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Jun 7, 2010 12:25 AM

left over at the restaurants

i saw an interesting news today.
a japanese restaurant in australia started to collect fine when customers leave foods. the rules are when you ate everything (you ordered) you get 30% discount and when you leave foods on plates, you get fined! i do not know how much or i do not know why they do this to customers. humm, i guess they do this because in japan food is considered to be precious (because mother nature produced them) and it is rude to leave even a grain of rice.
but there are other culture which has completely opposite matter such as china. people have to leave some food on the plane in order to appreciate and show that it was ample.
anyway, what do you think? i think it is a bit extreme but environmentally friendly. haha.

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  1. I think the residents of South Fl would complain!

    1. Chinese place near me does the same thing on its buffet service.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        How about if the thing you put on your plate tastes ick? They should allow you a tasting fork for every item so you know before adding it to your plate. I mean if they are going to play that game.

        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          In a buffet situation, I would only put a mouthful on my plate if I didnt know what it was going to taste like (and then go back, if I liked it). What they are deterring folk from doing is piling their plates high with food that then gets left. We've all seen that happen

          1. re: Harters

            Oh the self control!

            No wonder I never hot the buffet line. I have zero.

      2. There are 2 issues :

        - Restaurants that serve portions that are too big : It could be considered rude (unethical/illegal?) to "fine" a customer if he does not finish the plate.

        - Customers who order too much food : The food is already paid for; if you mis-calculated your hunger, than maybe you should pay, but it is still kind of rude.

        1. But if you order, say, a $20 dish, and pay the $20 for the dish, the food is YOURS...YOU bought it. What if I can't finish it and would like to take it home? Would I be charged for that? Maybe I ordered it, but didn't really like it (which happens), and don't want to even take what I don't eat home, but still am willing to pay the price on the menu without complaining, but rather put it down in my "Don't Order This Dish At This Place Again" list. (One of my favorite restaurants makes a killer steamed mussels but I know from experience not to order their escargot). I should have to pay a fine for that?
          I agree that a lot of restaurants serve portions that are way too big -although with the recession, you'll notice that that's not the case so much anymore- and that we all should be more realistic about not wasting food, etc., etc., but I think what your Japanese restaurant is doing will not fly in this country. After all, what if you've never been in that place before and you have no idea how big the portions are (and are the weights and sizes of the dishes stated in the menu, so that you know that when you order the sukiyaki, you'll be getting 3/4 lb of beef and a pound of the veggies?) If the establishment did this AND warned you ahead of time about their fining policy, like the places that charge for splitting do, and people are still willing to go there, more power to them, but despite the danger I'm in for advocating our right to do what we want with what we buy -including throwing it away- i don't think that establishment's practice is a smart idea.

          Why don't they just serve smaller portions, or offer half-orders?

          5 Replies
          1. re: Michelly

            I agree it would never fly in the US, but I'd love to see it tried. Oversized portions are one of my pet peeves. I am always thrilled when I find a place where I can order three courses, finish them all, and feel happily full but not stuffed.

            1. re: BobB

              Seems like it does fly in some parts of the US. A cursory Google search brought up several articles/reviews where this is happening - esp. in Japanese and sushi restos.

              for example:


              1. re: cuccubear

                Cool! Though to respond to Michelly's objection above - how do you know how big the portions are in advance? - it makes sense that this rule shows up particularly at Japanese restaurants (especially sushi joints) since there is not that much variation from one restaurant to another in the size of a standard piece of sushi, sashimi, or maki. Plus it's quite common in such places to order successive items as you eat, as opposed to the Western custom of ordering everything up front.

                1. re: cuccubear

                  The restaurant in your link serves all-you-can-eat buffet food. I kind of see the point, as buffet restaurants charge a standard price and usually don't allow customers to take food home (otherwise almost everyone would be doing it), so when a plate is heaped high with food and the customer can't eat all of it, it just goes to waste. Still, I find the policy of surcharging objectionable. Why should someone with a ravenous appetite be able to fill six plates with food, wolf it all down, and pay the regular price, while someone else goes to the buffet line only twice, leaves a little on his/her plate and has to pay 30% more? The price of a buffet should take into account big eaters, small eaters and the average amount of food left over. As much as I think many people waste too much food, I don't expect a restaurant to act as a disciplinarian, punishing me for not finishing everything on my plate. Mama did that when I was four years old, but I can make decisions for myself now, thank you very much.

                  1. re: cuccubear

                    I’d support it at an AYCE buffet. My eyes have been bigger than my stomach on more than one occasion, and I feel terrible about leaving food behind. A charge would make me think twice about loading another plate full. But definitely would not support it where you have no control over your portion size, which is, upon re-reading the OP, is the kind of resto they were talking about. Apologies for the sidetrack. :-)

              2. Sometimes I order something that I know I should only eat half of with the express point to take home the other half for another meal (for me it's like gettting two for the price of one). I prefer restaurants that know how to portion correctly and sometimes at those I will order an appetizer or salad so I still can take home part of my meal. While it is better for the environment, as someone who struggles with weight loss it is entirely counter intuitive and goes against the teaching that you should be able to leave food on your plate. I hate waste though. Tough call.