China’s Haidilao hot pot chain is known for its attention to customer service, however, that all quite literally blew up in one waitress’s face last week.
Surveillance footage from a Haidilao restaurant on the night of May 15th shows the waitress attempting to use two ladles to reportedly fish out a lighter that a male customer had dropped into the bubbling broth until the concoction suddenly “explodes,” covering her face, arms, and chest in the scalding soup.
On Tuesday, Haidilao said that they were still investigating the matter and did comment on the waitress’s condition.
Founded in 1994 in Sichuan province by a former factory worker, Haidilao has expanded around China — with more than 190 outlets in the country — and across the globe to cities like Los Angeles, Singapore, Seoul, and Tokyo. It’s become China’s most popular hot pot chain, not just for its food, but also for the way it treats its customers. Those waiting for a table at Haidilao are offered free manicures and massages.
Likely because of its popularity, the chain has been frequently targeted by fraudsters who pretend to dredge sanitary pads and dead rodents from their soup. However, Haidilao has also been quick to own up to its own faults, winning praise in 2017 for openly admitting that the kitchen in one of its Beijing outlets was infested with rats after reports emerged online. In a country where food scandals are rampant and often covered up, many found Haidilao’s forthrightness refreshing.