Restaurant chain lost £145m in value after dead rat found in soup

Chinese restaurant chain Xiabu Xiabu saw its market value slide by £145 million after video footage emerged on social media of a diner fishing out a dead rat from a bowl of bubbling broth.

The chain, which is known for its ‘hot pot’ – a dish which involves diners cooking their own vegetables and other ingredients in a large bowl of simmering broth – took a hit after the footage emerged last week.

Weifang.sdnews.com reported that a customer at an Xiabu Xiabu outlet based in Weifang city in the Shandong province found a dead rat in a hotpot meal on 6 September.

Xiabu Xiabu Catering Management China Holdings Co. share prices fell by as much as 11% in Hong Kong on 11 September, but have since risen to HK$10.68 from a HK$9.64 low. On 5 September, the day before the incident, share prices closed at HK$12.16.

In a statement published on 8 September on Weibo, which has since been deleted, the restaurant chain stated that a preliminary investigation had found that restaurant hygiene or operational reasons were not responsible for the rat ending up in the dish.

The branch has since been ordered to suspend operations while authorities have also stated that it faces charges relating to stagnant water and purchasing food from unlicensed suppliers.

The customer, a pregnant woman, is reported to be undergoing a medical check-up before deciding on compensation money.

As reported by Kankan News, the woman and her husband were offered the equivalent of £559 in compensation by the restaurant at the time of the incident.

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