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Call a Chick called out over lurid menu

SHANGHAI’S market watchdog is investigating fried chicken restaurant chain Call a Chick over allegations it’s name and the names of some of its menu items are vulgar and offensive, officials said yesterday.

Call a Chick has more than 40 branches and some of it’s dishes translate as “virgin chick,” “having sex with her,” and “chick’s sex partner.” They refer to spring chicken, chicken drumstick and drinks.

But in Chinese, a chick is a slang term for a prostitute.

The promotion slogan of the chain is “satisfying all your expectations over chicks” and a card sent with takeaway food reads: “The secret of a man who has sex 10 times a night.”

The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said it had launched an investigation yesterday.

“The content involved could violate social order,” said Li Hua, deputy director of the advertisement department of the bureau.

Advertising laws ban ads that undermine public order or violate ethical standards. Violators can be ordered to stop immediately or face a fine of up to 1 million yuan (US$145,000) and their business license revoked in serious cases.

Call a Chick first came under fire in Sichuan Province after a woman complained to media that the sexually explicit content of one of the chain’s outlets in Chengdu embarrassed her because her 8-year-old son kept asking her the meaning of “call a chick.”

That outlet’s signboard was dismantled and the menu changed under the order of local urban management authorities.

The Shanghai-based chain said in a statement it has started replacing its promotional slogans and menu in both physical outlets and online. It apologized to consumers who felt uncomfortable.

It said its promotional content had been designed for the 18-28 age group — its target audience — when the group opened two years ago.

At the Pu’an Road outlet of the restaurant in Huangpu District, all sexually explicit content has been removed from the menu and signboards, but the name of the restaurant remains unchanged.

And the “sensitive content” can still be found on third-party food delivery platforms and restaurant reviews.

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