Beijing-based restaurant Xiabu Xiabu lost millions in market value after a pregnant woman found a dead rat in its hot pot last week.
The discovery at one of the chain’s outlets in Weifang, Shandong province on Sept. 6 prompted massive backlash after its manager offered the woman 20,000 yuan ($2,900) so she can opt for an abortion.
The case immediately reached authorities, which launched a sanitary inspection but found no pressing violations.
While the outlet had been shut down, Xiabu Xiabu maintained in a now-deleted statement that it was “impossible” for the rat to emerge from hygiene issues.
As a result of the incident, Xiabu Xiabu’s stock price dipped nearly 12.5% by Sept. 11, its lowest point in almost a year, the New York Times reported.
That drop translates to 1.3 billion yuan ($190 million) lost in market value, though the company has since managed to make gradual gains.
Xiabu Xiabu, a popular hot pot restaurant across China, is determined to get to the bottom of the incident.
“We have set up a task force to carry out an in-depth investigation into this incident, and will also invite third-party authorities to help us clarify the truth,” representative Catherine Gao told the NY Times.
Still, it can take a while before the company regains its customers’ trust.
BBC quoted netizens as saying:
“Xiabu Xiabu has always been one of my favourite restaurants, I thought they were quite clean as well… I can’t believe this.”
“I feel like vomiting. I’m never going to eat hotpot outside again.”
“If something happens to her baby how are they going to compensate her? Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?”