Reducing food waste is a noble goal for any restaurant, but it’s a terrible idea to go too far, like one Beijing restaurant that was recently caught reusing customers’ leftover food in dishes for other guests.
According to Shanghaiist, Han Li Xuan Barbecued Meat Market in Beijing, part of a Korean barbecue chain with an all-you-can-eat buffet, was caught in an illicit food-recycling program by a pair of intrepid undercover reporters who filmed employees collecting meat from customers’ trays and re-serving it to unwitting guests.
Acting on tips from restaurant employees, two reporters from Beijing News reportedly applied for jobs at the restaurant. Both were hired after an interview that allegedly lasted less than three minutes, and were quickly brought into the food-mishandling fold.
On their first day, the reporters noticed that “after the lunch rush, more than 10 trays were filled with food remains from other customers, including fish, lunch meat, prawns, beef and watermelon slices,” Shanghaiist’s Jennifer Hui wrote. The food was tidied up and re-plated in the kitchen, then served again to the next crowd of customers.
“All these food remains and uncooked food need to be sent to the back kitchen and taken out from the front kitchen. Then, no one suspects anything,” one employee allegedly told one of the undercover reporters.