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Photo of Pizza Hut employee with dough on his face causes stir

46 Comments

Kentucky Fried Chicken Japan, which owns the Pizza Hut chain, has apologized after a photo showing a Pizza Hut employee with dough covering his face, caused a stir on Twitter.

According to KFC Japan, the photo was taken on May 9 at Pizza Hut's Takaido outlet in Tokyo's Suginami Ward, Sankei Shimbun reported Wednesday. In the photo, a part-time worker "wears" the dough like a face mask. He then posted the photo of himself on Twitter on Aug 18, with the comment "You can't breathe through pizza."

KFC said the photo was taken after the store had closed for the day and that the dough, which was past its expiry time, did not get used in any pizzas delivered to customers.

In a statement to media, KFC apologized for the worker's "juvenile behavior" and said it will train its staff more strictly in order to regain customers' trust, Sankei reported. The part-time worker in question, a university student, has since been fired, KFC said.

This is the second incident in two months involving a prank in the food business. In July, a Lawson franchise in Kamobe, Kochi Prefecture, lost its license after the 21-year-old son of the franchisee uploaded a photograph of himself in the store’s freezer onto Facebook.

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46 Comments
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Ugh... This was not a "prank". Just a photo op. I understand it's inappropriate, unprofessional behavior, but to say that it somehow will poison us all is a little much, no?

8 ( +12 / -4 )

There have been a lot of pictures lately of food service workers trying to outdo each other. None of it is all that funny. Maybe the new generation of kiddies are just messed up in the head.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Actually, it's at least the fourth recent incident in which a young part-time worker did something stupid, posted it to Twitter, and got sacked. There was the Bronco Billy steak house employee photographed inside a refrigerator (not the walk-in type), and the teenaged employee of the Marugen Ramen restaurant photographed with a frozen sausage in her mouth and holding a package of some kind of food. The latter was posted with a comment about the fun they had screwing around and all the stuff they stole. Both restaurants not only apologized, but have also voluntary closed their doors until they believe they can once again ensure their sanitary conditions and the behavior of their staff. It's hard to imagine an American establishment voluntary shutting down temporarily after something like this.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I think twitter and facebook is doing a lot to smash the whole myth of how well behaved staff here are. About time. Tip of the iceburg and just goes to show that staff here behaves like staff all over the world. Nothing surprising nor shocking about any of this.

Oh and let's not forget the picture of the conbini guy in the freezer!

0 ( +11 / -11 )

No no no... in Japan youngsters don't get to stretch their adolescence much. Maybe this is a way of reaching out to the world saying " it's fun to be human!!!!" and everybody else just has their thumb up their arse.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@tmarie

you are really stretching the point when you are trying to argue that restaurant staff in japan are the same as in other parts of the world. in the US, that dough would have been served to a customer. in japan, the kids just threw it away. japan is hyper conscious about cleanliness, so small news like this gets played up (and because it's JT).

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Love the knee jerk reaction from the companies

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Take some chill pill people. Seriously, maybe customer service in Japan is known to be top in world, but the people behind them do so because they're following a strict rule on how and how not to behave, not because they're inherently happy and wish nothing but pass on their happiness to the customers ... robots can do that better.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Kabuki?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Hey look, it's "The Scream" painting by Edvard Munch. It's very popular in Japan.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Oh for crying out loud, the dude has a little fun with some pizza dough which is not used in any pizzas after the store is closed, and people go ballistic.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

It's No Face (Kaonashi) from "Spirited Away"!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If this is the worst thing that's happening in fast food places, I'm pretty happy. I worked fast food a lot in my younger days, and I know EXACTLY what COULD be going on. And, before the high and mighty come down and tell me I should have reported those responsible, I was 15, and it was often the managers doing the nastiest things. Yep. Dough about to be thrown away, pressed to his face for a photo op? Goofy, yeah, fireable?! Hardly. Write him up, put him on the lamest station for a week, and forget about it.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

another by product of the Twitter etc mania that leads to the positing of totlally inane stuff without any thought of the possible consequences. Including overreaction from employers, the public, JT'ers etc.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Another non-issue brought to you by the ratings hungry media. 15 seconds of my life wasted, thank you.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

A friend of mine who is a lawyer told me that most people who are in jail are there because they told someone what they did. This led others to tell the police in order to get a better deal for themselves.

This relates to this article in the same manner. Just because you have a smart phone and facebook or whatever social media one may use, it probably isn't a great idea to post when you do silly stuff at work on them for the world to see.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Very creative, can nearly see his face... the other guy slept in the ice cream fridge of Lawson's.... they should start up a movie, Jackass Japan!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

These pranks have been going on in the service industry for years.and if you think they haven't , just remember never upset the hand that serves you. Just that now they have to share their pranks with the world via the internet.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The only reason this is ANY kind of news/big deal is because the idiot posted it on one of, if not THE, most public forums in the world.

It's the kind of thing that you do after you finish work, take a photo, and show it to your friends, but you don't go posting it for everyone to see (especially since Twitter is dominating in Japan).

Good to hear that Pizza Hutt are just as strict as they should be, when it comes to the disposal of food past the expiry date too. Heard horror stories of the expiry-date-fixing they do in Subway, in Europe.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"What toppings would you like, sir?"

"A bit of spit and a couple of bogies please."

"Certainly, sir. Coming right up."

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

A little fun at work can't hurt anyone. No big harm here.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Pull your head out of the sand and look around your local eateries. Chefs smoking, nose picking, not washing hands after touching money or going to the toilet... On second thoughts, leave your head in the sand.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

the dude has a little fun with some pizza dough which is not used in any pizzas after the store is closed

But the customers do not know this. There have been instances where employees have been filmed putting bodily secretions in food and served it to the customers, and even tho these guys may have thrown the food away afterwards, this doesn't really give the business a healthy reputation.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Disgusting!!!

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Actually, it's at least the fourth recent incident in which a young part-time worker did something stupid, posted it to Twitter, and got sacked.

Considering the many millions of various meals served every day in the food industry that's not a bad percentage. At least they left their crappy, low-paid jobs in a blaze of publicity! The fact is when you eat any kind of restaurant food, you can never be 100% sure that it is unadulterated (unless you actually observe the complete preparation process). I've come to the conclusion that it is better not to think about it and just try to enjoy your meal.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

When I was a kid, our favorite pizza place was a one store shop downtown run by a guy of Italian decent (or maybe born in Italy) named Orlando. That guy made great pizza! He would work and spin the dough with his bare hands. And every time I went he would give (and other kids) a ball of dough to play with. I would it outside and throw it around. It would get dirt and sand and other stuff in it.

Luckily there was no twitter back then, cause surely somebody would have taken a picture of dirty dough with Orlando's sign in the back and ruined him.

Now, for me, I did not expect this dough was used on a pizza. I mean its possible, but if so, is the difference so great than if his hands touched it? I don't think so. What concerns me is the very real stories (not in Japan) of people getting hepatitis because someone in the kitchen had it and put their poo in their food.

My upbringing imparted me with this little thing called priorities. Face oil burns off in the pizza oven, of that I am sure.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Trapped, 100% agree! Health and safety here is a joke for the most part!

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I think twitter and facebook is doing a lot to smash the whole myth of how well behaved staff here are. About time. Tip of the iceburg and just goes to show that staff here behaves like staff all over the world. Nothing surprising nor shocking about any of this.

You're exactly right tmarie. Actually there was a TV show on last night I think it was showing numerous other incidents in Japan. People sleeping on heaps of bread rolls using them as a mattress, sleeping in refrigerators etc. It was all pretty horrendous. And like you I'm sure that for every pic that was shown publicly there would be a lot more they are kept safely locked away on phones and camera. Just the tip of the iceberg.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I have no idea why this is news, but this individual has just invented the "fast-food face mask"

Stick some fries or pepperoni on the forehead for a more dramatic effect. This in not real food anyway so I don't see why people are upset. It is upsetting that people actually believe this is food - if that is the case then try living off of Pizza Hit for a month (SuperSize Me! challenge).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What a berk!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nothing to see here; move along folks.

I've worked in the service industry in both Japan and England. Japanese workers are a hundred times more interested in customers' welfare and in doing a good job. 90% of English people I worked with didn't give a monkey's. Why, I have no idea.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I'm more concerned about the hundreds..no thousands of norovirus cases every year than a bunch of pranks. Can't wait for that twitter pic.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

tmarie -- If "health and safety here is a joke" I wonder what it could be classified as in ANY of the other countries that I've lived!

It also makes me wonder what a sheltered life you must have lived! Personally Ifind it refreshing that some Of these Japanese youngsters are actually acting somewhat normal by most standards; stupid, yes, but normal. I can from a first person perspective say that MUCH worse things went on at McDonalds, and that was almost 40 years ago! Japan is still actually quite "cute" , for lack of a better word, in this regard. Slap the guy on the wrist, give him a boring job for a few days, and get on with business!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

A little fun at work can't hurt anyone. No big harm here.

Yes, I think everyone loves eating pizza with dough that was worn on an employee's face. How about having ice cream that was sat on?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Matt Thorn: It's hard to imagine an American establishment voluntary shutting down temporarily after something like this.

Utterly ridiculous! First, what does the U.S. have to do with a Japanese employee being an idiot and a restaurant in Japan voluntarily closing down? Second, why should they voluntarily close down? The workers should have been properly supervised and trained from the beginning and his having done this should have no connection to the overall sanitary conditions of the place. What are they going to do, throw out everything this guy might have touched? Props to you though for yet again, managing to slamming the U.S. with a total non sequitur.

rickyvee: you are really stretching the point when you are trying to argue that restaurant staff in japan are the same as in other parts of the world. in the US, that dough would have been served to a customer. in japan, the kids just threw it away. japan is hyper conscious about cleanliness,

Ahhh.... I think you're the one stretching the point. Neither country is perfect but to suggest that the dough would have been served in the U.S. is just silly. Additionally, if Japan is so "hyper conscious about cleanliness" please explain the multitude of times I've seen wait and cook staff sneeze right into their hands without so much as using a sanitary wipe afterwards or play with their hair while at the counter or the four times I've had food poisoning here, not to mention all of the annual cases of school food poisonings or the number of times I've seen wait staff wipe tables with the oshibori that had been used by the customer who just vacated the table or the number of times I've seen cockroaches in restaurants in broad daylight, or the lack of an regulatory oversight organization such as OSHA? A ramen shop in my old neighborhood used to have mice running around the place after they closed for the night. You could see them running around the old window frame in the sliding doors and on the counters. At least I think they were mice. It always creeped me out too much to look too closely.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Seapig, while I agree this case is ridiculous since the store was closed, I would agree with others that Japan's food safety record is poor at best. There simply isn't the legislation or regulation in place to ensure customers are getting food that is safe to eat. No developed country I know of has a worse record in terms of outbreaks of "food poisoning" (as they call it in general news articles, but there are many types of things that can cause "food poisoning", one being Cdiff - a bacteria only found in faeces, which has caused several outbreaks in Japan in recent times), and this is because the culture of Japan is one where people are seen as trustworthy and therefore wouldn't do anything to hurt people. Unfortunately, most poor food hygiene exists through inaction rather than action, and while a Japanese chef may be unlikely to purposefully do something to someone's food, a general lack of knowledge and general food hygiene maintenance is what causes the problems.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

valekt: Heard horror stories of the expiry-date-fixing they do in Subway, in Europe.

Really? And you don't remember all of the recent food scandals in Japan involving selling Brazilian chicken labeled as Japanese, Vietnamese salt labeled as Japanese, mixed-rice sold as single variety, American beef sold as Japanese. A few years ago thousands of people were sickened by Snow Brand milk, which had been sold past its expiration date. In 2000, a sailors' union survey of fish shops found that only 10 percent of packages of sliced raw tuna were correctly labeled. Meat Hope ring any bells? In 2007 it admitted that it had falsely mislabeled nearly all of its products, including ordinary beef passed off as high grade beef, and sold products that were past their expiration date. Fujiya shipped about 14,600 mislabeled cream puffs after expanding their expiration dates. An investigation revealed that the products contained 10 times the amount of bacteria permitted by law. Yes, as tmarie said, the tip of the iceberg.

Short memories and rose-colored glasses are wonderful things.

http://www.japanprobe.com/2007/11/01/food-scandal-map-of-japan/ http://factsanddetails.com/japan.php?itemid=656&catid=18

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not sheltered at all. The myth of cleanliness and safety here is a joke. As someone mentioned, cooks smoking over food, folks not washing their hands after using the bathrooms, numerous scandals with relabeling food... I have to wonder what kind of sheltered life YOU'VE been living if you believe the bleating that goes on here.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

and said it will train its staff more strictly

Lesson One, this is how not to make the crust. LOL

They said it was after hours and was never used for making pizzas. I see no harm and just idiots having some fun at work. No big deal in this case, they just threw out the dough any way (I hope).

They could regain customers trust by actually putting some generous servings on top instead of the thin spattering or ingredients they usually do.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Been more than covered on here...

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2013/08/20/digital/chain-stores-suffer-part-timers-stupidity-on-the-web/#at_pco=tcb-1.0&at_ord=5

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@tmarie

Just returned from an extended trip that included China, the Philippines, and the US. And although it may not be fair to compare those countries to Japan, those are the countries I've recently been so It's only natural to make a comparison.

That being said there is NO comparison! Especially in the context of this article. Well perhaps there is more stupid fun in the US and more criminal negligence in China, with the Philippines falling some where between. If you have some statistics that back up what you "feel" I would to see them. That doesn't mean Japan shouldn't try to improve and never allow itself to sink to the levels I observed in some of the countries I visited on my last trip!

The good and bad thing about the Internet is it allows a small group with outlandish ideals make a lot of noise. In the end though, a more objective view usually prevails, thankfully!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Seapig: See the list in my post above for the most recent food scandals in Japan. Those were only the ones that were uncovered. Perhaps some posters wouldn't find it so annoying if it weren't for having to listen to the ridiculously incorrect comments about how Japan is ultra-concerned about food safety when that has been proven wrong numerous times and often with fatal consequences. Yes, the streets are clean. Yes, is is probably cleaner than many places in the Philippines and China. Yes, food service places generally "look" clean but how something appears to a quick glance or inattentive eye is a bit different from reality. My mother worked in the food service industry and you might be amazed to learn how difficult it is to achieve passing scores on sanitation and safety checks. Is there an equivalent of OSHA in Japan? What is it? How are standards achieved here? Why have there been so many food scandals? The recent explosion which resulted in 2 deaths and nearly 60 injuries at a fireworks festival in Kyoto was a direct result of a lack of food safety. Food safety doesn't just mean that the food itself is safe but that the environment surrounding the preparation and service are also safe. But then again, if there is such a lax attitude about the safety of the preparation and service environment how good is the sanitation?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yes, ambrosia, I saw your list. My point was that, even though Japan has room to improve, a list in China, Philippines, and many other places would be exponentially longer and would be no comparison!

Keep working on improvement but don't make ridicules comparisons not based on fact, or if you feel they are based on fact, let's see some statistical data of the comparisons.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Stay on topic please. References to other countries are not relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seapig: Keep working on improvement but don't make ridicules comparisons not based on fact

Please read more carefully my first post since you seem to have missed it.

Utterly ridiculous! First, what does the U.S. have to do with a Japanese employee being an idiot and a restaurant in Japan voluntarily closing down?

I didn't compare Japan to any other countries except to ask what the Japanese equivalent of OSHA was, which is not a comparison but a simple question about whether or not they have a work health and safety group.

It was the people, specifically Matt Thorn, valket, lucabrasi, oh, and you, who were raving about Japan's supposed obsession with cleanliness and comparing it to other countries. Again, I made no comparisons. All I did was provide a list of scandals which countered the claims. If you had carefully read all of the other posts and not been so quick to jump on tmarie's and my comment because you don't like what we said you'd have realized that.

There's no need for comparison and quite frankly, I don't see the point. I live here and eat here so this is the country who's food safety and sanitation concerns me. As for wanting "some statistical data of the comparisons", that's a bit of the pot calling the kettle black isn't it or were you not the one who brought up anecdotal evidence about two other Asian countries in comparison to Japan?

If you have an issue with Japan's well-known history of food scandals being brought up in relation to a very recent Japanese restaurant scandal, or "prank" as it's incorrectly being called, that's a problem for you alone to deal with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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