A Chinese restaurant apologized for any offense caused when it placed scales at its entrance and suggested customers weigh themselves to determine what they should order.

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The Chuiyan Fried Beef location in Changsha, Hunan province, said the scales and menu suggestions were put in place as a response to President Xi Jinping's call for the country to reduce food waste.

The two scales were placed at the entrance to the eatery and customers were encouraged to weigh themselves. A guide placed by the scales offered suggestions for food selections and portion sizes for men and women of various weight ranges.

The move sparked criticism on social media from customers who felt the weight-based initiative encouraged fat shaming.

The restaurant said in a post on microblogging site Weibo that it was "deeply sorry" for any offense caused by the program.

"Our intention was to advocate not wasting food and for people to order in a healthy way," the post stated.

The eatery said the weighing was strictly voluntary.

"We never forced customers to weigh themselves," it said.

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Tan Yan, president of the Chuiyan Fried Beef chain, said the scales would remain in place at the Changsha location, but it would be made clear that customers are in no way required to use them.

She said officials are considering adding more nutritional information to the posted guides.