A new initiative to offer disabled people employment was launched in Nanjing on Sept 28. The “Dream-Building Restaurant” (Zhu Meng Can Ting) program was created by the Disabled Persons’ Federation of the city’s Jiangning District and the food delivery platform Ele.me.
Following an official launch ceremony, standard operating procedures (SOP) were published for restaurants taking part in the program. The procedures are the first of their kind targeted at restaurants employing disabled workers.
During the launch ceremony, Mo Qi Jun was named as the first Dream-Building Restaurant. The chain, which has restaurants across Nanjing, mainly offers takeout food and employs 19 disabled workers. As one of the organizers of the initiative, Ele.me agreed to reduce the company’s service fees and provide staff training.
For any business that joins the program, Ele.me will create volunteer service groups consisting of riders and sales professionals to help solve any initial teething problems.
Restaurants that focus on offering takeout food are thought to be more willing to employ disabled workers. Meanwhile, data shows that employees with disabilities can be more productive than ordinary workers because they place more value on the job opportunities offered to them. During the recent lockdown in Nanjing, Mo Qi Jun survived by relying on orders from various food delivery platforms.
Yang Jing, a manager at one of the chain’s restaurants, said that all the firm’s disabled employees had mastered the skills required to handle takeout orders, meaning that they all retained their jobs during the lockdown. “Support from Ele.me has given our disabled employees more confidence when taking part in training. Some of them are even planning to operate their own restaurants in the future,” said Yang.
Wang Zhen, deputy general manager of public affairs for Ele.me in Jiangsu Province, believes that there are plenty of things food delivery platforms can do to help with the employment of disabled people. “The Dream-Building Restaurant program has gained attention and support from the Disabled Persons’ Federation. If this model works well, it can be replicated in other cities and provinces across the country,” said Wang.
The program’s operating procedures, drawn up by the Disabled Persons’ Federation of Jiangning District and Ele.me, set conditions for businesses that apply to join the program. Conditions include requirements for businesses to hire at least one or two full-time disabled employees and provide social insurance, equal pay and the necessary facilities and healthcare. The procedures also put forward requirements for business compliance and food safety.