Secrets behind the “Internet-famous” community canteens
CHONGQING (CQNEWS) -- When it comes to canteens, you may first think about affordable and clean meals. The community canteens offer an easy option to the residents living nearby. Recently, community canteens in several cities have become the most-searched topic on Weibo, which reveals people’s focus on dining.
The community canteen originated from the community service center for the elderly. It has emerged as an increasing number of young people complain of the expensive and unpalatable take-out.
Secret 1: Delicious and affordable meals
At noon, the community canteen in Qiaobei, Jiangbei, Chongqing was crowded with people. Several ladies told the reporter that they didn’t know it was a community canteen, and they just found it served delicious beef noodles.
Besides the best-selling beef noodles, there is a great variety of food available in the canteen which caters to every taste, such as hand-made buns, steamed brown sugar buns, rolls, small bowls of vegetables, set meals, small hot pot, Xiaomian noodles, and lemon tea. Therefore, the community canteen is favored by both young people and the elderly.
A price list is posted on the wall of the canteen: steamed buns are available for two yuan each (rate for member: one yuan, rate for the elderly: one yuan); Xiaomian noodles are available for seven yuan each (rate for member: five yuan, rate for the elderly population: three yuan); the rice with tofu pudding is available for seven yuan each (rate for member: five yuan, rate for the elderly: three yuan, rate on Sunday: three yuan)…
Residents living nearby can enjoy the membership rates which are less than half of the average market price after registering for a membership with the community canteen. The elderly member can enjoy much lower prices! The canteen can save at least five to six thousand yuan for elderly people annually. The reporter found that many elderly people packed plenty of food and took it home after having a meal in the community canteen.
Secret 2: Market-oriented and sustainable development
Community canteens are run on a non-profit basis. With a few profits, how do they maintain operation and sustainable development?
For the central kitchen of the Shimahe Senior Service Center in Jiangbei District, the key to sustainable development is the large food order quantity.
We deliver meals to an average of 500 elderly people a day, and the largest number reaches 800 sometimes, said Ding Song, the head of the Shimahe Senior Service Center.
The registered member can order meals online. There are various set menus with balanced portions of vegetable and meat dishes at 6 yuan, 8 yuan, and 10 yuan. Due to the high quality and affordable prices of food, and quick and easy deliveries, the central kitchen of the Shimahe Senior Service Center is popular among the elderly population in Jiangbei District.
The more raw materials purchased, the lower the cost. The central kitchen can get lower prices from the raw material suppliers and further lower the delivery costs by cooperating with volunteers. That is why they can offer a price 30% lower than the average market price.
The sustainable development of a community canteen cannot rely on governmental support only. The market-oriented, professional operation is the key to striking a balance between public benefits and profitability.
Secret 3: Features go beyond your imagination
The various features of the community canteen also make it popular with customers.
Minzhu Village in Jiulongpo District has been updated with a community canteen. With a trendy design, the canteen serves a profusion of dishes. Shortly, a library and the “Class at 16:30” program will be launched in the canteen. The “Class at 16:30” aims to offer custodian services for primary school and kindergarten students who leave school early. Public lectures and small exhibitions will also be available in the canteen to enrich the daily life of residents.
The Qiaobei community canteen has innovatively launched the "Community Canteen + Party Construction", "Community Canteen + Grid", "Community Canteen + People in Need", "Community Canteen + School", "Community Canteen + Employment", "Community Canteen + Civilization Practice in the New Era", and other programs.
Chongqing Civil Affairs Bureau is carrying out an activity to promote the development of community canteens for the elderly population.
By the end of August, all districts and counties in Chongqing will, based on the local conditions, build at least one community canteen for the elderly population through reconstruction or expansion.
Between September and December, Chongqing will promote the construction of canteens for the elderly population in all respects, achieve diversification of service scenarios, standardization of service processes, and digitalization of service modes, and ensure high-quality service. At the same time, Chongqing will improve the catering services in rural and suburban areas, effectively consolidate education results, and expand the beneficiary scope of catering services. (Translated by Yuki, Fathom Language Limited)