Forcing your waitstaff to work a shift clad only in bikinis probably isn't the best of ideas. At least that seems to be the case for restaurants operating in Vietnam.
An unnamed restaurant in Hanoi was fined last week for having waitresses who were dressed only in bikinis serve drinks to customers.
Phung Van Quang, who owns the restaurant on Tran Thai Tong Street, said he was ordered to pay VND 40 million (about $1,800 USD), a penalty imposed on Thursday by the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The governmental agency said the fine was imposed to punish the restaurant for behaving in a way that is "against Vietnam's traditional culture and fine customs."
Photos of the bikini-clad waitresses spread quickly across social media. When the attention of Hanoi authorities was piqued, the restaurant had some 'splaining to do.
First attempt: The restaurant said the event was all part of a special program to show the restaurant owner's gratitude to customers. When that didn't work, they began backtracking.
The restaurant's manager, identified only by the name Lam, then said the restaurant hadn't, in fact, hired the girls at all. Instead, he said, they were hired by the Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage JSC (Sabeco), Vietnam's leading beer producer, to promote its brews. A representative of Sabeco denied that they had anything to do with the promotion.
Lam then claimed that the "promotion girls" were mostly wearing formal clothes—except for a few. "The ones in bikinis were here for only one or two minutes. We asked them to cancel the promotional campaign after seeing how they were dressed," he said.
Yeah—that didn't fly either.
The authorities have been intent on eradicating the blight of scantily clad women in local Hanoi stores. Earlier this month, Hanoi imposed a similar fine on an electronics store located on the same thoroughfare as the restaurant in question. Managers of that store said the women were in the store only for the purpose of filming "sex education videos." Isn't it amazing how women in bikinis keep inadvertently popping up in Hanoi business establishments?
The bottom line is this: Bikinis move product. Whoever the hell came up with foxy boxing knows it, and so do the businesspeople of Tran Thai Tong Street. Let's just hope Vietnam's waitstaff receive the respect they deserve.