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[Shenzhen] White-collar workers join dining groups
Latest Updated by 2006-12-06 09:18:58

WHERE to go and what to eat for lunch always seems to be a question bothering white-collar workers in Shenzhen. But for Wang Zheming and his colleagues at a high-tech company in the Shenzhen High-tech Industrial Park in Nanshan District, eating lunch is quite enjoyable and efficient as they make up a regular dining group and go Dutch every noon at a restaurant in preference to their canteen food or lunch boxes.


At noon, Wang and his 12 colleagues go to a nearby Hunan-style restaurant for lunch. When they arrive, the table is set and some of the pre-ordered dishes are already being served. They each pay 14 yuan (US$1.75) at the most for around 10 dishes.


In fact there are quite a few such dining groups at the high-tech industrial park. Wang said every lunchtime, canteens in the park are full of people lining up. Ordering takeouts also means nearly an hour's wait. They say that canteen food or takeouts are not always nutritious and rich in variety and if they go to restaurants on their own, the cost is too high.


China Human Resources conducted a Web-site survey earlier this year on white-collar workers' lunches in Shenzhen. Ninety percent of the people polled were dissatisfied with the lunch available at work, and 65 percent of the respondents racked their brains every day on where to have lunch.


"Many people have stomach problems as they are not able to have nutritious and regular lunches," said Connie Zhang, career consultant at China Human Resources.


As a countermeasure, many white-collar workers in office buildings get together as a dining group and make long-term agreements with nearby restaurants for discounts. Usually each member of the dining group pays 10 to 20 yuan for a table of various dishes. As regulars, they also don't have to wait long.


For efficiency, Wang's dining group has selected a CEO, responsible for calculating the number of diners and ordering dishes, and a CFO, managing expenditure. Any person not going to lunch needs to inform the CEO before 10:30 a.m., and the CEO will make orders based on a benchmark of no more than 14 yuan for each diner. The CFO pays the bill and informs the diners on how much they need to pay.


Should any one not join the lunch without notifying the CEO, he or she must pay the extra cost. And if the CEO orders dishes more expensive than the 14 yuan average, they pay the extra.


Philip Chen, owner of a private electronics company based in the high-tech industrial park, said dining together at noon also increases his company's cohesion. With 11 staff, Chen also joins his company's dining group from time to time.


The owner of Yuehaimen Restaurant in the park, surnamed Liu, said her restaurant receives around three dining groups every lunchtime with each group eating dishes to the value of between 80 and 120 yuan.


Editor: Wing

By:Sally Wang Source:Szdaily web edition
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