Chapter 319: Detective Aunties.
There were many talents in all fields in Lin’an.
Within China, Lin’an would rank first if they took out the four big cities.
If you wondered which Lin’an person could earn the most, it would be the boss of Habao Techonology Yang Feng.
This man with an estimated fortune of 40 billion USD was the second richest man in China, second only to the princess’ father Zheng Qian.
If they narrowed the scope a bit and asked which noodle restaurant was the most profitable, it should be the small noodle shop from Mingde Alley.
Since Teacher Chu Liuxiang wrote ‘A Bowl of Plain Noodle’ last summer, it had been a place of pilgrimage for countless literati and artistic youths.
Many people would queue for an hour to eat noodles just to see the reserved second table.
Actually, many people started to complain at the beginning after that. They said the plain noodle in the small noodle shop wasn’t delicious and this was all some scheme.
But it didn’t take long for those who had been there to completely change their words.
They thought that those who said the plain noodles in the small noodle shop weren’t, were just too picky and tried to find fault.
If these noodles weren’t good, then there weren’t many good plain noodles in the country.
And that reputation continued until now.
The signature dish of the small noodle shop was the plain noodles and they could sell one thousand bowls a day.
After the business became good, Xia He didn’t only hired two chefs to come cook the noodles but also two other skilled chefs to make homemade noodles.
Although it cost more labor, homemade noodles were better and more delicious, it also further increased their reputation.
But because it was more and more delicious, there weren’t always enough places.
They could only have four people per table inside and it would be too crowded if there was more. Eating noodles would be akin to pain at that time so Xia He was unwilling to do that.
After, some customers couldn’t wait anymore so simply asked for two stools, one high and one low, so they could eat without waiting too long.
The small noodle shop was at the corner of the street anyway and there was plenty of space around the entrance so it didn’t block anything.
Shui Qingshan was well-known culturati since he sang ‘Mama Do You Remember’, not to mention his daughter participated in the Gala and that Teacher Lu would be his son-in-law.
With the various identities superposed, he became very famous around the block.
So after he invited a few people from the districts for a couple meals, the matter was settled and he was allowed to set up stools during the dinning peak.
This was also something they wanted.
Because every morning, noon and evening peak, there were more than a hundred people queuing for the small noodle shop and the big line hindered traffic.
It wouldn’t be so crowded now that people were allowed to eat and leave quickly.
So after the spring festival, the small noodle shop had seven tables accommodating 28 people inside the shop with high and low benches accommodating 30 places outside.
The dining speed increased in this way.
People could often see in neat suits, beautiful clothes and many foreigners sitting outside eating noodles.
This became a place to visit in Lin’an as pictures of it were often posted on the internet and it even became a famous place abroad.
With that fame, the city even gave it ‘Lin’an Renowned Snack’ plate, which was equivalent to gaining the approval of the government officials for their business.
So with the small noodle shop’s business booming, apart from the two cooking chefs and the two noodle expert chefs, there were 18 aunties who did the cleaning and other miscellaneous tasks and those aunties were all from Mingde Alley.
The 18 aunties didn’t work at the same time as they had their own schedules. Some had morning shifts, some had noon shifts and other had evening shifts while some worked today while other worked tomorrow.
So they didn’t have to work every day while letting the aunties some time to take care of their families, go to the square dances and so on…
The aunties also got paid around 5000 Yuan per month so they were very satisfied with it.
Chen Huan and Shui’s family income per month almost doubled due to the increased business, it went from 30k to 50k.
They were given more to the aunties and the chefs but everyone worked happily while not tiring themselves, which was more satisfying to the Shui family and Chen Huan than making an extra 10k or 20k.
Because of that, the aunties were very invested into the small noodle shop and treated it like their own shop.
When Chen Huan went to the small noodle shop and ordered a bowl of noodles, Aunty brought him to the back courtyard to speak to him.
“Xiao Huan, do you think that our chefs have changed too often?” Aunty Luo asked.
“Huh?” Chen Huan was confused, “What’s going on? I didn’t notice.”
“Since the start of the year, our business became better and better but whether it was the chefs or the noodle chefs, they have been changed several times!” Aunty Luo said with some heartache, “You guys are really, ugh… Little Xia doesn’t care and Little Shui doesn’t care even more so aunty can only speak to you!”
Aunty Luo and Shui Qingshan had been neighbors for around 40 years and also watched Chen Huan grow up so they naturally could speak casually and use any tone.
“It seems to be the case now that you talk about it.” Chen Huan recalled and found the two chefs he saw today unfamiliar.
“Seven people resigned in total and that was in six months!” Aunty Luo had an expression resembling a detective as she said, “We pay them a monthly salary of 10k Yuan and it’s definitely the best among small restaurants! But why are they willing to resign one after another, there’s definitely something behind it!”
“Hmm, this is definitely weird.” Chen Huan softly said.
“What’s even weirder is that in recent months, the secret seasoning spices we are using has been consumed in a particularly large amount, four times more than before!” Aunty Luo said, “Although our business has been two or three times better than before, that usage increase doesn’t match! And when they resign, a lot of it is gone, at least half of it!”
After a pause, she continued, “There had been several times when Little Xia went to purchase the raw materials of the special spices, those that later resigned all wanted to go with her but she refused them.”
Chen Huan was frowning.
The ingredients were handled by Xia He alone.
Before Shui Qingshan and the other went to participate in ‘Godly Singer’ and if she didn’t feel tired, she would only make enough for the week.
The loss in ingredients in the food and beverage industry was inherently large as the chefs grabbed a little each time and they served three to four thousands bowls per day so it was impossible to calculate it.
At the same time, Xia He wasn’t a very careful person so if there was little discrepancy and was asked to replenish it, she wouldn’t suspect anything.
Fortunately, Chen Huan and Shui Qianyu instructed her to buy according to the list and apart from the medicinal herbs that needed to be used, there were also 8 other ingredients that would ruin the taste if added.
So it was useless even if they got the ticket from the shop where Xia He bought the ingredients.
This prevented the recipe being leaked to a large extent.
If Aunty Luo observation wasn’t wrong, it meant that chefs hadn’t found the recipe otherwise they wouldn’t take the spices away.
Now it seemed that they took some spices away, which should be prepared for their future work.
But it was consumable, what were they going to do when it ran out?
This was obviously an unsustainable plan and it should be useless even if they took it, right?
Aunty Luo watched him and thought about it and felt satisfied, “Then, with my group of sisters in the neighborhood, when we took our little grand kids out to play, we went to the various noodle shops in Lin’an and guess what?”
“You saw the chefs who resigned?” Chen Huan guessed.
Aunty Luo patted him as he could still be saved and said, “Little Huan, you’re so smart, you got it right! We found three in total! These are the names and the addresses, you can think of how to deal with them!”
Chen Huan pondered as he held the people Aunty Luo gave him.
After eating his noodle, Chen Huan thought for a bit before he went out.
It took him half a day to finish eating in the three noodle restaurants and then Chen Huan gathered the three members of the Shui Family in the afternoon.
Even if Shui Qingshan and Shui Qianyu returned to Lin’an, they needed to go to the studio to practice their new songs with Zhang Kun and Li Xinyi so they usually left early and came back late.
They had entered the quarter finals now and the competition was getting harsher. Chen Huan gave them another great song so they had to put in the effort.
Winning the prize wasn’t their only purpose as they wanted it to win it convincingly.
The 10 million was a good thing but it wasn’t on the same level on what they wanted to do after.
If Zhao Changshou wasn’t an old man striking back, if it wasn’t for him being in the Gala and it wasn’t for most of the profit from ‘Life’s Only Love’ being donated to charity, the album wouldn’t have sold around 300 million copies with the sales still being terrifying stable and continued to sell well.
They wanted to reach the amount of 50 million for Lei Daxuan’s medical fee so winning the championship closely wasn’t enough.
They needed to crush their competition and use their classic songs to break down defense to make them fall in love with the songs so they could get a good return when they started to sell the songs.
If they wanted to crush the competition, good songs weren’t enough as they also needed to have great singing skills and great teamwork.
Shui Qingshan just returned to professional singing two months ago so he still needed a lot of practice and getting some sharpness.
If it weren’t for fear of damaging his throat, he wouldn’t just stop at 3pm and visit Lei Daxuan before going home.
It was how things were but he still gave his all.
Shui Qianyu also gave her all as she practiced even harder than when she did with ‘Laughter From the Sea’.
Their tired look was the best proof of it.