Restaurant In China Apologises For Weighing Customers Amid Food Waste Crackdown
The beef restaurant in the central city of Changsha, asked customers to stand on a scale upon entry into the restaurant, with their data submitted on an app. Diners were then recommended meal choices based on their calorific content, according to a report by the state-run China News Service, referenced by AFP.
The restaurant also displayed signs that read 'be thrifty and diligent, promote empty plates' and 'operation empty plate'.
The initiative was launched yesterday (Friday) but it was heavily criticised on social media, with hashtags related to the incident viewed more than 300 million times on platform Weibo.
The restaurant subsequently issued an apology this morning and said it was 'deeply sorry' for the offence caused.
It said: "Our original intentions were to advocate stopping waste and ordering food in a healthy way. We never forced customers to weigh themselves."
The restaurant's implementation of the unorthodox policy comes after President Xi Jinping launched a campaign on Tuesday to fight food waste.
He said the amount of food that goes to waste in the country is 'shocking and distressing' and people have been urged to order one plate less than the number of diners when eating out - dubbed the 'N-1' system.
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According to state news agency Xinhua, Jinping said: "Waste is shameful and thriftiness is honourable.
"Who knows that of our meal in the dish, every grain comes after hard toil? We should still maintain a sense of crisis about food security. The impact of this year's Covid-19 pandemic has sounded the alarm."
The N-1 system hasn't been warmly welcomed though, as in China it is custom to order more food than is needed, with empty plates often seen as a sign of bad hosting. What's more, many people feel the policy will hit the poorest the hardest.
Writing on Weibo, one person said: "What if one person goes to a restaurant alone? How many dishes can he order? Zero?"
Another added: "This seems aimed at us bottom class, but we are already thrifty. This will mean nothing to the rich."
A third commented: "This level of control. Even the number of dishes people order has to be regulated?"
The need to tackle food waste in the country is more vital than ever, with severe flooding in recent weeks wiping out masses of crops, and the economy suffering following lockdown.
Featured Image Credit: The Paper
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