Responding to concerns from the Vietnamese community, restaurant company Yum! Brands has extended an apology and volunteered to change the logo for its new banh mi sandwich concept, Banh Shop.
Jonathan Blum, senior vice president, wrote an apology to Thanh Cung, president of the Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Dallas, stating the company's regrets.
"On behalf of all of us at YUM, please accept our sincere apology to you and to the Vietnamese community for unintentionally offending you with the logo of Banh Shop," Blum said. "We have the greatest respect for the Vietnamese people and culture. It was never our intent to offend anyone, but we see we have made a mistake and in hindsight, we should have recognized this logo could be offensive."
Banh Shop, which opened across from Southern Methodist University on September 12, featured the name of the restaurant set against a five-pointed red star. As the symbol for communism, it stirred unhappy memories among those of Vietnamese descent, such as Toan Tran, whose parents emigrated here from Vietnam before he was born.
"As Vietnamese-Americans, we should not be ignorant of what our parents and grandparents and many Vietnam veterans went through during the Vietnam war to give us the freedom we have today in America," he said. "Changing the logo would respect people who don't want to relive that past."
In a short time, the logo became a cause for the community, prompting Thanh Cung, president of the Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Dallas, to launch a petition requesting that the logo be redesigned. "I felt it was my duty," Cung said.
Blum said that, effective immediately, the company will change the logo and remove the red star from all materials and signage at the restaurant.
"That will happen by end of day today," Blum said. "We will design a new logo, and would greatly appreciate your reviewing it, along with other aspects of this restaurant, before we make a final decision."
Blum said that it was important to that the restaurant would be enjoyed by all.
"We hope you can let others know of our sincere apology for the mistake we have made and the actions we are taking to address it," he said.