Portuguese food big in China
Popular restaurant better than ever
Getting back on track fast after closing for two months. St. Louis Portuguese Restaurant in Xi`an, Shanxi province, serves Western food. Read the article to find out how the service and reception manager experienced the time of the shut down and how he and his team managed their successful comeback.
Taking it slowly throughout lockdown
Standstill for two months in a place where usually Portuguese Style Roasted Sausage, French Style Baked Snails, Portuguese Style Baked Chicken, Australia Wagyu Sirloin Steak are served. From February to March 2020 the St. Louis Portuguese Restaurant in Xi`an, Shanxi province, was closed due to Government instruction because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restaurant with a 20-year-old history in town is specialised in Western cuisine with a focus on Portuguese food. During this two months period the ovens remained switched off, more than 90 seats remained empty and staff stayed at home.
No food sold, no turnover made. Despite the difficult situation, Mr. Kevin (Liu Xiao Liang 刘小亮), service and reception manager at St. Louis Portuguese Restaurant remained positive. Chinese people have a habit of saving up money. Therefore, he could actually lean back and enjoy the forced break quite carefree at home together with his family. Every two weeks one of their staff went to the restaurant to check the equipment. Is the electricity still working? Are the taps still functioning? Is the dishwasher ok? Just to make sure that everything is in good condition.
Getting processes and equipment into place at restart
In April, the catering industry began to resume business. At St. Louis strict regulations to assure the most possible hygienic handling of food and dishes are put into place. Daily disinfections of surfaces and equipment are carried out before the customers arrive at the restaurant. Once they are there they are checked for health issues. Customers’ temperatures are taken and their health status is checked by a "health code". The code shows the user’s state of health: green code signals the customer is healthy and allowed to enter the premises. Access is denied when the yellow code appears because it means there is a risk with this customer and the red code means high risk of contamination.
Hygiene and Cleanliness are high on peoples’ agenda when visiting food establishments these days. How does St. Louis demonstrate that the required hygiene measure are taken and in place? First, all food materials must be guaranteed quality and safety. Second, dishes are cleaned with a Meiko dishwasher since it guarantees the highest level of cleanliness. On top Meiko dishwashers have been proven to clean dishes coronavirus free. A poster pasted on the wall next to the entrance of restaurant informs the customers about this fact giving them a good feeling of the premises.
“Our dishes are cleaned with a Meiko dishwasher since it guarantees the highest level of cleanliness."
Mr. Liu, St. Louis Portuguese Restaurant in Xi`an, China
Returning better than ever before
In its 20-year-old history the restaurant has never gone through such a difficult time. During lockdown, the demand of food delivery was high. But St. Louis Portuguese Restaurant did not provide a delivery service because they want to guarantee the best quality food possible. They find it is best to serve their European dishes freshly prepared on a proper plate on a nicely laid table in their own restaurant. After missing turnover St. Louis staff still look positively into the future. Many of their regular customers return to the restaurant. Even though they were completely closed they were not forgotten – and are even more appreciated than ever.
If there is a learning to make during this pandemic then it surely that, there is a time for everything: A time to take it slowly, a time to improve and a time to return better than ever before. So welcome back at St. Louis Portuguese Restaurant and “Bom apetite“!