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'Silent' restaurant in Yunnan becomes beloved home for disabled employees

By Sun Wenyu (People's Daily Online)    17:20, May 23, 2017

The staff members take a group photo.

At a "silent" restaurant in Lijiang, Yunnan province, two-thirds of the staff is hearing-impaired or mute. According to Zhang Yushou, the owner of the restaurant and veteran of the food and beverage industry, a hearing-impaired waiter working in his cafeteria in 2012 inspired him to open the unusual restaurant. His idea was finally implemented three years later.

"Orders are placed via iPads, and sometimes communication is accomplished through writing in notebooks," Zhang explained. He said the customers are very kind, and they have received not a single complaint from guests during the past two years of operation.

Speaking of his special employees, Zhang described them as "incredible," saying they have worked far harder than most people do. None of them has been late for work since the restaurant opened.

Apart from being a boss, Zhang also tries to be a friend to his employees. He encourages them to try new activities, and sometimes even new jobs. The restaurant has become a real home for them.

The staff members dance during break.

"The physically disabled need spiritual respect and caring, and it has nothing to do with money," Zhang explained. Many of his employees have changed a great deal since coming to work at the restaurant, and always for the better. "That is why the restaurant was opened," Zhang said.

Though running the restaurant is not always easy, Zhang said he will carry on and open a second and third location in the future.

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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