UK restaurant chain ASK Italian has been fined £40,000 for misleading customers by incorrectly labelling a lobster dish on its menu.
The brand, which operates 120 locations nationwide, had featured the Aragosta e Gamberoni (lobster and king prawns) dish on its menu since 2014 and continued to served it until March 2019, during which time it amassed sales worth £3 million.
However, despite being labelled as featuring both lobster and king prawns, the dish in fact contained a mixture of 35% lobster and 34% white fish, as well as other ingredients that were formed to look like lobster meat.
It was also revealed that the cost of raw ingredients for the £14.95 dish, the most expensive on ASK’s menu, amounted to just £2.84.
Last November, Azzuri Restaurants Limited (which trades as ASK Italian) admitted the charge at Swansea Magistrates' Court. However, the company described the incorrect labelling of the dish as a mistake.
A spokesperson for ASK commented: “Every one of our dishes goes through robust research, testing, training and review, with many receiving awards. In this case we made a genuine mistake in the incomplete naming of the dish for which we are very sorry.
“We had no intention of misleading our customers. Immediately after we became aware of the issue, the fresh pasta dish in question was replaced by the Pasta Fresca King Prawn and Crayfish dish.”
“We also ensured our team refreshed their training in labelling legislation and we continue to invest in state-of-the-art systems and processes to ensure compliance.”
ASK also denied that their actions were profit driven, saying that the item had the lowest profit margin of all the restaurant’s pasta dishes.
If you’re on the hunt for some real lobster, have a read of the 23 best lobster restaurants in London.