Michelin-Starred Restaurant in Hong Kong Fines Staff for Yawning, Oversized Portions

Supervisors, chefs, and other staff must all adhere to a strict list of disciplinary rules

The list of staff requirements appears to be a violation of Hong Kong labor laws. 

At Lei Garden, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hong Kong, the guidelines for proper staff etiquette are more stringent than others. Offenses like yawning, cursing, and serving oversized portions are all subject to fines up to 100 HKD (approximately $13) per infraction, according to the South China Morning Post.

In total, there are 23 punishable offenses, according to a photo of the list posted to a Facebook group for restaurant employees. The photo was dated May 2013, so it’s not clear whether the rules still stand, though it’s a little hard to imagine when the restaurant would have reversed course.

Other infractions include stretching, using toothpicks, and other “indecent” behaviors. Chefs who exceed the portion size indicated on the menu are also fined, for causing the restaurant to lose money. The system also includes a “demerit” system, for any employee whose service is criticized by a customer.

According to the South China Morning Post, the penalty list is a breach of the Employment Ordinance, and the restaurant could face fines up to 100,000 HKD (approximately $13,000), plus jail time for those responsible.


Staff at Lei Garden told the publication that they were not aware of the list, and the restaurant has not provided a comment.