What did Yu Qingze think of?
He thought of Cantonese-style morning tea.
Steamed buns, dumplings, pan-fried dumplings, meat buns, taro buns, red bean buns, mantou, red bean rolls, glutinous rice chicken, glutinous rice balls, chicken feet, glutinous rice ribs, and some refreshing side dishes like cold marinated wood ear mushrooms, cold marinated seaweed, and jellyfish…
In addition, there would be Guangdong style hot pot, cold noodles, liangpi, a variety of congees, and a few stir-fried dishes. Well, let’s skip the noodles and not compete with Liu’s for business.
Then, a few desserts would be added as well.
There would be a wide variety of choices with different flavors. In the future, more desserts could be added or reduced as needed, such as lotus seed paste buns, crab roe buns, and so on. It would be absolutely perfect.
Various delicious desserts, paired with tea, adopting a semi-self-service format, would make full use of the shop space.
Customers would come in and choose their own meals. Once they made their selection, they could start eating without waiting for the dishes to be served. They would pay first and eat later, and once they finished, they could leave. For people in a hurry, it would save time. For those who were not in a hurry, they could sit and enjoy the delicious food slowly, which would be a kind of indulgence.
Moreover, this new business model might also attract people’s attention.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
And one more crucial point: the training for making dim sum is much easier compared to stir-frying dishes. Yu Qingze noticed that Brother Le seemed to learn dim sum much faster than stir-frying. During their usual breakfasts, Yu Qingze had already taught Brother Le many types of dim sum, and Brother Le could make them all.
In addition, Brother Chang and Jiabao had also learned three types of dim sum after their visit to Zhao Mansion. If it would be possible to have Brother Chang’s father and mother work at the small shop, it would be even better. However, only one of them might be able to come since there would still be work to be done in the fields.
The more he thought about it, the more feasible it seemed. Yu Qingze excitedly began planning the layout of the shop space.
First, on the right side of the entrance, a space of about three to four meters would be set up as the pick-up area. After the dim sum was steamed in the kitchen, they would be placed here. So, they would need to install two long stovetops with burners here. In the winter, they could use them to keep the food warm, so they would need to hire someone to build the stovetops. Well, the functionality of the stovetop area would need to be carefully planned.
Next, they would need to order customized tables and chairs and purchase kitchen utensils.
Then, there was the issue of settlement.
In the past, some of the morning tea shops used small round stamps to mark the corresponding prices on the guests’ bills, which made settlement very convenient.
Yu Qingze thought this format was great. However, paper was quite expensive here, so they could use small bamboo or wooden plaques instead. They would mark the prices on the plaques, and when customers picked up their meals, they would place the plaques in their trays. The settlement would be calculated based on the prices indicated on the wooden plaques, and then the plaques would be returned to the staff for reuse…
Oh, there were so many things to consider. Afraid of forgetting something, Yu Qingze locked the door, went to a snack stall to get the writing materials for Jiabao to keep the accounts, bought a small notebook, and then returned to the shop to start thinking and jotting down ideas.
From then on, except for the busiest hour during lunchtime at the snack stall, Yu Qingze helped out and spent the rest of his time in the shop, thinking about things.
In the afternoon, he thought of something else and hurriedly went to Zhao Mansion to ask Steward Zhao to inquire with the shop’s owner whether it would be possible to build a stove in the house.
Since their food was all steamed and wouldn’t produce smoke in the main hall, and considering the owner’s respect for Old Master Zhao’s reputation, it was approved.
Having obtained permission, Yu Qingze felt relieved.
In the evening, after dinner, he shared his ideas with Grandpa Chang and Brother Le, showing them the layout plan he had drawn for the shop. He explained his thoughts on how to arrange things, what to do here and there, and so on.
After finishing, Yu Qingze asked them, “Grandpa, Brother Le, what do you think?”
Grandpa Chang and the two brothers looked at him in shock.
The shop could be run like this? Without waiters taking orders, the customers would just go and pick up their own meals, and then they would settle the bill directly?
After they recovered from their shock, they carefully pondered it for a while and realized that if this format could really work, it would be very convenient. At least they wouldn’t have to personally take orders and serve the dishes!
Grandpa Chang thought for a moment and asked, “What if some customers take advantage of the chaos and start eating without paying?” He pointed to the dining area.
Yu Qingze pointed to the cash counter and said, “Grandpa, look, the entrance is almost facing the kitchen door. We can place the cash counter directly on the right side of the kitchen door. When they pick up their meals, they have to pass through here to reach the dining area. If someone hasn’t paid, the staff can remind them. With so many people around, the customers wouldn’t have the audacity to eat without paying. Even if someone does, our staff can be quick-witted and remind them.”
“Hmm, that works,” nodded Grandpa Chang, saying, “It’s quite innovative.”
Yu Qingze smiled and noticed that Brother Le had been staring at the blueprint. He asked, “Brother Le, do you have any concerns or questions?”
Brother Le looked up and gestured, saying, “Do we need to hire more staff? We’ll need someone here for meal pick-up, someone here for placing the wooden plaques, someone for handling the cash, and someone in the kitchen. Altogether, we would need at least five or six people.”
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Yu Qingze nodded with a smile and said, “Yes, we need to find at least four more people. They should be quick and agile, specifically responsible for greeting customers. Two for the meal pick-up area and placing the wooden plaques, two for clearing tables and washing dishes. Additionally, we’ll need two people in the kitchen, one for handling the cash, and the last one can be more flexible, helping out wherever it’s busy. When it comes to handling the cash, Jiabao and I can take turns.”
Grandpa Chang nodded and said, “This method works. However, we’ll have to teach the new hires how to read, at least recognize numbers.”
Yu Qingze agreed, saying, “Yes, numbers should be relatively easy to learn. And we can try to group the items with the same price together and place price labels in front of them. Then it will be easy to match them with the wooden plaques.”
Upon hearing this, both Grandpa Chang and Chang Le felt that it was feasible and didn’t have any major issues. They hadn’t run a shop before, let alone seen one operated like this, so they couldn’t think of any other problems. However, they trusted Yu Qingze’s decision. Whatever he said to do, they would cooperate.
Yu Qingze thought for a moment and continued, “Grandpa, I want to ask if Brother Chang’s mother would be willing to come to the kitchen and handle making the dim sum. I’m not sure if they will agree since they have a lot of household chores to take care of.”
“I’ll ask them tomorrow,” replied Grandpa Chang. He then asked, “What about the other three people? Should we continue hiring from the village or look for people in the city?”
Yu Qingze pondered and said, “We can still hire people from the village. Their main responsibility will be outside, which won’t be a problem. As long as they are obedient and follow the rules, and are quick and diligent, it should work. In the kitchen, we’ll have me and Brother Le. If Brother Chang’s mother is willing to come, we’ll include him. If he can’t make it or when it gets too busy, Brother Chang can help in the kitchen with the dim sum. That shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Alright. Should we look for younger men or older ones? Any other specific requirements?” Grandpa Chang asked.
Yu Qingze replied, “Both younger men and older ones are fine. In addition to what I mentioned earlier, it would be preferable if they are relatively young, between sixteen and thirty-five years old. However, we need to make it clear to them about the rules. If there are any fundamental issues, we can dismiss them at any time. We absolutely cannot tolerate someone like the previous employee from Liu’s place.”
Grandpa Chang nodded and said, “Alright, I’ll think about it and see if there are suitable candidates in the village.”
The group continued to discuss other matters. It was suggested that tomorrow, on the tenth day of the month, they should all go to the shop together and see it in person. It would be easier to understand with a practical demonstration.
The next day, the family arrived at Beida Street early in the morning. Inside the shop, Yu Qingze explained the layout once again, giving the three a more visual impression.
As they looked at it this way, the three became even more convinced that Yu Qingze’s approach was a good one. They all agreed to proceed with the shop as planned.
Without further ado, they divided the tasks and worked together.
Grandpa Chang took Chang Hao back to the village to recruit people. Chang Le followed Yu Qingze’s instructions and bought a stove, a regular pot, and a large pot used for cooking large quantities of rice.
Yu Qingze immediately went to find Boss Liu and asked if he knew a skilled mason who could build the stove. Boss Liu introduced him to a mason he had used when he opened his own shop.
Then, Yu Qingze, along with Chang Le and the mason, measured the length, width, and height of the long stove and determined the distances between each stove burner. They then went together to buy the necessary materials for building the stove and arranged to start the construction the next day.
After that, Yu Qingze and Chang Le had lunch at Liu’s place and then went to order custom-made tables and chairs.
They took reference from Liu’s restaurant, which had twenty-four tables for four people each. Apart from the area for food collection, they estimated that they could accommodate approximately ten tables for four people and four tables for ten people. They initially placed an order based on this quantity and planned to add more if necessary.
This time, they didn’t go to the village chief’s house for the furniture. The village chief and others were busy making rice beds, and they wouldn’t have been able to handle such a large number of tables and chairs. Additionally, they wanted slightly more upscale furniture that required painting, so they found a larger carpentry workshop in the city. The workshop already had some finished products, and they selected the style. The shop assured them that the order would be ready for delivery in seven days.
With the tables and chairs ordered, it was getting dark, and the two hurried back.
While halfway there, a heavy rainstorm began, forcing them to take shelter in a pavilion outside the city.
“The rain came down so suddenly.”
The torrential rain arrived swiftly, leaving both of them drenched.
Yu Qingze wiped his face and turned to Chang Le, asking, “Brother Le, are you okay?”
Chang Le shook his head and took out a handkerchief to wipe Yu Qingze’s face.
Yu Qingze took it from him but didn’t wipe his own face. Instead, he extended his hand to wipe Chang Le’s face, saying as he wiped, “Sigh, it’s all my fault. If I had paid more attention to the weather and returned home earlier, I wouldn’t have let you get wet.”
Chang Le shook his head. He had intended to take the handkerchief and wipe his own face, but Yu Qingze didn’t allow it. Chang Le had no choice but to tilt his head back slightly, squinting his eyes, allowing Yu Qingze to wipe the rainwater off his face, bit by bit.
After Yu Qingze finished wiping Chang Le’s face, Chang Le quickly grabbed the handkerchief and started wiping Yu Qingze’s face.
Yu Qingze smiled and cooperatively lowered his head, letting Chang Le wipe his face. He whispered teasingly to Chang Le, “Brother Le, look at us now, don’t we resemble an old married couple who have been together for many years?”
Chang Le’s face turned red as he heard that, and he gestured, saying, “Old married couple? We should be wiping our own faces!”
“Oh, you’re right! Then we’re an engaged couple in the midst of passionate love,” Yu Qingze chuckled and continued, “But when we become an old married couple, I’ll still be the one wiping your face.”
Blushing, Chang Le awkwardly gestured, “I… I’ll also wipe your face.”
Yu Qingze looked at him, pulled Chang Le’s waist with one hand, embracing him, and pressed his forehead against Chang Le’s, whispering softly, “Alright. When we grow old, we’ll still be a loving old married couple.”
With that, Yu Qingze kissed Chang Le’s forehead and held him tightly.
Hearing these words, Chang Le’s heart thumped heavily. He loved this statement, and in his mind, he could already envision two old men wiping each other’s faces affectionately.
He nodded gently and, seeing that there was no one around, he wrapped his arms around Yu Qingze’s waist, resting his face on Yu Qingze’s shoulder, gazing at the pouring rain outside the pavilion, quietly savoring the romantic tenderness and tranquil emotions of this moment.
The heavy rain lasted for about two quarters of an hour before turning into a drizzle.
The two of them found some branches by the roadside to partially shield their heads from the rain and hurried home.
In the following days, Chang Le focused on the snack stall while Yu Qingze stayed busy at the shop.
However, before their shop was ready to open, a piece of great news spread throughout the entire Tongshan City.
Thandar: Damn, that restaurant idea sounds amazing