Whole Foods opened a new Whole Foods 365 site in Long Beach, California this week, and the company faces fierce criticism after it has been revealed that the site contains a restaurant called Yellow Fever.
"Ready for lunch? #YellowFeverEats has set you up with fresh, custom-made bowls in our brand new # LongBeach365 location ̵
The response in social media has been fast, and many people said they were appalled by the name of the restaurant.
Yellow fever is a deadly disease transmitted by mosquitoes, and it is also a colloquial term for the sexual fetishization of Asian women.
"Geez, nothing like a racist meal that * might * give you a dreadful illness" replied a Twitter user .
"Super cool that nobody in your business, from concept to construction to this tweet, you have not seen anything wrong " wrote another user .
Yellow Fever is a small California chain with two other locations, and this is their first location in a full grocery store. The restaurant specializes in bowls with a base of rice, rice noodles or field vegetables with a customizable menu of toppings and flavors.
In an interview with NextShark in 2017, chef and co-owner Kelly Kim said her restaurant's food was inspired by the kind of food she liked to eat. Kim said she moved from South Korea to the US when she was 9, and her parents ran a grill restaurant in Houston, Texas. She said that she wanted to go into the restaurant business herself when she realized that no one else seemed to serve the kind of mixed bowls she had made for herself and that she wanted to create a restaurant that was not for a particular one Kitchen was tied, but more like "the Asian version of Chipotle."
Kim told NextShark, the name of the restaurant should be tongue in cheek and a little shocking.
"When we finally came up with the concept, all the names we thought of were just crap, and slogans like" traditional, "" bamboo, "" lotus, "and" golden "were not memorable," she explained. "One night we just said 'Yellow Fever' and it worked – it's ironic, somehow shocking, and it's not exclusive – you can fit all Asian cultures under one roof with such a name We simply decided to do so. "
Kim told the New York Daily News that the question of the name of the restaurant came up in partnership with Whole Foods, which reportedly also told the restaurant to change some of its ingredients. The name remained however.
"Yellow Fever celebrates everything that is Asian: the food, the culture and the people and our menu reflects that, with dishes from Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand and Hawaii," Kim said in an email Since our founding over four and a half years ago in Torrance, California, we have been a proud Asian-owned female company. Despite the controversy, Kim told CBS News that the Long Beach location is doing a lot of business outperforming its other two sites by 100 percent, which is not the first time Whole Foods has been involved in controversy 18 times, Whole Foods was in great trouble.