Sushiro in Japan is no longer allowing plates of sushi to ride round and round the conveyor belts in its restaurants.
This was after a teen there was filmed licking a soya sauce bottle and utensils in an outlet in January 2023 as a prank, sparking a backlash and generating doubts about the hygiene levels of such self-service eateries.
Sora News 24 reported that Sushiro put up a notice on its website on Feb. 3 announcing three major changes in its Japan branches.
1. No more sushi riding on conveyor belts
The plates of sushi will stop travelling on conveyor belts that go around the eatery, but customers can still order what they want from the touchscreen panel and have the sushi delivered on the express conveyor belts.
This move will also help cut food waste as sushi that gets uneaten are usually thrown out.
2. Request for new utensils & condiments
Sushiro will allow customers to request for new utensils and condiments even though the practice of leaving the soya sauce bottles and utensils at tables for customers to help themselves will remain.
3. Install acrylic partitions
Sushiro also said it will be installing clear acrylic partitions between tables and the conveyor to prevent accidental or intentional touching of food on its way to the diner.
Sushiro is the largest and most popular kaitenzushi, or revolving sushi restaurant chain.
There are roughly 650 Sushiro outlets across Japan.
A young diner in Japan was filmed licking a soy sauce bottle and cup in a Sushiro outlet, prompting the company that operates the chain establishment to file a police report and seek out recourse in a civil and criminal capacity.
Given the unhygienic antics and negative public perception, Sushiro’s stock price fell by about ¥16.8 billion (S$171 million) in the wake of the incident.
Such pranks are not new.
They have been around since at least more than five years ago, and have only recently been popping up again as an anti-social trend.
The name for it in Japanese is “sushi tero”, or "sushi terrorism".
Top photo via Google Maps