Chinese doctors who studied at elite universities open restaurant to top up modest incomes

Duo who set up healthy eating business as a sideline offer discounts to customers who have had work published in academic journals

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 4:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 5:00pm

A group of doctors and lawyers who graduated from two of China’s leading universities have opened a restaurant in Beijing to supplement their incomes, mainland media has reported.

Wang Jian and Cheng Si, the pair who masterminded the project, opened the barbecue restaurant in April with money and support from 16 stakeholders – all medicine and law graduates from Tsinghua and Peking Universities, China Youth Daily reported on Tuesday.

The eatery, named Liu Ye Dao – the Chinese name for the renowned British medical journal The Lancet – has gained a reputation for using healthy cooking methods.

The owners have a policy of only serving food prepared on the day and of not reusing cooking oil.

It recently attracted wider attention for its promotional strategy of offering discounts to customers who had had academic articles published in Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index or Chinese Social Sciences Citation Index in the past five years.

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Wang said he decided to open the business as a sideline after finding he could not afford to help a sick friend who was unable to pay for the surgery he needed.

“I need a second job so that I don’t have to worry about the financial burden and just focus on doing my job as a doctor,” he was quoted as saying.

The average annual salary for a doctor in China is 90,000 yuan (just over US$13,700), according to People’s Daily.

Wang said one of the challenges he faced was their healthy food policy increased their operating costs and slowed down the rate at which they could cook their dishes.

But the main problem for the pair was the obvious pressure on their time.

They opened the restaurant after graduation but had to continue studying for their professional qualifications.

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However, both young doctors excelled in their medical exams and Wang is now focusing mainly on his job as a doctor in an unnamed southern city.

He said had delegated most of the daily operations to his staff and only visited the restaurant in Beijing twice a month to check on its progress.