Malatang restaurant blames ‘contract’ worker after viral video of feet on chopping board

Society & Culture

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A worker at a chain restaurant in Guangzhou has been fired (in Chinese) after a video of him resting his feet on a cutting board while preparing food went viral on the Chinese internet.

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Filmed by a diner, the video shows the worker chopping raw meat on a board with his feet comfortably placed on the board. The whole environment in the back kitchen appears to be extremely unhygienic: Scraps are scattered on the floor and the room is dim.

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The video was filmed at a branch of Yangguofu Malatang 杨国福麻辣烫, a well-known chain restaurant with more than 1,200 locations across the country that serves málà tàng 麻辣烫, a Sichuanese dish of meat and vegetables cooked in spicy broth.

Yangguofu Malatang released a statement soon after confirming the clip’s authenticity. It said that the worker featured in the video was a contractor who hadn’t received much training before he started working, and that he had been fired. “Our management system is strict, but there is little we can do with contractors,” the restaurant said, vowing to improve its supervision in the future.

The revelation of the worker’s job identity as a “contractor” shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who’s been following the news in China long enough. Two recent cases: In May, a local government in Hunan laid off (in Chinese) two “contractors” after people found there were 53 opium poppies growing in the backyard of a government building. Last year, a Jiangsu government official who was caught (in Chinese) playing mobile games during work hours turned out to be a “contractor.”

In a commentary article (in Chinese) published by The Paper, the author criticizes Yangguofu Malatang for placing most of the blame on its employee rather than on itself: “You hired him. You made the decision. And when he caused trouble for you, you just threw him under the bus.”