Located at Xixi Paradise Shopping Street, the Spanish restaurant La Pedrera that opened less than two weeks ago has always been full of guests. The largest shareholder in the restaurant is a Chinese descendant in Spain. Like La Pedrera, more and more foreign restaurants have chosen to open stores in the city.
The most expensive foreign restaurant in the city must be Mulinaccio, which boasts its French windows along with high-end service and food quality. French Chinese Wu Jing is the manager of the restaurant. Regarding the restaurant’s investment in the city, Wu noted that her grandma was born in Wenzhou and she majored in hotel management, and the reason to pick Hangzhou rather than Shanghai or Guangzhou is because of the West Lake, “I did a very comprehensive research and found Hangzhou has a very significant market potential.” The Italian brand and pure Italian cuisine were therefore brought to China and Hangzhou people. Before she came to China in 2010, Wu could not speak Chinese although she has a Chinese face.
Wu signed a ten-year lease with Hubin Intime Department Store, “local people may know little about Italian foods except for pizza and spaghetti, and many people used to be afraid of dining here because it is located in a luxury shopping mall.” However, the number of diners has increased since early this year and some Hangzhou people even held their wedding and one-month-old banquets for their babies.
“Although many guests that attend the one-month-old banquets are elder people, they have really appreciated the authentic Western foods,” Wu noted. The restaurant has recently released a new menu with adjusted food prices and combination.
In order to diversify its business, Mulinaccio has also started to undertake enterprise banquets, film premieres and private parties. 30% of its total turnover currently derives from group dining. The steadily growing customer flow and sales have convinced Wu that Hangzhou is the right choice.
Overseas Chinese Mr. Yin is engaged in catering industry in Barcelona, Spain. Two years ago, he opened La Pedrera on Baishaquan Road, the first Spanish restaurant in the city, and later he opened the second store under the name of La Pedrera at the Bund, Shanghai. La Pedrera Tapas Bar at Xixi Paradise Shopping Street is the second brand he operates. All of the olive oil, ham, cheese and sausages are imported from Spain.
The first Portuguese restaurant in Hangzhou opened at the end of last year is also owned by overseas Chinese. One of the partners of the brand Ms. Xia said, “Mr. Wu, another partner of the restaurant, has lived in Portugal for decades.” The first migrants to foreign countries all lived tough lives, and it is much better to make an investment in China than make a living on some small business abroad. “Wu has brought two chefs from Portugal and the taste of Portuguese cuisine is similar to local foods here,” Xia noted.
It is becoming difficult for Western restaurants in the city to appeal the diners if their owners do not have any overseas background. Chez Marie coffee house is owned by a French man who married a Chinese woman, an elegant lady living in Japan for years.
These foreign Chinese have a better understanding of foods from different cultures. They know Western foods better than local chefs that cook Western foods, and they know Chinese people’s appetite than foreign chefs working in five-star hotels in China. The foods prepared by them feature attractive appearance, high-quality materials and reasonable prices.
Compared to the average spending of CNY 200 per capita at its Bund store in Shanghai, La Pedrera’s restaurant at Xixi Paradise costs less than CNY 100. Tapas means snack in English and the Portuguese restaurant also costs less than CNY 100 per person.
Source: Hangzhou Government