Chinese Restaurant Goes Out Of Business Because Of Bizarre Loyalty Scheme

In any business, it's always nice to reward the loyal customers who keep coming back time after time.

However, one Chinese restaurant owner has taken that too far and put himself out of business with a loyalty card offer that is too good to resist.

The restaurant, called Jiamener, offered a loyalty card that cost around $25 (about £19) and offered holders unlimited food for a whole month.

Now, that sounds like a pretty good deal - especially if the food is good. Needless to say, the all-you-can-eat restaurant is now in thousands of pounds of debt and has had to shut its doors to the public.

This is all despite more than 500 customers passing through the restaurant's doors every single day.

Jiamener, based in the city of Chengdu, specialised in a type of Chinese food called hot pot food. It's basically the same as our version of hot pot - you cook a whole load of ingredients in a simmering pot that contains a stock of some sort.

Credit: Misaochan (Wikimedia Commons)
Credit: Misaochan (Wikimedia Commons)

Apparently the regulars were keen on it too. They ate so much food that they bankrupted the whole joint. Now, the owners of the establishment owe more than $100,000 (£75,900) to their creditors.

It is thought that loyalty cards were changing hands between families and friends, which is a bit snide given that the offer was so generous. You would though, wouldn't you?

In the end, nobody who bought into the ridiculous loyalty scheme got their whole month's worth of food. They had to shut the place down after just two weeks given the amount of debt they were running themselves into.

Serves the 'loyal' punters right, really, for passing around the card between different people.

You've got to feel for the proprietors of the restaurant, though. It's a dumb idea, sure, but they were only trying to encourage people to keep coming back.

Chengdu is a huge city of more than 10m people and there are thought to be about 20,000 hot pot restaurants. You've really got to stand out in that crowd.

Credit: Chensiyuan (Wikimedia Commons)
Credit: Chensiyuan (Wikimedia Commons)

It was reported in ABC News that the owners said that they expected to lose some money on the scheme, but were simply trying to get repeat custom.

Co-owner Su Jie said: "The uncivilised behaviour of the diners was secondary - the main problem was our poor management."

They also said that they hoped that a lower price could be negotiated with food suppliers if they were going through loads of it and re-ordering.

Featured Image Credit: Hawyih (Wikimedia Commons)

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

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