A restaurant in China has caused a nationwide commotion by requiring guests to weigh their own weight at the entrance. The policy came about with good intentions as part of a nationwide campaign against food waste, the so-called Clean Your Plate campaign – or ‘eat your plate empty’, but it was met with strong criticism.
The restaurant in Changsha, the capital of the southern province of Hunan, placed two large scales at the entrance of the building this week, according to the BBC. Customers had to step on the scale and enter their personal information through an app, which then offered them a variety of dishes to order, depending on their weight and the calories of each meal.
In the restaurant itself, customers were also urged not to order too much food. Large plates were placed along with the dining tables with texts such as “Be economical and conscientious, prefer empty plates”. The ultimate goal was to combat food waste, a national problem in China.
In a televised address, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the population to stop throwing food away. The corona pandemic and severe flooding have pushed food prices in the country through the ceiling. According to Xi Jinping, this is worrying, he even describes the level of food waste in China as “shocking”.
In response, several large catering companies urged customers to order one dish less than usual in an attempt to overturn the deep-rooted cultural habit of ordering extra food.
The restaurant in question in Changsha thought it would do well to serve a maximum number of dishes based on personal data. Still, it was particularly hit on the Chinese social media network Weibo. The restaurant has been accused of fat-shaming by hundreds of millions of users.
In a statement today, the owner of the restaurant is buried in the dust. “Our goal was to show that we are against food waste and to encourage food order healthily. We have never forced our customers to weigh themselves.” The two scales that were placed at the entrance have since been removed.