Haidilao lands in hot soup for discriminatory PSLE promo

Haidilao lands in hot soup for discriminatory PSLE promo

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Hotpot restaurant chain Haidilao has taken back its offer on tiered discounts after it faced backlash online.

The offer came around the same time as the release of PSLE results and said the eatery would be offering SG$30 discounts for students who receive score between 4 and 7. Students who receive a score of 8 to 11 will get a SG$20 discount. Lastly, students who receive a score of 12 to 20 will get a SG$10 discount. For context, the lower the PSLE score, the better the student is said to have scored.

However, the post, seen by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, soon saw netizens calling out the brand for discrimination. Some said every child should be able to celebrate their hardwork despite the results and others called it a “crappy marketing scheme”.

Responding to the issue, the hotpot chain edited its post on Instagram (pictured) and offered the SG$30 discount to all students receiving their PSLE results at the City Square branch. On its Facebook page, Haidilao also made the changes to the post.The edited post now states that it is a “call for a celebration for all children’s hard work, regardless of PSLE scores!”

After the updates were made, some netizens commented that the brand did right by updating the post and not discriminating, which teaches children that their grades do not define them.

Haidilao has not yet responded to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. On a quote to ST, it highlighted that it “immediately changed the promotion mechanics” when it saw that the terms were “erroneous” and “definitely inappropriate”. It also apologised for the initial post and inconvenience it might have caused, and as such decided to extend the promotions for more students.

Haidilao has often been hailed as an A-lister when it comes to creating unique customer experience for its diners. The brand is known to offer customers experiences such as free manicures, car washes and even massages while waiting for their dinners.

In recent years, Haidilao has eyed global expansion and in June this year it proposed a spin-off where it considered listing of its overseas business in Hong Kong. The board is of the view that if the proposed spin-off proceeds, it will be in the interests of the company and its shareholders as a whole as the proposed spin-off will better position the business of Super Hi, and the remaining business of the Group for growth in their respective geographic presences. It will  deliver value enhancing benefits in the long run under a separate standalone listing platform, according to the announcement.

Related articles: 

Haidilao considers spinoff listing of overseas business
Haidilao to suspend operation of 300 stores due to low customer traffic
Chinese hot pot chain Haidilao's Clarke Quay branch gets suspended

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