Leftover Boxes Left Out

On a recent visit to Noodles & Company, I was pleasantly surprised to notice that they set out their take-away boxes next to the cup lids and napkins. I’m not sure if this occurs at all locations of the noodle chain, but I’m all for it!

the Noodles & Co take-away boxesFirst, it encourages the saving of leftovers by preventing customers from having to ask for to-go boxes and waiters having to fetch them. Sure, neither step is difficult. But removing any obstacle to doggie bag use is helpful.

Second, leaving out boxes removes a social barrier to taking home leftovers. Unfortunately, some diners feel there’s a stigma attached to saving their own food. Not having to ask for a box eliminates their feeling perceived as cheap, gauche, uncool, etc. (Note: I’d call it sensible.)

Making boxes readily available will cut food waste and could even save restaurants money on their garbage hauling bill (because there won’t be as much food in their dumpster).

Plus, it’s great that Noodles & Co. uses recyclable paper containers, not Styrafoam ones. Now if the noodleria would only steer customers’ attention to these boxes to avoid scenes like this

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8 Comments

  1. Posted October 28, 2008 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Living near a Noodles & Company here in the midwest (it’s in Iowa but I live in IL) they do in fact have those containers next to the pop machine at our location. :)

  2. Posted October 28, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    People still have to be trained to go get them instead of waiting for the waiters / bussers to fetch them.

  3. SB
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    You say “sensible” – I still think there’s a stigma there. I’d like for us to get to where folks see taking leftovers as GREEN…just like recycling paper, lusting after a Prius, etc.

  4. Brittney Brice
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I reside in Normal Illinois and yes! The noodles here leaves out to go containers.
    As it is a good solution from preventing waste in the restaurants; hoping one will take their left overs home and expecting them to eat them is harder to ensure.
    I will admit I am not good with leftovers. I always take my food home with me, but I always forget that I even had the left overs and I find myself throwing the food AND the leftover box away!

    I rarely get asked by the lady taking my order “would you like your meal to be large or small?” But I feel noodles should encourage the smaller portion plates to help make sure the food is eaten. This way the to go bins will be used less, and there would be no food left to waste!!

  5. lynn
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I think it is great that they leave the boxes out for people to take as naturally as they take a cup.
    I have gotten in the habit of bringing my own to-go container with me when I go out to eat. My container is a nice little stainless steel tiffin box with a handle and lever clasps. Now, if only we could get more people to bring their own to-go container, that would save even more resources!

  6. Posted October 30, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Glad to hear that other Noodles leave out their take-home boxes.

    SB, you’re onto something. Associating leftovers with being “green” will take some work, but it’s a worthy goal.

    Unfortunately, Brittney, restaurants aren’t going to steer you away from spending more money. It’s up to you. But at least they have a smaller portion option. And you could bring your own container, like Lynn (great idea!).
    On the topic of leftovers, is it because you don’t like eating them or you forget they’re in there?

  7. Brittney
    Posted November 4, 2008 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    As for leftovers, it would have to be a combination of both! I love to cook, and I want to be able to cook new things everyday so I have been trying to make some tasty recipes that include leftover so less is wasted! I’ll be sure to bring them by anyone who is interested!!

  8. Danielle
    Posted November 13, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Our Noodles has always had leftover containers but I noticed 1 or 2 years ago they switched from a clear plastic to the cardboard they have now.

    At some point they also made a chance to smaller portions being available for their main entree’s.

    On a side note: Cucumber Tomato Salad is yummy!

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