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Peking University's new canteen: Not just for dining

NOV . 28 2020
Peking University, November 27, 2020: Have you ever wandered by the massive building located near Student Canteen No.1 and wondered what it will be? The answer is —— a new canteen! After four years of preparation, "Jiayuan" dining center's construction is wrapping up, waiting for its opening on the last day of November.

Seeing how hints and rumors involving the new canteen have been wildly spreading in the PKU Tree Hole(树洞) BBS recently, we prepared a bundle of questions to the canteen interview. When being asked one of our key questions "What's special about the Jiayuan Canteen", the center manager said: "It's not only a dining place…We hope to provide a multifunctional area for teachers and students to chat, chill, and work."
His answer wasn't idle. Every area in the new Jiayuan Canteen was carefully planned and settled for the sake of PKU fellows' convenience indeed. The first and second floor of the building aims to provide typical meals for students to come by and grab some food easily during busy school life. Things are slightly different on the third and fourth floor: hot pots and barbeques are provided; A book bar and drink booth are settled; dining booths and plants can be seen everywhere… The opening hours of these two floors also extends from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, making them the best place for group dining and enjoying life.

The Jiayuan Canteen has also incorporated high tech elements into its daily operations, with an aim to improve the dining experience of diners and to help increase the work productivity of canteen staff. For instance, diners may proceed directly to the self-payment kiosk with their food, where the machine would identify their order and request for payment accordingly. Such high-tech recognition helps to minimize the possibility of making the wrong payment and at the same time, speeds up the payment process. The kiosk also supports cashless payment, where diners may simply make payment via the campus mobile application. In addition, diners can look forward to ordering from the automated food machines that provide a wide selection of cuisines.

If you take a closer look at the canteen, you would notice some automated cleaning equipment following the canteen staff around. These high-tech devices help to increase the efficiency of the cleaning staff and maintain a high level of cleanliness in the canteen. Robots have also been deployed at different levels of the building. More specifically, the two robots situated at the first level help diners navigate their way within the building, while the three robots each at the third and fourth level are in charge of delivering beverages. Diners may scan the QR code on their table to order their drinks, which would be promptly served by the delivery robots. The same could also be found at the hotpot area on the fourth level.

Furthermore, the canteen carries a wide variety of both local and international flavors, providing diners a "taste of home". Traditional flavors from the Yiyuan Dining Hall (艺园) , the popular eight cuisines at the Original Jiayuan Dining Hall (旧家园食堂) and the Chinese delicacies from Student Canteen No.1 (学五食堂) can be found right at the Jiayuan Canteen. Chefs from each region have been hired to cook the delicacies of their hometown, thus ensuring that diners can enjoy the real tastes of their homes.

International flavors such as Japanese, Korean and Western are not to be missed as well. The canteen had purposefully made an open tender to hire corporations proficient in Japanese and Korean delicacies. As for Western food, we even have chefs hailing from Hong Kong as food consultants for this particular kind of cuisine.

The canteen has also made efforts to provide healthier food options by using lesser oil and salt. At the vegetarian section, diners can look forward to taste mouth-watering delicacies made of vegetarian ingredients, such as the well-liked Kung Pao Chicken that is made from tofu. As an effort to prevent food wastage, the canteen further provides smaller portions of food items, down from 300grams to 200grams.

Written by: Wang Yilin, Rachel
Edited by: Amanda Hu
GIF: Xu Haolun