Restaurant In China Apologises After Asking Diners To Weigh Themselves Before Ordering
A restaurant in central China has issued an apology after asking diners to weigh themselves before ordering.
The move came after the country introduced a national campaign against food waste, with President Xi Jinping calling the levels of wastage ‘shocking and distressing’.
In an attempt to limit the amount of food going uneaten, the Wuhan Catering Industry Association urged restaurants to limit the number of dishes served to diners, promoting a system where groups had to order one dish fewer than the number of diners.
As part of its efforts, the beef restaurant opted for its own controversial method to tackle food waste, which involved placing two large scales at its entrance.
Customers were asked to weigh themselves before entering their measurements into an app that would suggest menu items based on their results, taking into account the individual’s weight and the calorific value of each dish in the restaurant.
The restaurant had also pinned up signs reading ‘be thrifty and diligent, promote empty plates’ and ‘operation empty plate’.
Naturally, the restaurant’s approach to the campaign was met with backlash, with social media users slamming the method online. Hashtags about the restaurant have been viewed more than 300 million times on the social media platform Weibo, the BBC reports.
The restaurant has since responded to the complaints, with staff pointing out customers weren’t forced to take part in the system. They said they were ‘deeply sorry’ for the decision to use scales and claimed that they were simply trying to adhere to the Clean Plate Campaign.
The apology, posted online, continued:
Our original intentions were to advocate stopping waste and ordering food in a healthy way. We never forced customers to weigh themselves.
As well as urging restaurants to take action, Chinese state media has taken a stand against viral binge-eating videos, known as ‘mukbang’. Livestreaming platforms have also promised to shut down accounts promoting excess eating and food wastage.
The president’s decision to crack down on food waste comes after COVID-19 ‘sounded the alarm’ about the issue. The pandemic, combined with weeks of mass flooding, has led to an increase in food prices.
Floods across southern China left farms wrecked and ruined tons of produce, and President Jinping said China had to ‘maintain a sense of crisis about food security’.
In China it is said to be polite to order more than the amount needed, so it may take residents some time to get used to the new campaign.
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