restaurants in the city said all of their tables were reserved by the end of 2005.


Some residents in other parts of the country have decided to enjoy the best of both worlds by hiring a cook to come in to their home for the evening.


"All we need to do is buy the materials for the meal, then the cook will come and cook all the delicious dishes for us," said Cai, a resident in Shenyang.


He said he booked a festival feast in a restaurant last year, but found the dishes served were not as good as those advertised.


(China Daily January 18, 2006)

Guangzhou Citizens Spend Most on Dining
Another Exorbitant Spring Festival Dinner
Beijing Restaurants Sell out Seats for Festival Feast
Restaurant Spending Increases Among Shanghainese
Eating Out: Delicious Dining, Dating, Debating
Print This Page
Email This Page
About Us SiteMap Feedback
Copyright © China Internet Information Center. All Rights Reserved
E-mail: webmaster@china.org.cn Tel: 86-10-88828000