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July 17, 2010

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Organizer to help pricey restaurants avoid debt

DESPITE an increasing number of visitors to the Expo site, about 20 restaurants at the site are suffering and some are near bankruptcy because of their unfavorable location or too high prices, a senior Expo organizer said yesterday.

Many of the restaurants losing money are at the second underground level of the Expo Boulevard, the level mainly for security guards and volunteers to have meals and rest.

The others are at the Puxi Expo site, especially those on higher floors, said Lin Shengyong, director of the site's commercial administration and service department. Businesses of some restaurants at a section of Guozhan Road in the Pudong Expo site, where buses don't reach, were also affected.

The organizer is to support these restaurants by, for example, waiving rent for a month, or allowing them to sell box meals which were more popular with the huge amount of visitors entering the site, Lin said.

Restaurants can begin offering box meals on mobile carts when attendances exceed 550,000.

Some restaurants would also be allowed to serve visitors in open-air areas at night, but they must cook indoors to ensure food safety.

Some upper-scale restaurants which initially set minimum expenditures for visitors also had poor businesses.

Many planned to begin selling low-price set meals, he said.

The organizer would help the restaurants make profits while controlling food prices at the site, he said.

The average price would be 40 yuan to 43 yuan for each meal on the site.

Many souvenir stores were also complaining that they could attract few customers because of bad locations.

Cao Guosheng, deputy director of the site's biggest jewelry stores on the underground level of the Expo Boulevard said they sold only three gold Haibao souvenirs in a month since the Expo opening because few visitors were coming to the area.

Fast-food restaurants, such as KFC, on the ground level of the boulevard which saw a large flow of visitors, became the biggest winners at the site.

KFC's set meals, costing around 35 yuan, were the most popular among visitors.

The organizer is also to require these restaurants not to increase food supplies to avoid putting too much pressure on their chefs and staff that might affect the quality of food, Lin said.

About 10 percent of staff at popular restaurants are said to have quit because they had found their work too hard.


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