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Adelaide Chianti restaurant menu translated to Chinese to lure tourists

Tobias Gush holds the Chianti menu
Tobias Gush hopes Chianti will boost its numbers of Chinese diners.

ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch

A popular Adelaide restaurant has translated its menu into Chinese with hopes it can entice more foreign tourists to dine there.

Restaurant and Catering Australia (RCA) said it expected the move by Chianti Italian restaurant in the CBD would be followed by other high-end eateries serving various cuisines.

Chianti head chef and director Tobias Gush said translating the menu was more than just a business decision.

"Our big ethos here is to make people feel welcome and that nothing is too much trouble ... so it stems from that," he said.

"If they find English difficult, they can still come — there's the menu, they can order what they want and have a good time."

Mr Gush said overseas visitors were a growing slice of the restaurant's clientele, especially over summer and when Adelaide's festival season, so-called Mad March, was in full swing.

He said the restaurant was making sure hotel concierges across Adelaide knew about its menu initiative to help drum up new business.

"We've noticed how grateful and happy the guests are to have their menu, because normally one person takes charge of the table, normally whoever speaks the best English," he said.

A close-up view of the menu in English and Chinese.
Having the Chianti menu in Chinese helps busy staff keep customers happy.

ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch

Popular menu items:

  • 腊制生牛肉 (carpaccio)
  • 慢煮散养鸭子肉 (slow-cooked free-range duck)
  • 土豆饺子 (potato gnocchi)
  • 恺撒沙拉 (Caesar salad)
  • 提拉米苏 (tiramisu)

South Australia saw about 38,000 Chinese visitors in the 12 months to last September, up by almost one-third on a year earlier.

RCA deputy chief executive Sally Neville said new direct flights between Adelaide and mainland China were supporting the growth.

She said cafes and restaurants were being encouraged to ensure they were culturally aware.

"Some restaurants have introduced translated menus, but they have also trained their staff in the kinds of eating that the Chinese visitors enjoy, usually communal dining," she said.

"Also, respect of the oldest person on the table, so waiting staff ensure they defer to them despite the fact a younger person may have better English."

Adelaide is seeing more Chinese signage around, but Ms Neville suggests more could be done to help all foreign visitors.

Mr Gush said Chianti restaurant changed its menu up to five times per year, so would be evaluating whether the Chinese language options were worth the translation costs.

But he said it was already providing time benefits for busy staff.

"As a restaurant business, your staff have got a lot of guests to look after and having to translate can take a lot of time," he said.

"Whether it creates more business, we'll have to wait and see but it helps us do what we do."