On August 17, WeChat screenshots of conversations between staff and management at Japanese sushi restaurant Sushiro began circulating online. Managers within the establishment in Fuli Haizhu City, in Guangzhous Haizhu district, told staff they were forbidden from speaking Cantonese during work time.
Workers were told these were prohibited to speak Cantonese because other staff and customers originated from different provinces and, therefore, they ought to only speak Mandarin, whatever dialect customers used.
Staff was also told that when these were caught speaking Cantonese (or swearing) they might be severely punished.
A screenshot of the store manager’s message saying anyone caught speaking Cantonese ought to be reported to him and you will be punished.
This new regulation was quickly pounced upon by netizens on Weibo, Douyin, Xiaohongshu and Dazhong Dianping, where numerous Cantonese-speaking users strongly condemned Sushiro and its own manager.
Netizens argued that to use a restaurant in Cantonese-speaking areas, Sushiro should follow the traditions of this area. Moreover, lots of people said they might never visit Sushiro again and also have started giving the restaurant bad reviews on Dianping, Chinas version of Yelp.
On a single day, Sushiro apologized for the managers mistake. The business claimed that it never banned workers from speaking Cantonese, only suggesting that staff should prioritize Mandarin.
In addition they said that the store manager will undoubtedly be punished.
Regardless of the apology, many netizens believe that Sushiro didn’t sympathize with Cantonese-speaking staff.
As a foreign-owned enterprise, Sushiro faced problems when entering the Chinese market.
The restaurant was founded in 1984 in Japan and found China in 2017. Its known for low-priced sushi.
Sushiro began developing in the Southeast Asia market after sales dropped in Japan. It has opened around 40 stores across China, Singapore and South Korea, with seven of said stores in Guangzhou.
However, multiple management incidents have occurred.
In Hong Kong, workers were forced to speak Japanese. In Japan, Sushiro faked Japanese Unagi with Chinese Unagi. In addition, it had no sea urchin sushi in 98.1% of the stores, despite them claiming that kind of sushi was their specialty.
[Images via Weibo]