Enterprise Edition: Haidilao brings hotpot to Huawei

Less than 6 months after Haidilao set up shop on campus at Xi’an University, the hotpot chain brought a branch into Huawei’s R&D centre, incidentally, in Xi’an again. The restaurant opened on 21 March, a day after Haidilao’s 30th anniversary. On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, the topic “Haidilao opens in Huawei” gained 2.64 million views after launching on 25 March.

The 400 sqm restaurant holds everything a Haidilao branch should have including dishes, sides and classic services. Huawei employees can order set menus or à la carte, with all Haidilao hotpot bases, dishes, desserts and drinks available. It also provides a 12% discount at the nearby Jinye Road branch but with an exclusive deal that offers half price on second drinks every Monday. Every week, there will be a classic Haidilao “noodle dance”, Sichuan opera “bian lian” mask-switching performance, as well as nail salons. However, exclusively for the Huawei branch, there is a lounge area for resting and book borrowing.

Haidilao has been experimenting with different forms of restaurants lately, from camping and outdoor stalls since last August to on-campus university restaurants-in-canteens. The “enterprise edition” is an innovative way to leverage office workers’ need for diversity in meals. Campus and enterprise locations also have the advantage of lower prices, as Haidilao’s costs are sometimes deemed high.

These experiments can also serve as inspirations for franchising. In a recent interview, Zhaocheng Zhou, the Vice Chairman of the Board & Executive Director of Haidilao shared that the brand is aiming for enterprises and corporate investors to join the franchising. Having a lease on the commercial property can be an advantage. This is similar to Luckin Coffee’s franchising policy about “targeted location franchising” where they seek potential franchisees who can provide access to locations like hospitals, office spaces, university campuses and tourist attractions. However, as Haidilao will take care of all day-to-day operations of franchised branches, it will be a different mode of management. How Haidilao moves forward with its expansion, with added capital from franchising, is worth watching.


Join our newsletter