Whole Foods is dealing with anti-Asian claims for partnering with a California restaurant named “Yellow Fever” — however the Korean-American founder says there shouldn’t be any ill-will towards her eatery.
“I think it’s been silly, and I think it’s a bit funny that it’s all of a sudden a big deal,” co-founder Kelly Kim informed the Daily News.
“There’s nothing offensive about our restaurants,” she mentioned.
Whole Foods got here underneath fireplace when it tweeted out this week new department of Yellow Fever can be situated inside its 365 outpost in Long Beach, Calif.
Many individuals on social media had been livid Whole Foods would use a tone-deaf identify for an eatery, and lots of believed it was a subsidiary of the Amazon-owned grocery chain.
“This is not a joke. Nobody @WholeFoods or @amazon noticed the problem with calling an Asian restaurant ‘Yellow Fever,’” tweeted @texasinafrica on Friday evening. “This was okayed all the way up the chain & actually got built.”
Others famous that — together with being slang for white males preferring Asian ladies — it refers to a tropical illness.
Whole Foods didn’t return a request for remark Friday evening.
Kim informed The News she didn’t see the social media backlash till Friday, including it was by individuals who “want to stir the pot a little bit.”
Customers loyal to the chain had been turning out to Long Beach because the new location opened Wednesday, whatever the social media outcry.
“The first day, it exceeded all expectations,” she informed the News. “We’ve been welcome with open arms.”
There was by no means a difficulty when the South Korea native, who grew up in Houston, opened her first location in Torrance, Calif., greater than 4 years in the past, or when its Venice location debuted practically two years in the past.
Kim’s eating places serve contemporary bowls of varied Asian delicacies. She has mentioned she wished a restaurant identify that would respin a stereotype into one thing constructive.
“We were worried about a strike at first,” she told the website Next Shark final fall. “Once, I had a friend who was grabbing our food for lunch and her White friend wasn’t sure if he was allowed to eat here.”
“But it’s re-appropriating a term — taking ownership of something and defining it in our own way,” she continued.
Still, she mentioned, the identify problem got here up when partnering with Whole Foods, which additionally required the restaurant to tweak a few of its components.
“I feel pretty comfortable in that they knew what we were all about,” she informed The News. “To us, ‘Yellow Fever’ means we love all things Asian meaning food, culture, people. I don’t want to spend any time thinking about or refuting any negativity.”