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  1. #1

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    Restaurant in Saudi charges extra for unfinished meals

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15379068

    A restaurant in Saudi Arabia is charging customers extra who do not finish their entire meal. The customers the BBC interviewed seem to be in support of the extra charge. The owner says that the money from the extra charge goes to famine victims in Somalia. He hopes charging extra will encourage customers to only order food they will eat and that other restaurants in Saudi and around the world will do the same thing.

    It's interesting. There are lots of time when I eat out and just can't finish the food on my plate. I do feel bad about it so I wouldn't feel too bad if I was charged more to cover the cost of the wasted food.
    "If people are looking for guarantees, they should buy appliances at Sears and stay away from human relationships."~Prancer

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    Most of the time at restaurants I visit, they put so much on your plate that it would be physically impossible for me to finish it all, and extremely unhealthy as well. I invariably ask for a to go box and enjoy the leftovers for a day or two. If I had a say about how large the portion was, doing what this restaurant is doing might be fair. Otherwise, if the servers just piled it on without my permission, I'd feel differently.

  3. #3

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    That is just a bit ridiculous. I get that it is nice to donate but don't force your customers to do the donating for you. I don't eat much and almost always take home about half of my food. I am NOT wasting it, I eat it the next day for lunch. I guess they don't believe in take home?
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    Ridiculous idea: punishing customers for not cleaning their plates by forcing them to donate to your alleged charity. I wouldn't be surprised if this is a scam and he's just pocketing the money.

    Maybe I could see a small charge for a takehome container, but anything more than that is a shake down. If you really care, make your own donation, don't let businesses make it for you.

    I wouldn't eat there. I wonder if the owner realizes that he will cut into his revenue with this foolish forced donation policy? Obviously, people will order less food to avoid the surcharge.


    Quote Originally Posted by modern_muslimah View Post
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15379068]
    There are lots of time when I eat out and just can't finish the food on my plate. I do feel bad about it so I wouldn't feel too bad if I was charged more to cover the cost of the wasted food.
    That's silly - you ALREADY PAID FOR THE FOOD you ordered. It's yours to do with as you please. Why would you think that paying more would ease your conscience?

    Just get (or bring) a container and take the food home for another meal, or give it to someone else, even a bum on the street.
    That's the concept behind City Harvest - salvaging food that would otherwise go into the trash. Not from someone's half-eaten entree, but from unserved food.

    If you get a portion that's too large, ask for the takeout container at the start of the meal and put a portion away before you start eating. It's an old money- and diet-saving trick that works great. I've done it at restaurants and no one blinks an eye. I take it home and the leftovers can be anyone's since no one's eaten from that portion.
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 12-01-2011 at 03:10 PM.

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    This is an absurd policy. Maybe they should just provide less food, rather than expecting customers to overeat. Me stuffing myself to the point of being sick doesn't help solve famine either.

    Maybe Saudi restaurants don't overplate the way Americans do, but a charge for not eating a whole meal is ridiculous. I already paid for the food!

    Also- does this mean I can't get a "doggie bag" without an extra charge. I never go out to eat without the expectation of leftovers for a second meal. The price for just one meal would not be justifiable.

  6. #6

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    Mostly, I expect that this is a gimmick to get attention. And as far as gimmicks go, for some reason, I kind of like it.

    In the U.S., however, we have to do the opposite – to encourage people to NOT eat all the food on their plate.
    What would Jenny do?

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    I could never eat all the food on my plate. It's why my husband and I share a lot when we go out, it's just too much food!

    I think it's rather ridiculous.

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    It appears that the policy has been posted and that customers are not upset. The proprietor seemed sincere about his intentions. And it might serve us well to realize that the Saudis may view restaurant meals, food, waste, etc...differently than Americans do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanie View Post
    I could never eat all the food on my plate. It's why my husband and I share a lot when we go out, it's just too much food!

    I think it's rather ridiculous.
    I don't know if portion control exists anymore---I did read that any member of the Saudi royal family (and there are many of them) can claim a portion of your business if he so desires and maybe any "charity" might have something to do witht that. At any rate it is a bad idea.

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    When I eat out, most of the time I am able to make 2 or even 3 meals out of it. I don't know how much food the Saudi restaurant puts on the plates, but in the USA the portions are too big for most people. Luckily we get to take the left overs home in boxes. If I don't take it home, I do feel very guilty about leaving food on my plate.

    Charging customers extra for not finishing what's on their plate is ridiculous. Give them smaller portions if this is happening, but the restaurant seems to seek free advertising by making up this policy. I don't plan on visiting that country, but I would still like to warn others about it.

  11. #11
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    That's not going to go far with the widespread obesity and the current efforts to fight it.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    If it's a buffet style, I can at least see the reasoning behind it. Some people are just unduly wasteful with buffet food. I have heard sushi restaurants charge those who order sushi buffet, which is usually cheaper than sashimi buffet, finishing the seafood but leaving the rice. And I support that.

    But if it's a regular restaurant, I hope they at least give patrons the option of taking a doggie bag.

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    Are doggie bags common in countries other than the US?
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Are doggie bags common in countries other than the US?
    Some people get doggie bags in the UK but not many. The difference between the US (from my experience) and other parts of the world is portion size. The first time I visited America, I went skiing in Colorado. My family and I were shocked by the size of a "kids" meal - there were enough pancakes on the plate for a greedy adult, yet alone a 9 year old. It was a similar story the summer just gone when I did the Lake Placid skate camp. Everywhere I ate out, the portions were so huge that my friend and I could easily have shared! I'm not saying all restaurants have smaller portions in Europe but we do in general, which probably explains why doggie bags are less common

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by genegri View Post
    If it's a buffet style, I can at least see the reasoning behind it. Some people are just unduly wasteful with buffet food. I have heard sushi restaurants charge those who order sushi buffet, which is usually cheaper than sashimi buffet, finishing the seafood but leaving the rice. And I support that.

    But if it's a regular restaurant, I hope they at least give patrons the option of taking a doggie bag.
    I have seen this policy at hot pot buffet restaurants. If you take an excessive amount of food from the buffet area and don't cook it or eat it, they will charge you extra. I think that's fair, because you're taking food that someone else could have used, and the restaurant has to prepare more in response.

    But I agree that if it's a regular restaurant, you've already paid for that food so who cares what you do with it. The extra weight of the food I'm sure isn't as bad as the plate it came on.

    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Are doggie bags common in countries other than the US?
    In Italy, it isn't. Which is unusual because they expect you to eat all 4 courses and not take anything home. My sister (who studied abroad there for half a year) learned to only have the pasta course and ignore the questioning by the waiters.

    If everyone in Italy ate out, they would be obese in no time flat. 4 courses even in Italian portions is A LOT OF FOOD. But in Italy, there's still a strong culture of home-cooked meals and quite literally taking all night to eat.

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    It seems the restaurant owner's heart is in the right place. I'm all about not wasting food, so if others can benefit from the leftovers or money charged for the leftovers to help the needy, then why not. Sorry I'm in the minority in this.

  17. #17
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    Some all you can eat places in Japan have an extra charge if you leave lots of food on your plate.

    I generally find places that serve massive portions off-putting.
    To think that fun is simple fun, while earnest things are earnest, proves all too plain that neither one thou truthfully discernest.

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    I can see a charge at a buffet restaurant where people do overfill their plates. My mother would say that their eyes are bigger than their stomachs. We don't eat at buffet places often, but we've taught the kids to just take a taste of a few things, then they can go back up for more of what they liked. Truthfully, most of what they waste (sometimes, Daddy or Mommy eat behind them) was because they don't like that restaurant's version of the recipe. Take a small "taste it" portion and if you liked it, go back for a full portion.

    Olive Garden used to have an "endless pasta bowl" item on their menu. The first serving came in a HUGE bowl that could have served three people. The refill dishes were much smaller, but just seeing all that pasta in the first dish wasn't appetizing. I ordered it once because I really wanted one of the pasta combinations -- never again. I had it for dinner, the next day's lunch and a side dish the following night. I certainly got my fix of the dish.

    Charging people for not finishing their dinner is asinine. Do they give a discount to gluttons who ask for second helpings? lol Tying it to a bogus charity is just a stunt and doesn't do anything to fight hunger or keep people from wasting food. The owner needs a better publicist. Instead of a negative campaign, they could have offered a takeout container for a few Riyal, emphasizing how fortunate the customer was to afford two meals when some have none. No waste, no guilt and the alleged charity still benefits. (I still say he's scamming)
    Last edited by FigureSpins; 12-01-2011 at 08:23 PM.

  19. #19
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    I'm going to guess the restaurant owner isn't running a Cheesecake Factory. I'm not sure whether this is a nice or silly policy, but as long as it is clearly posted in advance, I don't have any problem with the restaurant having the policy.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Kitty View Post
    I'm going to guess the restaurant owner isn't running a Cheesecake Factory.
    About where I live, how about Buca di Beppo and Maggiano's?

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