One Japanese sushi chain is hoping artificial intelligence will help it prevent food tampering — something that’s recently become a nationwide cause for concern.
Insider’s Aaron McDade reported last Friday that “sushi terrorism” has been plaguing Japan’s conveyor belt restaurants. The hashtag “#寿司テロ”, or “sushi terror” started trending on social media after prank videos became public, wherein customers took food items, utensils, and soy sauce bottles off the sushi belt and licked or touched them before returning them to the belt for other unsuspecting customers.
Kura Sushi, a conveyor belt sushi chain, said it’s planning to deploy cameras powered by AI technology to track suspicious customer behavior, Nikkei Asia reported on Wednesday. The AI cameras are slated to be installed nationwide by March, per the news outlet.
The restaurant had already been using cameras — mainly to count plates on the belt and calculate the bill. Modifications are now underway which will help detect suspicious behavior and alert the restaurants’ employees, the outlet reported.
The sushi terror phenomenon gained momentum when a prank video taken at a Gifu city outpost of another sushi chain, Sushiro, went viral. It showed a young male customer licking his fingers and touching the food.
—滝沢ガレソ🪚 (@takigare3) January 29, 2023
The young prankster had since apologized but Sushiro said it had filed a police report, per Bloomberg.
Sushi fans in Japan were so repulsed by these prank videos, that it’s even weighing on the stock prices of these sushi restaurants.
Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Food & Life Companies Co. Ltd, Sushiro’s parent company, saw its share prices drop 4.8% on February 2 as the prank video circulated.
Representatives of Kura Sushi did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.