“There’s nothing that a hotpot meal can’t solve.” However, on platforms like Dianping and Xiaohongshu, many reviews and recommendations for hotpot restaurants are now focused on desserts. Titles like “Dessert Stops Delayed by Hotpot” and “I could eat this dessert 10,000 times” can be seen everywhere.
In the past, hotpot restaurants might have just served a simple ice cream cone as a dessert. But now, “hotpot desserts” have become elaborate and eye-catching. For example, Nan Hotpot features a layered thousand-layer ice dessert, and Shanjie Laohuoguo offers a 4-liter bucket of mango shaved ice. These desserts can be considered the “biggest of the big” in the dessert world. Nan Hotpot’s Matcha Dream Dragon Ice includes a circle of matcha yogurt bricks surrounding the shaved ice, topped with a unique dragon-shaped ice cream. Shanjie Laohuoguo’s Durian Stinky Tofu Stir-fried Yogurt satisfies the curiosity of consumers.
When enjoying a spicy hotpot, having a refreshing tea or dessert to relieve the spiciness and greasiness is indeed a good choice. Hotpot restaurants have recognized this demand and are eager to develop larger, more visually appealing, and trendy desserts. Some even offer “free unlimited servings,” creating a trend of “internal competition” in the hotpot dessert scene.
Previously, Hotpot restaurants like Coucou Hotpot and Yummy Hotpot attracted young consumers with the combination of “milk tea + hotpot.” Now, popular hotpot brands such as Lu Xiaozhang Laohuoguo, Nan Hotpot, Shanjie Laohuoguo, and Hou Hotpot have all introduced new dessert options. Among the 24 signature dishes of Shanjie Laohuoguo listed on Dianping, 12 of them are desserts. Haidilao Hotpot also introduced “Summer Lotus Ice Mousse” and “Summer Matcha Coconut” during the May 1st holiday this year.
Hotpot is a category that is not easy to differentiate. As the “service internal competition” model pioneered by Haidilao gradually loses its novelty, improving store decoration and inviting celebrities to visit can only bring temporary popularity. Can these hotpot restaurants make a hit and gain popularity by focusing on desserts and “straying from their main business”? Can they truly strike a chord with consumers?