A wave of pranks labelled “sushi terrorism” has made people think twice about Japan’s iconic conveyor belt restaurant chain, Kura Sushi. The company is driving changes in the way it serves the signature dish and now also resulting in arrests.
Several videos went viral on social media that showed the unhygienic behavior of the restaurant’s staff which outraged the diners. The social media campaigns are threatening the multibillion-dollar ‘kaitenzushi’ company, which is well-known for its high standards of cleanliness.
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A viral video showed a teenager wiping saliva on a plate of sushi after having licked the rim of a cup and placed it back on the rack. Another video showed a diner spraying food with hand sanitizer as it rolled past.
Aichi police arrested two men, aged 21 and 19, and a 15-year-old girl in connection with the viral video said to show one of them drinking directly from a communal bottle of soy sauce, the police told the Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.
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The incident occurred on February 3 at the central Nagoya city store of Kaitenzushi run by the Kura Sushi chain. The company said in a statement that it would do everything it could to protect conveyor belt sushi, which has been embedded in Japanese culture for decades.
Kura Sushi is a Japanese sushi restaurant food chain headquartered in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture. The chain has 451 stores in Japan, 22 in Taiwan and 30 in the United States.
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The food service highly relies on automation with standard operating procedures. The conveyor belt sushi chain allows an average location to function with fifteen to twenty staff members.
The restaurant uses a robot it calls “KuraB the Kurabot,” which delivers food and beverages. However, employees also supply the orders themselves.