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March 17, 2010

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Hyatt, Shanghai Daily set menu

HYATT on the Bund and Shanghai Daily this month will launch a charity initiative to support The Library Project.

From March until the end of the year, 10 percent of the proceeds from the Shanghai Daily set menu meals at the hotel's VUE Restaurant will be donated to the charity.

"There are many one-off charity events in Shanghai, but we wanted to do something locally based and long term," says Gottfried Bogensperger, general manager of the Hyatt on the Bund.

The Library Project is a China-based charity that spends small amounts of money to build libraries in disadvantaged schools across the country.

Typically one library costs between 5,000 yuan (US$732) and 8,000 yuan and includes donated books, chairs, desks and building shelves. The charity links corporate and individual sponsors in wealthy cities like Shanghai to nearby rural schools in places like Anhui Province.

It also sets up relationships between the sponsors and the schools so that they can visit and monitor the project's progress, plus help out at the school personally.

According to Bogensperger, The Library Project was chosen because it offers hands-on contact with the schools. A team of the hotel's staff is planning to visit the school in summer.

"People know there's more to life than the glitz and glamor of Shanghai. The good thing about this project is that you know exactly where the money is going and can monitor the school's progress," Bogensperger adds. "We want also to involve the community to donate a day of their time to go to the school and help paint the walls, or put up shelves, or read to the children."

Each month the menu will change (but the price and percentage donated will not). There are two menus: Four courses are priced at 480 yuan and the six-course menu at 680 yuan. Both are subject to 15-percent service charge.

This month's mains feature Australian beef tenderloin with porcini and goose liver crust, crispy parsnip and red wine jus. Two appetizers are available in the four-course menu: tomato stuffed with crab and avocado salad, and cold brandade (salted cold) soup. In the six-course menu appetizers include venison carpaccio, and wild mushroom ravioli with Champagne cream.

The charity initiative will also have a number of media sponsors. Shanghai Daily kicks off the project as the sponsor for March and April. Thereafter the hotel will reach different audiences with collaborations with Chinese media, and possibly chambers of commerce.

Shanghai Daily, as the only local English newspaper in Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta region, has been supporting various charity programs since the newspaper was launched on October 1, 1999. High-end hotels are major partners for the newspaper.

Last August, Shanghai Daily has partnered with Grand Hyatt Shanghai for a joint charity auction, raising a combined 470,000 yuan for better eye care for children in Yunnan Province and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region under the Orbis program.

The hotel earlier worked with The Library Project. Last November Hyatt on the Bund raised 28,000 yuan in one night with a fund-raising event for the charity. Last August it also tried out the charity set menu idea with the Miele Guide in support of the World Food Program. With good feedback from customers and good results for the charity, the hotel decided to try the format for a longer period and with a local charity.

So far they have sold on average eight sets every night. If all goes well the charity initiative may be repeated next year, or become a more permanent feature.

According to Meg Zhang, the hotel's marketing communications manager, the set menus are good for Chinese customers and corporate diners who do not necessarily want to spend a lot of time choosing from the a la carte menu.


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