It also reportedly offered the couple a 5,000 yuan compensation. The patrons, Mr. Ma and his family, were having dinner at the hotpot chain in Shandong province.
After video footage of the dead rat in the woman's soup circulated on social media, the chain's shares dropped by 12%, losing £145m in value to reach its lowest level since October a year ago, before regaining value.
The woman and her husband were eating at the popular chain Xiabu Xiabu on September 6 when she discovered the dead rat in the hotpot, South China Morning Post reported.
The husband, identified only as Mr. Ma by local outlet Kankan News, said a staffer had the gall to say his wife should get an abortion if she was anxious about the baby, offering over $2,000 for the procedure. This revelation caused the offer to be upped to 20,000 yuan so that the woman could get an abortion.
Users of Chinese social media site Weibo reacted to the photos and video with disgust, with one person writing: "I feel like vomiting. I'm never going to eat hotpot outside again", said one user.
The woman and her husband anxious the rat brew would affect their baby, since the mother had already taken a couple gulps of the soup when she made the horrifying discovery at Xiabu Xiabu on September 6. Xiabu Xiabu and one of its rivals, Haidilao, have reported surging sales and an expanding network of restaurants. Ms Gao said the chain had always taken great care over the quality and safety of its food.
Health officials investigated the restaurant and found no traces of rats, but shut down the location for other violations, including pooled water in the food processing areas and using produce suppliers without full qualifications. "Is a life worth only 20,000 yuan?"
Hotpot soups are a popular Chinese dish where seasoned broth is placed, simmering, at the table in front of you as the items are added in.