Dolar Shop (Food)

Background
Dolar Shop originated from Shanghai, China back in 2004 and was founded solely by Jerry Li. They initially operated as an independent hot pot shop specializing in the highest quality ingredients and customer service. Popularity grew extremely quickly across their country as they have currently operate operate 38 different locations domestically alongside 14 international locations bringing the grand total franchises to a staggering 52 stores. The Canadian location opened up in Richmond, BC and a single visit alone allowed me to understand the reasoning to their success.

Aesthetics
Without exaggerating, this jumps on top as the nicest restaurant that I have dined at and it all begins with their superior attention to detail. The bright warm lighting, elegant choice of furnishings, and overall atmosphere of everything put together is sure to leave guest in awe. There really aren’t enough words to describe how impressive Dolar Shop is from an appearance stand point so glance through these pictures which would resemble what a trailer is for a sellout blockbuster movie.

Food
So, hot pot. What is it? Traditionally, there is a large pot of a soup or broth in the middle of the table and raw ingredients are gathered around the table. As you might expect, you cook the food yourself and when ready, can take it one step further by dipping it into a sauce you can make at their sauce bar station yourself ensuring that it is perfect to your own liking. All things considered, the main takeaway from this dining experience was to be a fun environment while the food itself was always a second thought. But this is one area where the Dolar Shop really separates itself from the rest. Each item is presented like a piece of art. Seeing these ingredients in their rawest form certainly makes you appreciate it that much more. But aside from how amazing everything looks, the taste was unparalleled because everything is sourced extremely fresh and also sold in large volumes as there is always a line up for lunch or dinner times.

Customer Service
Traditional hot pot restaurant are known to be lacklustre in this aspect. There is often a very low staff to table ratio as one server may be looking after 6-10 tables. This makes a simple task like extra napkins or water refills take 5-10 minutes. Given that the staff are extremely overworked, their attitudes and attentiveness naturally decreases. But everyone working at Dolar Shop seems to be on a mission to deliver exceptional customer service. Beginning at the front desk, the host face hangry crowds all the time but will always greet you with a smile. To work around that, they provide complimentary fruits and snacks in the waiting area to partially offset the long wait times. But the experience really starts once your table is ready as they thoroughly explain where everything is in the restaurant, and will gladly explain the concept of hotpot itself for those who trying this dining experience out for the first time. Furthermore, therte are far more staff roaming around the restaurant allowing for the servers to focus on their handful of tables to ensure that all the needs of the guest are being met.

Verdict
Dolar Shop provides exception food, delivered by great customer service inside a stunning atmosphere. Everything sounds perfect up to this point, and it really would have been if I did not have to worry about the bill. Per guest, there is a relatively standard $3.99 charge for access to any sauces/fruits alongside a minimum price of $6.99 for a soup/broth per person. The items pictured above was just about right for two people and the grand total for this meal was $112.99 before gratuity. A steep price to say the very least, but it was certainly worth it. Coming to Dolar Shop is an experience, not just a meal on its own. So for those who have heard or are wondering about going to the Dolar Shop, they certainly do not disappoint.

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