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Restaurant in Saudi charges extra for unfinished meals

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by modern_muslimah, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Thinking of witty user title and coming up blank


    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.
  2. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

    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. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    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?
  4. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    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.

    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: Dec 1, 2011
  5. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

    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. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

    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.
  7. Lanie

    Lanie Well-Known Member

    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.
  8. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    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.
  9. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

    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.
  10. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    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. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    That's not going to go far with the widespread obesity and the current efforts to fight it.
  12. genegri

    genegri Active Member

    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. :dog:
  13. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa discriminating and persnickety ballet aficionado

    Are doggie bags common in countries other than the US?
  14. SpiralGirl

    SpiralGirl Well-Known Member

    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. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    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. :lol:

    In Italy, it isn't. Which is unusual because they expect you to eat all 4 courses and not take anything home. :lol: 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. :lol: But in Italy, there's still a strong culture of home-cooked meals and quite literally taking all night to eat.
  16. Fan123

    Fan123 Active Member

    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. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    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. :scream:
  18. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    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: Dec 1, 2011
  19. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    I'm going to guess the restaurant owner isn't running a Cheesecake Factory. :lol: 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.
  20. Fan123

    Fan123 Active Member

    About where I live, how about Buca di Beppo and Maggiano's? :D
  21. allezfred

    allezfred Master/Mistress of Sneer Staff Member

    Seems kind of stupid to go on TV and talk about it if he is. :shuffle:
  22. Jenya

    Jenya Let me show you Tel Aviv

    When I lived in Albania, I took food home from restaurants all the time. I'm not sure it's a common practice there, but maybe they're used to such requests from Americans. :lol:
  23. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Holding Alex Johnson's Pineapple

    The scary thing is that Buca di Beppo's portion sizes are meant to be shared. And yet people still eat one serving alone. :yikes:
  24. Lanie

    Lanie Well-Known Member

    ... People eat one serving by themselves there? But... but... how?! I can't stand that place, but, jeez...
  25. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins Well-Known Member

    Maggiano's near us advertises that the eat-in dinner includes a second take-home MEAL!

    Yet, some restaurants won't allow 2 people to share a meal at the table without paying a "extra plate" charge.

    We always joke that my BIL loves to try everything at a restaurant, especially if he's never had a certain dish. We've all been trained to get an extra plate from the server and then we pass it, adding an offering from our meal to "The Fork of Mooch Plate." Can you tell that we love him?
  26. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    We do that, too. It saves money, and we never end up over-eating! :)
  27. Prancer

    Prancer Strong and stable Staff Member

    The first thing I thought of when I read that this was a Saudi restaurant was this article: The Richest, Fattest Nation on Earth (It's Not the United States)

    The article is specifically about Qatar, but it also talks about obesity in the Middle East and the genetic predisposition to diabetes that many in Middle Eastern countries suffer.

    Encouraging people to save themselves a fee by cleaning their plates seems pretty counterproductive to me. Even if the man does donate the money to help starving people in Africa, the people who eat in his restaurant are at high risk for diabetes and obesity. I don't see how this can be seen as a good thing for his own people.
  28. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Danish Ice Dance! Go Laurence & Nikolaj!

    Doggie bags are not common in Denmark; however the portions are not that big.

    I am wondering if the restaurant is a style where you serve lots of plates, sides etc, so they just don't want people to over order? But strange, yeah.
  29. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    I agree that it's quite a ridiculous idea. I almost always take half my meal home if I order a regular large portion. And, restaurants can offer smaller portions if they don't want to throw food out or have to give take-away boxes. Though, tapas restaurants have made a fortune on that concept and are hugely overpriced in my estimation.

    Or, you could pay less for less food, and give a donation to the restaurants' charity of choice.

    However, food cultures are different. It may be the case in Saudi Arabia that wealthy people buy a lot of food they don't intend to eat just as a show of status. Giving to charity could be see as a way to balance that - though if it just makes people overeat, nothing will have been gained.