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Offering Manicures With Your Hot Pot, China’s Haidilao Plans a Global Push

来源:纽约时报    2018-09-26 04:34

        Sometimes, Shang Feifei goes to a restaurant just for the manicures.        有时,尚飞飞(音)去那家餐馆只是为了美甲。
        On a recent Wednesday night, Ms. Shang, 40, sat patiently at a downtown Beijing branch of Haidilao, a restaurant chain that defies China’s well-earned reputation for lousy customer service. A Haidilao employee buffed and painted her nails, free. The aroma from bubbling broth-filled pots lingered in the air.        前不久的一个周三晚上,40岁的尚飞飞耐心地坐在北京市中心的一家海底捞分店,中国的消费者服务以糟糕著称,这家连锁餐馆却打破了这样的名声。海底捞的一名员工为她免费打磨指甲、涂上颜色。锅中的肉汤冒着泡,香气在空气中飘荡。
        Ms. Shang wasn’t planning to stay to eat after she got her pink, glittery nails done. For her, the food was secondary to the experience.        尚飞飞的美甲做完了,粉红色的指甲闪闪发光,之后她并不打算继续用餐。她这次来,食物是次要的。
        “I find Haidilao’s special services so entertaining,” said Ms. Shang, who comes to Haidilao every week to get her manicures. “Like the free pedicures, the photo printing machine, Chinese checkers and origami.”Hot pot, in which diners cook their own meat and vegetables in a boiling broth, is a favorite meal in China. And Haidilao is China’s most popular hot pot chain, mostly because of how employees go all out to greet, serve and entertain.        “我觉得海底捞这些特殊服务都太好玩了,”尚飞飞说,她每周都来海底捞做美甲。“比如免费美甲、照片打印机、中国象棋和折纸。”吃火锅时,食客在沸腾的汤里自己煮肉和蔬菜,这是深受中国人喜欢的饮食。海底捞则是中国最受欢迎的火锅连锁店,主要是因为员工全力以赴,接待、服务和娱乐客人。
        Haidilao hopes people outside China will be as captivated. It is set to raise nearly $1 billion on Wednesday in an initial public offering in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese city where foreign investors are free to buy up shares. It wants to use the money to expand, including beyond its overseas locations in California and New York as well as other countries.        海底捞希望中国以外的人也会迷上它。该公司将于周三在香港进行首次公开募股,筹资近10亿美元,香港是一个半自治的中国城市,外国投资者在这里可以自由购买股票。海底捞希望利用这笔资金进行扩张,它目前在加利福尼亚州、纽约以及其他一些国家已有海外分店。
        But outside China, it could be a harder sell.“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.        但是在中国以外,它要推销自己可能会更难。“人们一边等餐一边修指甲是令人作呕的,”香港餐厅咨询公司东西迎客集团(East West Hospitality Group)的首席执行官乔伊·西尔弗斯坦(Joel Silverstein)谈到他去过的一家海底捞中国大陆门店时说。
        “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.”        “在美国,做这些事情完全违反卫生法规,”他补充说。“但我对中国的了解是,中国人喜欢夸张的服务,只要他们不需为此付费。”
        A different chain made global headlines when a diner found a dead rat in her hot pot. The Chinese company vowed to get to the bottom of the matter.        在另一家连锁餐厅,一位食客在火锅中发现一只死老鼠,令这家店登上了全球新闻。那家中国公司发誓要彻查此事。
        In a country where service without a smile is still the norm in many places, Haidilao earns its loyalty. Customers are offered free shoe-shining services and board games while they wait. Diners can watch a traditional Sichuan opera show. Eating with toddlers? “A “playground sister” will keep them entertained.Patrons in China sometimes line up for hours to get into one of Haidilao’s nearly 300 domestic restaurants. A 2016 survey of 2,600 people conducted by OC&C, a consulting firm, ranked Haidilao as China’s favorite restaurant. Its dining experience was cited in a Harvard Business School case study in 2011.        没有微笑的服务员仍然是中国许多地方的常态,海底捞在这里赢得了忠诚。客户在等餐期间可获得免费擦鞋服务和棋盘游戏。用餐者还可以观看传统的川剧变脸表演。带幼儿一起用餐?一个“游乐园姐姐”会带着他们玩。中国顾客有时会为吃海底捞排队几小时,它目前在国内拥有近300家餐厅。2016年由咨询公司OC&C对2600人进行的一项调查显示,海底捞是中国最受欢迎的餐厅。2011年的哈佛商学院案例研究引用了在海底捞的就餐体验。
        “The staff here gives you the feeling that you are a family member,” said Liu Lu, 42, a stay-at-home mother who said that the chain’s employees would arrange a crib for her baby so she could indulge in the hot pot without a care.        “跟这里,店员都跟自己家人(一样),”42岁的全职母亲刘鹭说,这家连锁店的员工会为她的孩子安排婴儿床,这样她就可以不用照顾孩子,全心享受火锅。
        Hot pot — known in China as huo guo, or fire pot — was originally consumed to ward off the cold of winter. It is now a year-round cuisine. Chinese diners love the participatory nature of the cooking process: People gather around a pot of boiling broth, dunk their meats in it, fish them out and dip them into sauces. The time spent cooking gives people time to socialize.Haidilao’s name originates from a Sichuanese mah-jongg term that connotes winning. While the chain offers a wide variety of broths, it is known mainly for its Sichuan-style spicy hot pot.        在中国,火锅最初是为了冬天御寒。现在则是全年都可以享用的美食。中国食客喜欢烹饪过程的参与性:人们围绕着一锅沸腾的汤,将肉放进去,再把它们捞出来,浸入小料。在烹饪过程中,人们还可以社交。海底捞的名字来源于一个有获胜含义的四川麻将术语。虽然连锁店提供各种各样的锅底,但还是主要以四川风味的麻辣锅著称。
        Zhang Yong, a former tractor-factory worker, founded Haidilao originally with just four tables in his hometown, Jianyang, a city in Sichuan Province in China’s southwest.        张勇曾经是一个拖拉机厂工人,他在自己的家乡中国西南省份四川的简阳创立了海底捞,店里最初只有四张桌子。
        “I didn’t know how to make soup or cook any ingredients,” Mr. Zhang told Huang Tieying, a Peking University professor who wrote a 2011 book called “You Can’t Copy Haidilao.”        “我不会熬汤,不会炒料,”张勇告诉北京大学教授黄铁鹰,后者在2011年写了一本书《海底捞你学不会》。
        “In order to satisfy people, I gave away more than I sold,” he said. “As a result, customers were still willing to come back, even though my food wasn’t that good.”        “为了让人家满意,送的比卖的还多,”他说。“结果,客人虽然说我的东西不好吃,却又愿意来。”
        Even a string of food safety scandals has not dented confidence in the brand.        即使是一连串的食品安全丑闻,也没有削弱人们对该品牌的信心。
        Last year, a viral video taken in two Beijing outlets by an undercover Chinese journalist showed rat-infested kitchens, dishwashers covered with grease and staff members cleaning sewers with a soup ladle. In June, the Chinese news media reported that a customer in one of the previous offending outlets found a fly in the dipping sesame sauce.        去年,一名中国卧底记者在北京的两家海底捞分店拍摄了一段热播视频,显示厨房老鼠横行,洗碗机覆盖着油脂,工作人员用汤勺清洗下水道。今年6月,中国新闻媒体报道,在之前一个违规分店用餐的顾客在芝麻酱中发现了一只苍蝇。
        In both instances, Haidilao apologized and promised to overhaul food safety in all its restaurants.        在这两起案例中,海底捞都表示道歉,并承诺在其所有分店中彻底整顿食品安全。
        Now, customers can watch a live-stream video of the kitchen from a flat-screen television hung on the wall or through tablets on their tables. They are also welcome to personally observe the food being prepared.“The food is very clean; other hot pot restaurants have food that isn’t that fresh,” said Liu Yali, a teacher who eats at the chain every two to three days. “Whenever my friends want to gather, we always choose Haidilao.”        现在,客户可以通过挂在墙上的平板电视或桌上的平板电脑观看厨房的实时视频。餐厅也欢迎他们亲自观看食物的准备过程。“原材料特别干净,别的火锅店菜都黏兮兮,”每隔两三天都要在这家连锁店就餐的教师刘雅丽说。“我们有朋友聚会都会选择在海底捞。”
        Hot pot, including at Haidilao, has made inroads near Chinese communities in the United States and elsewhere. The question for Haidilao is whether hot pot — and the chain’s over-the-top customer service — will draw a broader group of foreigners the same way.        包括海底捞在内的火锅已经向美国和其他地方的华人社区附近进军。海底捞面临的问题在于,火锅——以及这家连锁店的夸张服务——是否能够同样吸引更广泛的外国人。
        “If they want to be popular overseas, they’ll have to adjust their services and menu,” said Darcy Zhang, a Shanghai-based food blogger who is a fan of Haidilao. “In other countries, some of their services might feel too exaggerated.”        “如果在外国受欢迎,他们的现有服务和菜单要做调整,”上海的美食博主达西·张(Darcy Zhang,音)说,她是海底捞的支持者。“对于外国来说,他们有一些服务,会有一点点,太夸张了。”
        “For example, a customer will go and wash their hands and the staff will be waiting outside with tissue paper and a huge smile,” she added. “Perhaps foreigners might find that quite creepy.”        “一个客人去洗手,人家给你递张纸,还有满脸笑容,”她补充说。“外国人可能会觉得creepy(诡异)。”

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