Of all the things in life that I am moderately to majorly passionate about, convenience ranks fairly high on the list. Somewhere below that—in between unsweetened iced tea and health insurance, maybe—resides the following services on proffer by Haidilao, a Chinese hot pot restaurant chain that also provides manicures, pedicures, children’s entertainment, origami, and photo printing services. I love almost all of those things; therefore, Haidilao is my new home.
The New York Times reports that Haidilao, which is set to raise $1 billion in its IPO on Wednesday, serves as a sort of one-stop shop for any and all its customer’s needs, in an attempt to correct for the reputation that customer service in China is “service without a smile.” Apparently, this means dazzling the customer with every imaginable distraction possible, including but not limited to Sichuanese opera, board games, and a shoe shine.
However, Haidilao, which plans on expanding to the United States, is probably going to have to change some shit around for a U.S. market.
From the Times:
“It was disgusting that people were waiting and having their nails clipped,” Joel Silverstein, chief executive of the East West Hospitality Group, a restaurant consultancy based in Hong Kong, said of a Haidilao outlet he visited in mainland China.
“In the U.S., it would be a total violation of health codes to be doing that stuff,” he added. “But the thing I’ve learned about China is, Chinese people love over-the-top service as long as they don’t have to pay for it.”
Never mind his judgements about how “disgusting” it is and please, let’s set aside what might be lightly-coded racism about how Chinese people are cheap. What’s not to love about over-the-top service? Never have I ever advocated for making a fuss of anything in my entire adult life, but sometimes it’s fun to have a real Experience when you go somewhere that is normally not that way at all. Hot pot is an experience in and of itself, but why not ratchet up the FUN? Category is: accepting death. I’d like to enjoy myself before the time is nigh.
Are manicures in the same room where you’re about to eat food for like, three hours disgusting? Depends on the arrangement of the room, I say! My ideal home is one where I can get all of the things I need and want in one room. Haidilao is my ideal home.