Yum! Brands – the American company behind KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has agreed to change the logo of a newly-opened restaurant in Texas specializing in Vietnamese-style sandwiches after facing criticism and complaints.
The branding of the chain that sells Banh mi and noodle soups shows the word Banh [sandwich] Shop resting on a five-pointed red star with the tagline “Saigon Street Food” underneath.
Some members of the local Vietnamese American community in Dallas, Texas, where Banh Shop is located, said they were “offended” by the red star which they saw as an emblem of communism.
Cung Nhat Thanh, President of the Vietnamese-American Community of Greater Dallas, told VOA’s Vietnamese Service that he launched a petition garnering more than 100 signatures asking Yum! Brands to modify the logo.
“We can not accept that a red star, a symbol of communism and Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, stand side by side. It is an irrelevant connection,” said Thanh.
Thanh said a majority of Vietnamese living in the Dallas area are “political and religious refugees” who fled Vietnam when North Vietnamese communists conquered U.S.-backed South Vietnam in 1975.
Jonathan Blum, Senior Vice President of Yum! Brands, sent an email to Thanh to apologize for “unintentionally offending” the Vietnamese community. He added, “We are changing the logo and removing the red star from all materials and signage at the restaurant.”
Hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese fled Vietnam for the United States after the Vietnam War, and many of them took risky trips by boat.
There are millions of Vietnamese Americans living in the U.S., making them the largest overseas Vietnamese community in the world.
They held high-profile protests over human rights issue last year while Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang was visiting the U.S. to enhance bilateral strategic partnership.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.