Over the last few months, a series of restaurant scandals have been front page news in Japan. Several pricey eateries have admitted to lying about their menus. Establishments Sega owns, it seems, did as well. Yes, Sega runs restaurants in Japan.
As The Guardian's Justin McCurry reported, luxury hotels and restaurants duped patrons by giving false menu descriptions, listing pricey ingredients. Instead, they used cheaper ones. This began when an Osaka hotel chain confessed to misleading customers, leading to the group's president to resign and, so far, a ¥20 million ($200,000) refund for 10,000 customers. It's believed that 78,000 patrons were duped between 2006 and last October.
Other hotels and restaurant chains have also admitted to misleading patrons. Now, Sega is the latest to follow suit, issuing an apology this week. Seventeen restaurants managed by Sega Entertainment or two restaurants in a Sega-run shopping and amusement complex mislead customers with menus that did not accurately describe the meals served.
For example, at a couple of Sega Entertainment's "Bee" darts and dining establishments, the menu listed "organic tomatoes". However, the tomatoes served weren't. At the Bee's in Tokyo's Ginza (pictured above and below), "diced beef steak" was actually beef injected with beef tallow. Others listed ingredients that were from Hokkaido, Japan. They actually came from abroad, which is usually cheaper than Japan's pricey domestically produced food.
The controversy is that customers feel cheated, and the restaurants used less expensive ingredients to cut costs — and thus, overcharge patrons. In short, this was a false bill of goods. To add insult to injury, the Bee establishment was available for weddings, and this admission could leave a bad taste in some newlyweds' mouths.
Sega offered a "profound apology" and said it was ensuring this wouldn't happen again. This looks to be the result of a lack of awareness on Sega's part, and it's good to see the company take responsibility. For customers who have meal receipts, Sega is offering meal coupons.
Photos: Party Label