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Faces of Chongqing: Ma Xiao, An Owner of Online Sensation Noodle Restaurant

By SHIHAN YANGXINGCHEN YUEICHONGQING|Nov 30,2021

Chongqing- Chongqing Xiaomian (noodles) are the soul of breakfast for Chongqing people. According to statistics, there will be a noodle restaurant in Chongqing for every 10,000 square meters, with a total annual output of nearly 40 billion yuan.  The popularity brings a wide market but also fierce competition. In this condition, how could a noodle restaurant distinguish itself and fight its way out of the market competition? This episode of “Faces of Chongqing” follows Ma Xiao, who has grown up from noodle gourmet to a noodle restaurant owner, to witness how he uses different thinking to make the noodle shop out of a new pattern.

Ma Xiao runs a Chongqing noodle restaurant in partnership with a friend. The restaurant is currently on the rise, and Ma Xiao’s life is very tight. His restaurant is located in Yuanzhu Paradise Walk of Jiangbei District, which has about 70 square meters and can accommodate 30 people simultaneously. The recipe of the noodle he sells is figured out by himself. In front of the camera, he showed us how to make a delicious bowl of beef noodles. He cut the beef into 7-centimeter diameter cubes and simmered it for 50 minutes, then took its original juice to make soup, thus adding delicate flavor to the noodles. “Three taels of meat and two taels of noodles will make you feel happy and satisfied,” Ma Xiao said with a smile.

The full portion of beef is certainly satisfying to diners but also adds a third to the cost. However, when Ma Xiao was thinking about making his noodle restaurant different and attractive, he didn’t consider the cost but only tried to catch the diners’ tongues. Only later did he realize that the slightest change in the cost would be a big challenge for his noodle restaurant. Unwilling to reduce the quality of his noodles, Ma Xiao has had to redouble his efforts elsewhere. 

“Now, we regularly do online operations. We shoot some short videos and put them online, and it brings a lot of customers to the restaurant.” He explained to us, “Once a diner nearby watched our video on Douyin, and 3 minutes later he was in the restaurant to eat. This efficiency of the Internet is very friendly to our small-business owners.”

At 14:00 this day, Ma Xiao finished lunch and started restocking and counting. At present, including labor costs and rent, the restaurant’s monthly expenses are less than 40,000 RMB. If 500 noodles are sold a day, a month’s income will be very significant. He is happy with his current status and is full of aspirations for a better life in the future.

(Yang Chao, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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