Popular Chinese hot pot restaurant chain Haidilao has reportedly been privately labelling customers within their member system, recording customers’ physical characteristics and individual needs.
According to some Chinese web users, Haidilao restaurants keep statistics on customer arrivals and write descriptions of them, which mainly include physical characteristics and individual needs. For example, some customers were tagged as “like to complain on apps.” Many netizens feel offended by the news, while others think that writing down customers’ needs is for the convenience of service, although it is inappropriate for customers to see them.
In view of the above problems, Haidilao responded on February 24 that in order to continuously improve and optimize customers’ personalized service needs, store managers can supplement customer information in their member system (such as removing scallions from the spicy hot pot, or adding ice to lemonade).
Relevant staff of the hot pot chain said that Haidilao has been improving the rules of supplementing customers’ information since 2020. The company explicitly prohibited any remarks on customers’ personal details such as physical appearance. In January 2021, all the investigations and rectifications were completed, and all newly added information needed to pass strict examination.
Haidilao just announced on Monday that as of December 31, 2021, the chain expected a net loss of about 3.8 billion yuan ($601.73 million) to 4.5 billion yuan ($712.58 million). Compared with the revenue of about 28.6 billion yuan ($4.53 billion) in 2020, its revenue in 2021 is expected to exceed 40 billion yuan ($6.33 billion), an increase of more than 40%.