ARTHUR YEUNG AND WANG TAO
Haidilao Hotpot Restaurant (HDL) has recently captured a lot of media attention and generated heated discussion on social media—especially Weibo (a Chinese version of Twitter). Exaggerated comments like “HDL is unstoppable” and “No one can beat HDL” circulate widely. Many prominent Chinese business leaders also speak highly of HDL’s personalized and excellent service.
HDL started in 1994 as a hot pot chain restaurant and grew rapidly over the years, with revenue reaching RMB1.5 billion (about US$240 million) in 2010, a net profit rate of 16 percent and more than 10,000 employees. HDL’s success is not attributed to secret recipes or unique cuisine but to differentiated services. Many first-time customers ...