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Jun 14, 2012 02:45 PM

Some Restaurants To Start Charging For Doggie Bags?

I've heard that some restaurants in LA are going to start charging for doggie bag packaging for leftovers. Has anyone else heard anything about this? What do you think? This is one trend whose wings need to be clipped before it gets off the ground.

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  1. charging for doggie bags = 1* yelp review. Probably stiff the server too while I'm at it.

    8 Replies
    1. re: ns1

      Probably stiff the server too while I'm at it.

      How is this relevant to the service you received from the wait staff?

      1. re: HDinCentralME

        They could eat the dime and give me a free doggie bag, or they could quit their crappy establishment and work at a place which does not charge for doggie bags.

        I'm about to drop you a 15-20% tip and you're going to nickel and dime me (literally) for a doggie bag? GTFO.

        1. re: ns1

          or they could quit their crappy establishment and work at a place which does not charge for doggie bags.

          finding and keeping a job in this economy is hard enough without such a ridiculous standard.

          I want a free refill of soda but this restaurant doesn't do that...waiter, you should pay for it.

          I want free bread with my meal but this resto doesn't do that...waiter, it's on you, right?

            1. re: ns1


              "or they could quit their crappy establishment and work at a place which does not charge for doggie bags"

              You would stiff a waiter out of his/her income because their boss makes a business decision to charge for take-out containers?

              A sad day for humanity.

              1. re: joe777cool

                a sad day indeed when we're charged for take out containers.

                1. re: ns1

                  Agreed, but that's not the WAITERS fault. It's the tight-*assed managements fault. Blame the manager/owner and take it up with him, but WHY would you blame the waiter if he didn't do anything wrong with your service or food?

                  1. re: Midknight

                    What would be the difference between not tipping and never going back to the establishment because of the charge? Not that I advocate taking it out on the waitstaff, but having been in the service industry for 9 years, one learns quickly that if the customer isn't happy with the management/owner then you (the server) are guilty by association. And, certainly the quickest way to get management to change policy (or lose a ton of money) is having the staff complain and hint at quitting or walking out.

    2. do you think this may have some sort of tie-in to the new law that is going to require that grocery stores charge for bags?

      3 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        The bag law only applies to stores, although somewhere down the line I wouldn't be surprised if some municipalities sought to expand the prohibition on single-use plastic bags to other businesses (e.g., restaurants) as well.

        1. re: Jack Flash

          Two years ago I was in DC for a conference and had lunch at a restaurant that does a lot of take out business. The styrofoam containers were free, but they had a sign posted at the register notifying customers of the new 5 cent charge for plastic bags due to the city tax on them.

          1. re: mpjmph

            Can't remember if it is here or in Italy, but some supermarkets charge for plastic bags as well.

      2. What's next--four squares of toilet paper for a dime???

        2 Replies
        1. re: KSlink

          Yes, like in some places in Europe. I once lined up to use the facilities and was told it would be x amount for 3 squares. I walked away.

          1. re: chefathome

            I ran into this many times in Portugal and Spain in the early 1970s. There would be an 'ancient' lady all dressed in black sitting on a chair at the entry door to the restrooms (restaurants, museums and other public places) vending Toilet paper as there was none provided in the stalls. After the first trip, we bought some of the interfold toilet paper (non-rolls) and packed a sleeve or two in our suitcase before leaving the states. This was particularly helpful in some of the former Communist countries such as Bulgaria and Roumania where toilet paper was a luxury not easily obtained.
            My sister was an exchange student in Paris in the early 60s and on her first visit to the lavatory in the home she was assigned could not find the toilet paper, instead on a small shelf next to the toilet was a stack of cancelled checks. Seemed this French family believed in recycling and repurposing, My sister quickly asked for a change of housing assignment.

        2. It would be good to get some confirmation and/or understanding of this before we start reaching for the pitchforks.

          2 Replies
            1. re: Vetter

              If you read on I've been asking the same thing over and over, Vetter. No one seems to care about the authenticity of the claim; they all just want to debate what if... Oh well.

          1. This is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. If the customer doesn't take the leftover food home, it's going in the trash, right? And a customer enjoying the food enough to want to take the leftovers home is a compliment to the restaurant, right? And enjoying those leftovers at home is just going to remind the customer how good the food is/was & will have them going back to eat there, right?

            But some restaurants want to try to make a sly buck off of throwing leftover food into a box?

            Should be a no-brainer for any restauranteur with a few brain cells.

            18 Replies
            1. re: Bacardi1

              If it is true, I will start bringing my own containers! I already paid for the food - ALL of it!!

              1. re: WildSwede

                Agreed. Even if this is as bad as it sounds, I refer you to the thread over here:


                1. re: WildSwede

                  i already do take my own containers sometimes.
                  i'm not such a fan of having my food stored in styrene products.
                  i'll bring my own glass pyrex ware if it's a restaurant at which i'm a regular.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    I do that too, particularly at Asian places where we are eating family style, as it provides another benefit: I can pack my own leftovers the way I want them packed and I don't need a plastic bag at all as I bring sealable containers. Win win. I've never had any restaurant complain about this maneuvre on any basis. Doesn't work so well in a "fancier" establishment but then I usually don't have doggy bag requirements in such places.

                  2. re: WildSwede

                    +1- Fackers can't charge me twice for food I bought if I use my own containers. I"m not surprised to see somebody trying this, but if nothng else there'll be a waiter revolution when restaurants start trying this shit because the waiters will bear the brunt of the managerial greed. Some things just need to be a part of doing business, and providing containers for uneaten food is one of them.It's not a big expense.

                    1. re: WildSwede

                      I've been told that it's unlawful for a restaurant to put food (even your own leftover food) in a customer's own container - health code issues. Moreover, even if there is no law against it, I can see a lot of businesses being wary of doing so out of fear that a patron's container could be contaminated and not wanting to get sued when someone gets food poisoning.

                      1. re: Jack Flash

                        > I've been told that it's unlawful for a restaurant to put food
                        > (even your own leftover food) in a customer's own container

                        Interesting -- never come across this one. But then again, the sort of places I get takeout from are content with `B' heath codes.

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          This actually affects me a lot, since I've had gastric surgery, I can only eat about 5-6 ounces at a time. Almost all restaurant portions are larger, so I always have more than I can eat in one meal.

                        2. re: Jack Flash

                          Except, often YOU are putting your leftovers in the take-out container. They aren't doing the shifting. It's your food now.

                          1. re: GreenDragon

                            You're missing the point. It has nothing to do with WHO is putting the food in the container. It's the fact that an outside container.

                            1. re: Jack Flash

                              Exactly how are they going to stop you? Call the police?

                              1. re: Jack Flash

                                Sorry, but that's incorrect. I've worked in the food industry and the health code (not law) that you are talking about applies to the restaurant staff. The diner can do whatever he wants with his food, including wrap it in a napkin (assuming it's not a cloth napkin belonging to the restaurant) and stuff it in his pocket.

                                1. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                  I don't know that there is a universal health code. It's different in every county of every state, as far as I know.

                                  1. re: coll

                                    and in far smaller geographic subdivisioons than counties. Connecticut has 8 counties, but NO county government. There are 169 towns and cities who may choose to have health districts/codes. Smaller towns often combine to save money. Bridgeport, a city 6 miles from my home has its own health district and code. Trumbull, where I live combines with the next town (Monroe) and has a joint health district/code/inspector. Not enough work for a full timer in each town.

                                  2. re: KitchenBarbarian

                                    FYI....The health code of any government jurisdiction IS LAW. Law need not be statutes enacted by a legislature, it can be judicial decisions, administrative codes or regualations.

                                    Disclosurer I am an attorney.

                                    That said, in every jurisdiction I klnow of the patron is free to pack his/her own leftowners into his/hger own containers and remove them from the restaurant. The patron NOT the restaurant is the owner of the food as soon as it is served. Passing of title does not wait for payment of the bill, the patron becomes an owner of the food and a debtor of the establishment simultaneously upon service.

                                    Each health district may have its own rules as to whether or not a restaurant employee may pack leftovers into a patron's container, BUT from a liability standpoint, the restaurant should never allow employees to handle containers or utensils not provided by the restaurant.

                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      So probably the restaurants that claim this "law" have had issues previously, or heard tell from associates that own other restaurants. I know I occasionally run into it here, not often though. Doesn't matter either way to me.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Businesses often use the excuse 'it's the law' to explain why they won't do something a patron wants.

                                        My favorites: Swimwear, underwear, and pierced earrings are NOT returnable due to health laws.

                                        I have sucessfully challenged this lie in our jurisdiction, as no such health law exists. In fact, jewelry stores allow customers to try on pierced earrings, merely wiping them with an alcohol swab after each try on. The same would work with a return.
                                        Restaurants sometimes tell me it's against the law to make me a rare hamburger, when it may be against their insurer's directives but not the law.
                                        Most Americans are not knowledgeable enough about the law to challenge these pronouncements. This attorney dares the management to produce the code, statute or regulations, they fail, I win.

                            2. re: WildSwede

                              Better yet, I'll just order my sit-down meal to be served in takeout containers.