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Renovation was a very troublesome issue.
Although Zhang Zian felt that Richard was somewhat abnormal, his mind was quickly occupied by all kinds of problems caused by the renovation. He couldn’t stay on the first floor anymore, which was noisy and dusty. The construction workers were carrying things back and forth, asking Zhang Zian from time to time what things were to be kept, and what could be discarded.
This was Zhang Zian’s first renovation experience. Thanks to Guo Dongyue, who had designed the specific plan and details for him, Zhang Zian didn’t have to go through the process by himself anxiously.
Although Guo Dongyue promised he would cover all costs, Zhang Zian felt he needed to do something too. At least he could prepare lunches for the workers.
On the other hand, Fina kept complaining. She was so upset that she couldn’t take a nap because of the construction noises. Snowy Lionet was discontented that all the renovation workers were men. Old Time Tea was fine — as long as it could watch TV, it didn’t care where it was. Galaxy was the only one that wasn’t affected by the construction, as it was always playing hide-and-seek with the American Shorthair anyways.
Richard had been teaching the two red-headed lovebirds to speak. In the eyes of Zhang Zian, they were making rapid progress, within only a few days, they had grasped the p.r.o.nunciation of twenty or thirty Chinese characters, though the accuracy of the p.r.o.nunciation and the tone could be better—but what they had done was not easy, and he couldn’t ask for more.
These days, there were probably many clients visiting her clinic, or out of some other reasons, Sun Xiaomeng did not come to his pet shop. Richard looked a little unhappy.
When it was almost noon and Zhang Zian was busy instructing the construction workers, an electric tricycle parked in front of his pet shop.
Uncle Li got off the tricycle, carrying several lunch boxes, and walked into the pet shop.
"Greetings, Uncle Li." Zhang Zian quickly went over to help him carry the lunch boxes.
He ordered the lunches for the construction workers from Uncle Li's store, and Uncle Li delivered them to him for free. Zhang Zian decided to eat together with them.
The workers were quite satisfied with the quality of their lunches. Not only was the food delicious, but there was meat and vegetables, and the portions were generous, all of which were ideal for heavy manual workers like themselves. Several people gave thumbs-up signs to Uncle Li, and kept telling him the food was delicious. Listening to these sincere compliments, Uncle Li seemed very happy.
"Uncle Li, how’s the business going in your restaurant these days?" Holding a lunch box, Zhang Zian asked casually while eating.
Uncle Li was removing the BBQ skewers prepared for the pets from the cart. Hearing this, Uncle Li felt awkward to answer, and his face looked dismayed.
Zhang Zian looked at Uncle Li’s facial expression, and understood the business might not be very good, so he temporarily put down the chopsticks and asked, "Not many customers?"
"Only a few." Uncle Li sighed, confirming his conjecture.
"It will be alright. After all, it’s a newly opened restaurant, and people don’t yet know what the food in your restaurant tastes like," Zhang Zian tried to comfort him. "More and more people will go to eat, and your store’s reputation will build up gradually. And when that time comes, the tables in your store will not be enough, for customers will have to line up waiting to be seated…"
"If only it could be that great." Uncle Li managed to dredge up a smile. It was obvious that he did not quite believe his business was promising. "To be honest, I have quarreled with my wife several times during these days after the store opened."
"What happened?" Zhang Zian asked.
"We’ve been blaming each other!" Uncle Li drew a deep sigh, "Before openi
ng the store, we were quite ambitious and confident about the food made by ourselves. Even though our store might not be extremely popular at first, we didn’t expect there would be so few customers!"
He counted with his fingers. "Let me tell you. I have counted, in the past few days, only over a dozen of people have come to our store for eating every day. Forget about earning money, if things continue like this, we won’t be able to afford the rent and the utility fees. I am so nervous that my mouth is inflamed! If you didn’t come to order meals, Master Zhang, my wife and I would be bickering more severely!"
Zhang Zian understood their anxiety. The worst scenario for a start-up was no patrons. He didn’t need to pay for rent, had no family to provide support for, and utility fees only cost him a little. Even so, he struggled for a period when he took over the pet shop. Only people who had been through the same difficulty could understand the desperation where they were spending up their savings and were slow in making money.
There were too many restaurants and fast food stores on this street, and the compet.i.tion was extremely fierce. Uncle Li and Aunt Li used to sell breakfast and BBQ skewers at a stand, so they were not impacted by the compet.i.tion. When they chose to open their own store, the pressure was real.
When Zhang Zian decided to order lunches for the decoration workers, he immediately thought he should order from Uncle Li and Aunt Li. As expected, though it was obviously lunchtime when he went to their store, only two or three guests were eating in their store, and Aunt Li was in dismay, only forcing herself to smile upon seeing Zhang Zian’s arrival.
Probably because she had smelled the BBQ skewers, the hunger-struck Fina walked down from the second floor, closely followed by Snow Lionet, who looked affectionately at Fina. Old Time Tea did not come down, because it preferred quietness and didn’t want to be seen by strangers. Zhang Zian would prepare and send up its meal later.
Fina put her head in her own food bowl and ate a mouthful of the barbecue, and then she looked up and said in amazement: "Wow! Today's barbecue tastes good."
Snow Lionet also had a bite, and echoed with Fina, "Meow, meow. Your Majesty, you are right! Today's barbecue is really delicious!"
"Ask him what kind of meat this is," Fina said seriously to Zhang Zian.
Since Uncle Li was also there, Zhang Zian couldn’t converse with Fina directly, so he also picked up a skewer and tasted the meat, but his taste buds seemed too insensitive than those of cats, and he really couldn’t find out the difference. Perhaps the meat today was slightly more tender than before?
"Uncle Li, is the meat of today different than before?" he asked, trying to look normal.
"Yes, it is different." Uncle Li had been staring at Zhang Zian, and upon seeing him taste the difference, Uncle Li was pleasantly relieved. "In the past, we used the frozen chicken breast bought from supermarkets. Today’s meat is really fresh, because it’s from some free-range chickens that I asked someone to bring from our hometown. The free-range chickens were raised in the wild, and were fed with grains and live worms, so the quality of their meat is very different than the frozen meat! "
Zhang Zian felt like this was unfair to him. The chicken meat he usually ate was frozen meat from the supermarket, yet his cats were enjoying the meat of premium quality.
Uncle Li chuckled, "My wife said that Master Zhang's cats had spirituality and that they should not be eating the same kind of meat as normal cats, so she told me to butcher a few chickens and make them into barbecue meat. If your cats love eating these, then I'll ask my relatives send the chickens over from my hometown more often. "
"That is not..." Zhang Zian just wanted to say " that is not necessary", and he felt something pulling on his trouser leg. He looked down, and it turned out to be Fina.
"He’s right, I really should not eat the same kind of meat as ordinary cats." Fina arrogantly held her head up and glared at him coldly. "I have long been in doubt. How come these people can see my extraordinariness, and you still don’t get it?"
Zhang Zian thought to himself, "If you want to eat this kind of chicken meat, just tell me! There’s no need to exaggerate the issue!"
Seeing that the golden cat was pulling Zhang Zian's trouser leg, Uncle Li cheerfully asked, "Does this cat love eating the meat?"
"Yes." Zhang Zian had to say, "Very. Please send them more in the future when you have the chance."
He sighed inside his heart. Now he was indebted to Uncle Li and Aunt Li again; how was he going to repay them?