This is one restaurant you wouldn’t mind waiting hours for!
Hai Di Lao Huo Guo (海底捞火锅), a popular hotpot chain from China, is not just well-known for their flavourful soup stocks and food. They’re also pretty much legends when it comes to customer service!
Walk-in customers can expect a queue lasting a few hours to get a table, but here’s where the exceptional service comes in. Instead of having to starve, the restaurant offers complimentary snacks so you can grab a bite while you wait!
The restaurant’s waiting area boasts a snack bar that offers popcorn, chips, fresh fruit and even beverages… and everything’s free! Just make sure you don’t eat too much of the snacks, you want to leave more than enough space in your tummy for the hot pot.
Board games and newspapers are also available for you to entertain yourself with while you wait. You can also take the challenge by folding 30 paper cranes or solving the Rubik’s cube to get a free SGD6 (RM18) dish!
You can even get your nails done while you wait for your table, although there might also be a waiting list for the free manicure service. In the event that you didn’t manage to get a manicure before your number is called, don’t worry about missing out! The staff will present you with a manicure card which can be used to redeem a free manicure on your next visit. You could even call ahead to book your slot in advance if you’re thinking of dropping by from Monday to Thursday.
If you have children with you, there’s designated play area for them to entertain themselves with while you munch on some snacks or are getting your nails done.
The pampering does not stop there. When you finally get a table, you will be given a hot towel as well as an apron and a hairband to wear so you don’t dirty your clothes or eat your own hair accidentally.
Don’t worry about accidentally splashing soup on your phone or bag, the staff will also give you a screen protector (which they will apply for you) as well as a plastic baggy for your phone and handbags/backpacks. How’s that for extra?
As for the food, take note that all orders are à la carte, including the soup stocks, fresh premium ingredients, and the variety of homemade sauces. Soup stocks come in flavours like chicken, mushroom, tomato, seafood, laksa, and the restaurant’s spicy Sichuan pot. While most hotpot restaurants lets you have a choice of two soups, you can opt to have four soup flavours at the same time.
Hai Di Lao has yet to open a Malaysian outpost. ‘Til then, you’ll have to head over to one of their outlets in our neighbouring country Singapore.