Restaurant Guide Chinese tourists

Good Advice for Restaurants

If you are receiving Chinese travelers, you have probably noticed that they do things differently and have other expectations of their experience than Scandinavian guests. To help Scandinavian restaurants improve their service to the Chinese, we have compiled a list of useful tips and tricks that we hope will help you get ready to receive Chinese guests.

Offer complimentary hot water or tea. The older generation believes that cold water is bad for health, and that the body should not waste precious energy to heat the water that you drink.  

Many Chinese also prefer warm drinks other than tea and water. Warm orange juice or a warm beer is not uncommon to drink in China. Ask whether they would like chilled or (luke) warm drinks. 

If you are experiencing problems when communicating with your Chinese guests there are APPs that can help you out. Go to our page App Suggestions for more details.

Be especially attentive to older and younger generations. Do they need a children’s chair? A pillow for an older family member? 
Welcome your Chinese guests with signage in their own language. Download free signs in Chinese from our Signage Bank
When serving tea to Chinese, be aware that many Western black teas are too strong for most Chinese palates. Chamomile tea is recommended as a local replacement if you can’t find Chinese green tea. Chamomile is a specialty of Northern Europe (which is a good story in itself) and quite bland compared to Western black teas. 
Provide informational material and presentations in Chinese and help sell your city (and another cup of tea). Contact Dan Schou on for free copies of the Chinese Copenhagen city map. Read more here: Copenhagen City Map
Try to identify the natural leader of the group of guests and if possible, take all orders through this person. The leader will most likely be a man. This rule applies regardless if it is a group of family members or a tour group. 
Serve with both hands when possible. Handling dishes, bowls etc. with two hands is a sign of respect. 
Be careful when adding salt to the dishes. In Scandinavia, we eat fairly salty food, but most Chinese prefer it less salty. 
Photo: Philip Wenzel Kyhl
If the Chinese drink alcohol for their dinner, they only do so while eating. Once finished eating, the drinking stops as well. 
The Chinese prefer to taste many different things during a meal. If dishes are to be shared among them, suggest dishes with different types of meat and vegetables for a greater variety. 
The Chinese love taking pictures of beautiful food. Make sure your dishes look great and ready to be photographed, and the pictures will most likely be shared on social media.  
Urge your Chinese guests to share their culinary experience with their friends online, perhaps in exchange for a free cup of coffee/tea or another incentive. 
Provide them with small plates. The Chinese love to share their food – even when eating Western food. Give them the chance to share by putting the dishes in the middle and provide each guest with smaller, individual plates. 
In Scandinavia, we are quite particular about the order in which we serve the dishes. This order, however, does not make much sense to the Chinese. The Chinese don’t mind beginning the meal with a piece of cake followed by cured salmon. You can choose to adapt to their way of eating, or tell them a story about why we do as we do. For many individual travelers, authentic experiences is an important part of traveling, and your story and time will be much appreciated. 
Many Chinese are lactose intolerant, hence, sauces heavy on cream or other dairy products are best to be avoided. 
A few extra tips for handling groups:
Let all contact with the tour group go through the tour leader, if you are receiving a tour group. Let him/her know where the toilets are. 
When receiving tour groups, accept that they are busy and eat fast. They have a tight schedule to follow, so prepare as much as possible before they arrive, so they can get the most out of their holiday. 
If hierarchy within the group is obvious, try to serve in order of importance. According to Confucian thought, men comes before women and old before young.

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