Hema Fresh Taps Into Idle Restaurant Staff Pool to Deal With Delivery Peak

Dou Shicong

(Yicai Global) Feb. 4 — Alibaba Group Holding’s online supermarket Hema Fresh has temporarily hired some staff of restaurants that are closed during the coronavirus epidemic to cope with a surge in food delivery demand.

Hema Fresh has reached out to two restaurant chains, Mystic South-Yunnan Ethnic Cuisine and Youth Restaurant, to employ more than 400 staff in total in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Xi’an, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Kunming, the Beijing Business Today reported today. It is in talks with more eateries.

The coronavirus outbreak has temporarily shut down many Chinese mainland restaurants and stores with companies encouraging their employees to work from home. Online delivery has become popular as many residents try to stay indoors to avoid contracting the virus.

After the Spring Festival holiday, those who return to their cities of work need to stay at home for 14 days to make sure that they have not caught the virus while food stores need more people to fulfill an increasing number of orders, which results in a labor force shortage, a supermarket employee told the same news source.

Hema Fresh will interview and train the potential new hires, and have them go through medical checkups, the report added.

Editor: Emmi Laine