Gross pranksters hit sushi sales

A video of someone licking a soy sauce bottle caused a sushi restaurant’s parent company’s shares to dip.

Is nothing sacred? Apparently not, because Japan is dealing with #sushiterrorism.

Some grade-A dinguses have been tampering with plates at conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, causing a stir and a potential dip in sales.

Yoshiaki Shiraishi…

opened the first ”kaitenzushi” (“rotation sushi”) shop in Osaka in 1958. Plates moved along a conveyor belt for customers to grab, allowing Shiraishi to operate even when short-staffed.

Such shops boomed in the 1970s after one appeared at the Osaka World Expo.

They also do well in economic downturns thanks to how cheap they are to run, and thus, their affordable prices. The industry is now worth an estimated $5.7B in Japan, per The Guardian.

But now…

… they’re under attack via a gross trend dubbed “sushi terrorism,” per CNN.

A viral video shows a customer at Sushiro, a Japanese chain, licking his fingers before touching food, as well as a soy sauce bottle and a cup.

This would have been concerning before covid, but now carries an added worry — even if not widespread.

One analyst said it could damage sales for several months, and Sushiro’s parent company, Food & Life Cos. Ltd., saw shares fall 4.8% last week.

What can be done?

Sushiro is pressing charges against the licker, but also:

  • Sushiro replaced food with photos as a rotating menu, and will install acrylic barriers between diners and the belt.
  • Kura Sushi, another chain, has used AI-powered cameras since 2019 to collect data on what dishes people take. Now, it will use the cameras to monitor behavior.

BTW: Anime Sushi Police followed three investigators cracking down on inauthentic sushi. It wasn’t well-rated, but maybe now it’ll make a comeback?

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