Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao accused of keeping files on customers’ dining habits, physical appearance

  • Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao has come under fire after a woman claimed that its restaurants keeps files on customers’ physical appearances and spending habits.
  • The woman posted photos on local social media platform Xiaohongshu that allegedly show the restaurant’s labeling system based on physical traits and order styles.
  • The woman claims that the manager of a Haidilao restaurant has in response to her post offered compensation with a gift and an apology.
  • While some users feel that the records are an invasion of privacy, others believe that it is harmless as long as the information is not public.

Chinese hotpot chain Haidilao has been swept up in online controversy after a woman claimed that its restaurants keeps detailed files on customers’ restaurant habits and physical appearances.

According to South China Morning Post, a Shanghai woman by the profile name “Naliyouzhimiao” uploaded a post on local social media and e-commerce platform Xiaohongshu stating that Haidilao has been secretly keeping records of customers’ information such as their physical appearances and observed behaviors. 

She uploaded a series of photos that show the hotpot chain’s supposed filing system, which is divided into four different categories. One of the categories, customer demands, shows detailed records of what certain customers ask for at the restaurant such as “plain water” or “hand-peeled oranges,” according to South China Morning Post.

Another category dedicated to physical appearances included descriptions such as “slim” and “healthy skin tone” written in the restaurant’s database.

The woman wrote that upon discovering her post, which later went viral on Weibo, a Haidilao restaurant manager reached out to issue an apology while offering a gift as compensation.

Although many users expressed their belief that the database was an invasion of privacy, some said there is nothing wrong with the collection of customer profiles as long as the information is kept private.

An employee at the Shanghai Zheng Ce Law Firm, Chen Chang, said that keeping a file on customers’ profiles is not illegal as long as the information is kept private while displaying neutrality.

One user wrote, “I wish the pork chop restaurant I frequent could give me a label ‘no black pepper!’,” reported South China Morning Post.


Featured Image via Strictly Dumpling

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