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Sweet misery: Japanese sushi chain sorry for cake that failed to match ad photos

This image from the Sushiro Cafe website shows the marketing photo for the matcha and chocolate with smooth cream cake. The photo shows how removing the plastic film around the cake allows the cream to flow over the cake's edges.

TOKYO -- The parent firm of major conveyor-belt sushi chain Akindo Sushiro Co. has apologized after at least one customer complained that one of the chain's desserts looked nothing like its marketing photos.

    "We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers," Food & Life Companies Ltd. said in a statement regarding Suita, Osaka Prefecture-based Sushiro's "matcha" green tea and chocolate cake with smooth, thick cream.

    The cake's appeal as presented in Sushiro marketing materials is that it was covered in a generous dollop of thick, smooth cream sprinkled with green tea powder, all held together with a thin plastic film that, once removed, allowed the cream to flow over the cake's edges. However, one of the desserts served up at a restaurant in Hiroshima Prefecture in January this year appeared covered in lumpy cream, had no plastic film and no green tea powder.

    According to the 17-year-old high school student who ordered the cake, the eatery offered to remake the dessert for her when she pointed out how different it was from its photo. However, the replacement looked the same as the first cake.

    The matcha and chocolate with thick cream cake served at a Sushiro restaurant in Hiroshima Prefecture in January 2022 is seen in this photo provided by a reader.

    "This had never happened to me before," commented the student, who said she visited the Sushiro restaurant about once a month with her parents. "I was shocked and disappointed because the cake looked delicious in the picture and I'd been looking forward to it." She started going to a different conveyor-belt sushi chain after the cake incident.

    According to Food & Life, the matcha cake was a limited time menu item that first went on sale in April 2021. It was removed once but made a menu comeback that November. It is no longer being offered.

    The plastic film and cream topping were supposed to be applied just before serving.

    On June 9, Japan's Consumer Affairs Agency slapped Sushiro with an administrative order for false or misleading advertising by continuing to run an ad campaign for specials on sea urchin and crab that were in fact out of stock.

    A Food & Life spokesperson stated, "We will inform our stores to thoroughly adhere to the manual when selling similar products."

    (Japanese original by Tatsuro Ando, Digital News Center)

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