According to Jiemian News, a number of people recently received text messages from the Corner Tower Restaurant of the Palace Museum's staff, saying that the previously booked "reunion dinners" for Spring Festival had been canceled.
According to ifeng News, Chen Wenqiang, an employee of the Corner Tower Restaurant, said that all "reunion dinners" had been canceled and money refunded. The restaurant's customer service staff said that although the dinners had been canceled, the restaurant will remain open during the Spring Festival holiday and offer regular fast food to visitors.
Jiemian News previously reported that during the Spring Festival in 2020, the Corner Tower Restaurant of the Palace Museum will offer dinners from January 19 to February 8.
According to previous reports, the reunion dinner at the Palace Museum was priced at 6,688 yuan (about 970 U.S. dollars) per table for 10 people, with an additional charge of 680 yuan for each additional person to a maximum of 12 people per table.
Jiemian News had called the restaurant to learn that the reunion dinner before the Lantern Festival had been fully booked, and customers who wanted to make reservations had to call the telephone number and "queue up" first. If the reservation was successful, the restaurant would call back to confirm the specific reservation time. Then, there would be a one-on-one service to determine the specific menu.
According to Pear Video, the Corner Tower Restaurant actually has only three boxes to serve the dinner and the remaining seats could only serve simple fast food.
So far, the Corner Tower Restaurant has not given an official explanation for the cancellation. Dianping, one of the largest city life consumption guide websites in China, also shows that the restaurant is open normally for business.
In March 2019, the Corner Tower Restaurant sparked controversy for serving hot pot. Prior to that, the restaurant's hot pot was also sought after by tourists, but many netizens questioned the move was not suitable for the Palace Museum's profound cultural background, as well as the preservation of cultural relics in the Palace Museum.
Although officials later explained that hot pot was powered by electromagnetic induction stoves rather than charcoal, the supply was still suspended.
The nearly 7,000-yuan dinner was criticized by some netizens as overly commercial. But other netizens think that the price is not very high considering the time and location, as many high-end restaurants in Beijing were more expensive. In the comments sections on ifeng's Weibo account, some netizens thought it was good for the restaurant to cancel the reunion dinner. However, other people said that the restaurant lacked the spirit of the contract.