When the virus erupted in China, Chinese restaurants in the U.S. suffered as fearful customers stayed away. By early February, business was down more than 50% across New York City’s three main Chinatowns. But in China, fast-food restaurants kept hundreds of millions of people fed during the crisis. How did they do it, and how are U.S. Chinese restaurants preparing to meet surging take-out demand?
What long-term industry changes might linger for years to come? Can delivery services, and tech-forward innovation save struggling restaurants? How have the rise of anti-Chinese stereotypes and the spread of misinformation contributed to these challenges, and what can home-bound, Chinese-food loving Americans do to help?
Panwen Chen is the Global Head of Strategy at HungryPanda and is part of its global leadership team. His role involves defining and implementing global and market-level strategy with an aim to drive business growth. Before joining HungryPanda, Panwen was a Senior Manager at Ernst and Young’s London office leading a team of 15 people.
Jiayang Fan is a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine, where she writes about China and Chinese-American politics and culture. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, and the Paris Review, among other places. Ms. Fan was born in Chongqing, moving to the United States at the age of eight. She graduated from Williams College with a double major in philosophy and English literature. Her latest reporting about COVID-19 can be found online here: https://www.newyorker.com/contributors/jiayang-fan
Yong Zhao is the Co-Founder and CEO of Junzi Kitchen. Yong was born and raised in Liaoning, northeast of China. He received a Bachelor degree from Yuanpei School at Peking University, and then received a MESc and attended the doctoral program in environmental science at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. In 2014, Yong co-founded junzi kitchen and has been leading the team as CEO ever since. Being the mastermind and visionary of junzi kitchen, Yong Zhao is harnessing the tide of quick-service Chinese food with his quickly expanding restaurant concept and leading the omnichannel shift in eating with innovative solutions such as ghost kitchen. With locations in New Haven and Manhattan, the team most recently opened their fourth store near Bryant Park, New York, and the first delivery-only location at SoHo.
The Beyond COVID-19 series will present expert perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on the global order, the restaurant business, and the world economy.
Join us for a live virtual program with leading public intellectuals on COVID-19 and the shifting global order
Join us for a live online program about how Chinese restaurants are responding to the health crisis.
Join us for a live online program with top experts on U.S.-China efforts to boost the world economy.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department Of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.