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Fine dining goes social: This Shanghainese eatery reaches out to more diners with help of technology

Working with technology firm SpoonX, Yan’s Dining was able to not just weather the business slump at the height of Covid-19 restrictions, but also pivot to providing cultural events

Back then, Covid-19 restrictions served as a challenge for Yan’s Dining when dining in was suspended. PHOTO: YAN’S DINING

At the height of Covid-19 restrictions in April 2020, TV presenter-turned-restaurateur Ms Wang Yan Qing faced a daunting challenge: How to keep her year-old business afloat when dining in was disallowed.

At that time, Singapore had just entered the circuit breaker period. Among other lockdown rules, dining in eateries was suspended with only takeaways allowed. Her 100-seater establishment, Yan’s Dining at Mandarin Gallery, specialised in fine Shanghainese cuisine.

“Fine Shanghainese food is meant for dining in, not taken away in boxes and eaten at home,” Ms Wang said ruefully. She needed to find a way to support the restaurant’s revenue and maintain its upscale image while managing costs.

During this difficult time, a friend recommended working with SpoonX, a technology company specialising in business solutions for the F&B industry. Through their discussion and analysis, Ms Wang identified potential customer bases and a marketing strategy to reach these new customers.

“In China, it is very common to use social media to find and recommend restaurants with good food,” Ms Wang said. Tapping on these networks, SpoonX helped Yan’s Dining to create a high-quality, high-frequency social media campaign featuring the restaurant’s dishes. The campaign was successful, drawing in diners from social networks from TikTok, Ins, Youtube, Douyin (抖音),Xiaohongshu (小红书), Dianping.com (大众点评) and WeChat (微信).

Yan’s Dining also curated a special takeaway menu. Combined with the social media campaign created by SpoonX’s in-house video production team, Yan’s Dining was able to weather the business slump.

“The SpoonX team is brave and intelligent to find business solutions for my restaurant in such difficult times,” shared Ms Wang. She was also impressed by how efficient and agile the SpoonX team is.

“We would have a meeting on Monday about how to promote our dishes, take photographs, write a story, go through editing, and by Friday we would publish the material,” she added.

SpoonX’s expertise goes beyond creating social media content. By analysing platform data, SpoonX optimises digital outreach with measurable performance in impressions and online reviews. SpoonX can then help businesses convert online traffic into sales by directing visitors to a landing page to make reservations or order deliveries.

SpoonX also worked with several influencers to promote the mooncakes from Yan’s Dining for the Mid-Autumn Festival. PHOTO: @WHATISDIETING, INSTAGRAM

A vision to make entrepreneurship effortless

Beyond social media marketing, SpoonX offers many other technology solutions to business challenges. Operating on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, SpoonX focuses on using automation to optimise business functions for owners.

Its all-in-one software suite includes functions such as flexi-work recruitment, employee scheduling, Time and Attendance (TNA), inventory management, Point of Sale (POS), customer relationship management (CRM), online reviews management, bookkeeping and internal auditing. Business owners can pick and choose aspects of their business they would like to automate and improve with software.

SpoonX can also provide comprehensive data analysis of business functions such as sales and online presence. This analysis can aid managers to discover areas of potential growth and cost savings, who can then reformulate their business decisions backed by empirical data. SpoonX’s cloud-based, mobile-access software means information can flow between the main office, suppliers and branches, allowing small and medium businesses to scale up their operations.

Looking forward to a closer partnership and a brighter future

Two years on, Yan’s Dining has grown from strength to strength. Ms Wang’s efforts to reach out to more customers have paid off. With the restaurant’s expanded online presence and brand awareness, she was able to focus on creating an elevated experience for her diners. 

“Now, we have expanded into hosting cultural and corporate events,” said Ms Wang, including a literary-themed tea session celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birthday of acclaimed novelist Eileen Chang (张爱玲), and a New Year banquet inspired by iconic singer Zhou Xuan (周璇). Ms Wang is also planning concerts and talks to further grow her business. 

Ms Wang remains grateful to her partnership with SpoonX which helped her tide Yan’s Dining over the difficult pandemic restrictions. “SpoonX can help businesses willing to use technology to grow. With their help, I believe you can go to another level, and that the future will be brighter.”

“Although technology can help us a lot, it’s not easy to use technology well to improve the business. But I believe SpoonX has the experience and expertise. I look forward to working with them in the future.”

Find out more information on how SpoonX can help your business here.

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