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Restaurants Hit Back at Viral TikTokers Who Stole Ingredients for a Prank

Done in bad taste.
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TikTok duo Chuck and Joe are under fire from the F&B industry for a viral prank done in bad taste. Restaurant Owners of the Philippines (RestoPH) have called out the so-called influencers for a video that shows them stealing togarashi, a Japanese spice, from a Japanese restaurant.

In the video, it shows one of the duo repeatedly asking for extra servings of togarashi, and secretly transferring the spice to a personal jar to take home. They defended the prank, saying that they were promoting not letting things go to waste and they weren't promoting stealing.

They also defended that they weren’t stealing, as the extra servings of the spice were given to them by the server. They noted that not everyone understood the humor in the situation, and apologized for the video.

However, the video, which has now been set to private, has riled Filipino restaurant owners and employees. The F&B industry has seen countless restaurants close and thousands of employees lose their jobs, so this is no laughing matter. 

Calling the video “irresponsible,” RestoPH criticized the influencers, saying that “their intention to deceive was crystal clear,” as the video explicitly voices, “do not make eye contact” and “no one will ever know.”

“We wish it to be made clear that we consider what they did as a form of theft; and once promoted on social media, theft no longer becomes petty. Restaurant losses are not casual matters to be used for a ‘social experiment,’” wrote RestoPH in an official statement.

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The spice might seem like a small cost to those outside the F&B industry, but when restaurants are barely breaking even, small things count. 

Adding that restaurants are currently struggling to stay afloat, the restaurant owners of RestoPH argued that the video could have a negative effect on the impressionable youth and the thousands who rely on the F&B industry for job security.

“We, the members of RestoPH, appreciate influencers’ contributions, but the quest for ‘views’ and ‘hits’ must be balanced with integrity. May we also enjoin other social media personalities to avoid creating content that clearly disrespects an industry and its workers. We are hopeful of the public’s support, as these kinds of acts should not be emulated for virality and ‘comedy.’”

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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