People are willing to Wait in Line for 2 Hours for this Restaurant
China’s taste is really strong as we see Chinese restaurants have swept over the world.
People who have been to Clark Quay must know the Haidilao(海底捞) hotpot restaurant there. Being a very ubiquitous dish in China, millions of hot pot restaurants spread all over this country. But Haidilao, with its distinctive features, successfully becomes one of the dominant brands in China’s hot pot industry and is even having more and more branches in overseas cities including Los Angeles, Tokyo, Singapore, and Seoul.
People who have been to Haidilao must get impressed with its dedicated customer service and that is one of the major reasons making this restaurant outstanding and successful. Their aim of offering customers “delightful dining experiences” has made it a Harvard Business School case study in 2011.
Considering that customers may get bored while waiting in line, the restaurant sets up an entertainment area, providing customers with various services to entertain their waiting time, such as manicures, massages, and even shoe polish services, all at no charge. Queuing has almost become a must-do of the Haidilao experience and people may wait happily for 2 hours just to get a table inside.
The ‘entertainment area’ is only one of the various ways of Haidilao trying every effort to satisfy its customers’ desires. After being seated, customers have ample staff serving dedicatedly for every table. How dedicated are they? Diners with long hair have their hair tied back with free hairbands while eating and those with glasses get eyeglass cleaning tissue in case the hot steam may blur them. Every customer is provided with a moist warm towel and a special apron to avoid stained clothing, and even their mobile phones are stored well in individual plastic baggies. Those who eat alone will get a teddy bear to accompany them.
Zhang Yong, the owner of this restaurant chain, is expecting to attract overseas customers to dine in Haidilao, based on the rising global influence of China in today’s world. “McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Starbucks are all a reflection of American culture,’’ said Mr Zhang. “As the Chinese economy grows and the world starts to put more focus on China, I believe there’s a chance for Chinese restaurants.”
But some people doubt the possibility of success for this nation cuisine going global in another cultural context, with higher labor costs in the western nations and different appetite of the people there. Without enough store managers who understand the culture difference of the West well also prohibits this brand going global.