Profile: Russian foodie savors business success in China
HARBIN, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- Tatyana Chupina from Russia has three identities, Ph.D. graduate, owner of a restaurant, and vlogger. But she prefers to introduce herself as a food lover of local cuisine in northeast China.
Speaking fluent Chinese, the 32-year-old Russian from Krasnokamensk now runs a barbecue restaurant with her Chinese husband, Zhu Yutong, in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province.
Chupina's customers, most of whom have become regulars, are attracted to the restaurant not only for the tasty food but also the very cordial reception.
Chupina said she feels fulfilled with the business which has always kept her and her husband engaged, and her bond with China has grown exponentially over the decade.
She first came to China in 2000 and visited Manzhouli, a city that borders Russia in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The bustling shopping malls and exotic food there have often drawn her back over the years.
Twelve years later, she decided to pursue her doctoral degree at Harbin Normal University. During her study years in China, she visited a number of cities across the country. After graduation, she met Zhu and they got married in 2018.
At first, Chupina helped out with her husband's restaurant when business became particularly busy on special occasions.
During the 2018 World Cup, she wore traditional Russian dress to receive diners, who kindly nicknamed her the "Russian Hostess."
After years of running their dining business, Chupina said both she and her husband had a sense of the changing demands of customers, and they are propelled to constantly innovate their menu and ways of serving and marketing, to ensure that they stand out.
They have also benefited from the convenient transport network that facilitates goods delivery, the vigorous domestic consumption demand, and online shopping services.
In July 2020, the couple opened their second restaurant in Harbin. To further advertise their business hampered by the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, Chupina began to make short videos on social media platforms, where she shared her experience of making grilled food.
"More local people are attracted to our restaurants after watching the videos, and we saw a spike in takeaway orders thanks to the efficient delivery systems," Zhu said.
The couple also enhanced the training of staff, launched new dishes, and offered discounts during the epidemic.
"China's flourishing internet industry gives an equal shot to anyone as long as they are hardworking," Chupina said.