5 stars for Songjiang hotel's new meals plan

Yang Yang
A five-star hotel in Songjiang District has launched a takeaway service after the ongoing novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak dealt a heavy blow to the district's dining industry.
Yang Yang

A five-star hotel in Songjiang District has launched a takeaway service after the ongoing novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak dealt a heavy blow to the district’s dining industry.

Sofitel Shanghai Sheshan Oriental Resort in Sijing Town used to be a hot Chinese New Year’s Eve dinner site. However, from mid-January, it kept being asked for refunds as people canceled meals to avoid gatherings and the risk of catching the virus.

“The situation after the Spring Festival this year is the toughest since our hotel opened in 2009,” said Sun Lina, deputy director of Sofitel’s sales department.

Ingredients for New Year’s Eve dinners could be stored but the hotel still needed to pay staff salaries, rent, and water and electricity bills as usual.

Requests from a regular customer for takeaway and ready-to-cook dishes inspired the hotel, the only one in Songjiang to have a takeaway delivery license, to launch its takeaway service on WeChat.

To ensure safety, all the chefs and deliverymen are hotel employees. They commuted only from dorms to work and took their temperature before each entry or exit. Delivery boxes are used only once a day and disinfected after each delivery. Cards recording the names of the chef and who delivers each order are filed.

Since the service was launched, the hotel has about 10 orders a day, each at around 200 (US$28.5) to 300 yuan in value.

“By the end of 2019, Songjiang had about 10,800 catering companies, of which about 700 were large or medium-sized. By mid-February, less than 10 percent were in operation,” said Li Cong, president of the Songjiang Restaurant Association.

“The district market supervision administration is speeding up to issue favorable policies to help catering companies in the market downturn. We also encourage them to cooperate with online delivery platforms to help themselves,” said Li.

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