(Yicai) Aug. 11 — Haidilao, which is one of China’s biggest hotpot chains well known for its elaborate and stylish venues, is now a regular presence at roadside night food markets in the big cities as the firm looks to take full advantage of the country’s booming night time economy.
Haidilao now has roadside booths at night markets in cities such as Shanghai, Taiyuan in northern Shanxi province and Qingdao in eastern Shandong province. The pricing is similar to that at its upscale restaurants, but the booths offer free hotpot soup, seasonings and drinks, unlike the restaurants, Yicai learned.
The booths have different products on sale depending on the city, Yicai noticed. For example, in Shanghai Haidilao mainly sells spicy skewers and meals with sauces, but in Taiyuan in northern Shanxi province it sells crayfish, beer and hotpot. People can sit and play board games and enjoy music of their own choosing as they eat.
Haidilao has always catered to the nighttime economy. Many of its restaurants are open for 22 hours a day and they offer a 31 percent discount to university students at night. Many young people gather in Haidilao restaurants until late at night.
Haidilao’s restaurants start getting crowded around 9 p.m. every day and there is a second peak later at night when entertainment venues close to the outlets close, a company insider said. On weekends you need to queue up to get a table, he added.
Chinese local governments, which used to try to remove unsightly night markets, have eased restrictions to help stabilize the economy and create jobs. They are even encouraging people to run roadside stands in