Restaurants must reconsider cheap gimmicks

Following the fiasco over fake beef-balls, Trade Description Ordinance is casting a watchful eye on restaurants and food suppliers.

So-called "bait advertising" and "misleading omissions" will not be tolerated under the new guidelines, meaning merchants must provide full information in the sales material.

Other false trade descriptions include labels of origins for foods that are not actually from that location, Fuji apples or Yangcheng Lake hairy crab, for example, must to be from that exact region in China and Japan.

Foods originating from a certain region but harvested in another area must be labelled as such.

Though the guidelines don't require restaurants to provide official certificates to back up their origins, it does cast a more watchful eye for restaurants, who all say the new ordinance doesn't affect them just yet.

French Creations, which houses restaurants like Saint-Germain, Le Boudoir, and French-American Bistro and who boasts exported ingredients from France, outright said no for any effects from the new law.

Garry Bissett, director of marketing at Dining Concepts - which overseas offerings like the BLT series, Lupa and Bouchon - said being straightforward with its menu option is key.

"We're always honest in our marketing because we have a customer base to protect," he said.

"Anybody who's doing the wrong thing is pretty stupid in terms of doing business."

Paul Hicks (pictured), CEO of Grestad Hicks Communications, which manages clients like Morton's Steakhouse and Sevva, agreed with Bissett, adding the ordinance would set a new standard for restaurants.

"We would always urge our clients to communicate with truth and integrity, so I do not think the new ordinance will make any difference in that respect," he said.

"But what it will do is make it harder for those with less integrity to be misleading in their communications, which can only be good news for quality restaurant operators."