The beef restaurant in the city of Changsha placed two scales outside its doors and signs that read "be thrifty and diligent, promote empty plates" and "operation empty plate," the BBC reported.
It also asked customers to enter their measurements into an app, which would recommend dishes accordingly, the report said. But social media users criticized the restaurant, with hashtags related to the incident viewed over 300 million times on the social platform Weibo, Agence France-Presse reported.
The nationwide campaign began last week after President Xi Jinping decried the amount of food waste in the country as "shocking and distressing" amid rising food prices due to the coronavirus pandemic and recent flooding, the outlets reported.
Catering groups in regions across the country urged groups of customers to order one fewer plate than the number of diners to curb waste.
The backlash prompted the restaurant to apologize in a statement online, saying it was "deeply sorry.”
"Our original intentions were to advocate stopping waste and ordering food in a healthy way,” the statement said. “We never forced customers to weigh themselves.”