grumpy Girl - ©

Clean your plate – or pay the price!

Remember Mom’s admonition to clean your plate? Eat up or no desert! What about the starving children in Africa? I once got grounded for a week when I suggested she stick something from my plate (I can’t even remember what, now) in a Tupperware tub and mail it to Nigeria. Bad, bad, bad, to call Mom’s bluff!

Grumpy Girl - ©

A number of restaurants in widely separated locales have one-upped your mother with a waste awareness policy that will get your attention. With the sustainability movement growing daily, this foodservice sector quirk seems to be evolving toward ‘trend’ status: Restauranteurs around the globe are starting to charge a ‘penalty’ fee if you leave food on your plate!

That’s right.

One establishment in Sapporo, Japan, Hachikyo restaurant, wants diners to respect their food and those who provide it. Their menu states that, if you order their signature dish, tsukko meshi (salmon roe over rice), you must agree to literally clean your bowl. If you leave even one grain of rice, you must make a donation to a fund in support of local fishermen, “to show our gratitude and appreciation for the food they provide…”

Another Japanese resto, WAFU in Sydney, Australia, charges customers a flat rate of 30% of their check if they leave any food on their plates – unless they bring their own take-home containers! (That, in itself, is an interesting premise for foodservice operators who spend thousands every year for take-home containers that they customarily provide to customers for free…)

Fahad al Anezi says his eatery, Marmar Restaurant in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, is overrun with well-to-do diners who order all kinds of food, to show off their wealth, and leave mountains of it uneaten. So, he levies a “leftover” surcharge, the proceeds of which go to charity.

Hawk-eyed Hong Kong foodies report that at least one restaurant there is charging customers a fee per ounce of leftovers.

By and large, the restauranteurs in the aforementioned cases say their ‘leftover’ policies have been welcomed by customers. What’s your take?

~ Maggie J.