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January 21, 2021

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‘Bear claw’ cafe to open 3 outlets

Three new outlets of Hinichijou, the famous “bear claw” cafe in Xuhui District that became an overnight sensation, are expected to open before the Chinese Lunar New Year.

One will open this weekend in Lujiazui in the Pudong New Area and will cover about 30 square meters.

More than 50 percent of the employees at the new outlet are disabled, according to Wang Haiqing, one of the cafe’s three founders.

Wang said that new products such as bird’s nest coffee will be served on site at the cafe and by delivery.

Hinichijou opened on December 3 — the annual International Day of People With Disabilities — last year and became an instant hit due to its innovative approach to serving coffee.

Located on Yongkang Road, customers scan a QR code hanging on the wall to place a coffee order. A takeaway cup is then delivered by a furry brown bear claw from a hole in the inconspicuous gray wall.

The paw shakes hands with customers, touches their heads and even presents red roses.

The cafe’s unique service mode has attracted an endless stream of customers, who tend to go click happy with their mobile phones as they pose for photos.

Three of the cafe’s baristas are hearing-impaired, one of whom has won prizes at coffee-making competitions.

Experts from the coffee branch of the Shanghai Technician Association have provided training for the baristas.

“The cafe provides more job opportunities for the disabled, and we provide professional training to help them grow quickly,” said Zhou Fang, secretary general of the coffee branch.

Wang said she and the other founders opened the cafe not only because of their common interest in coffee, but also to provide more employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Customers with disability certificates can get a special cup of coffee for free.

The Shanghai Disabled Persons’ Federation hosted a job fair earlier, and Xiao Nan, 25, was hired.

The Hubei Province native gave up his dream of becoming a barista due to hearing impairment when he came to Shanghai five years ago and became a customer service staffer of an online shop, “communicating” with others through the keyboard.

He will re-live his dream at the cafe.

However, the cafe had earlier drawn concerns over its hygiene and licensing.

Shanghai’s food safety regulations require businesses that serve food to show their business operation license and food safety information in a visible area.

The cafe, which failed to abide by these regulations due to its design, had been ordered by the Xuhui District Administration for Market Regulation to rectify the situation and make its licensing information clearly visible to customers.

The new branch in Pudong will abide by the local regulations, Wang said.


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