Paying for Unfinished Food

Hayashi Ya Japanese Restaurant is just your regular NYC all-you-can-eat joint (if you consider a $26.95 per person price regular). Except for one little wrinkleSurrender. photo by Chapree Da Grande (via Creative Commons) captured on their sidewalk sign:

We will charge 3% for wasted and unfinished food.

New York’s WCBS had this report on the policy that discourages customers from taking more food than they’ll eat. The segment features Joel Berg, head of the NYC Coalition Against Hunger, dropping some knowledge on food waste and hunger.

Berg, a nice guy who oversaw gleaning and food recovery at the USDA under Clinton, recently published a fascinating book on hunger in the U.S. It’s required reading, and if you buy it here, half the price goes to the Coalition Against Hunger.

Back to the unfinished food fine, it’s one solution for the old ‘eyes are bigger than the stomach’ problem. Some would say that ‘all-you-can-eat ‘ is the real problem, as it encourages overeating to ‘get your money’s worth.’ At these buffets, food waste is often an unfortunate side order.

I’ve seen an uneaten food charge a few places in Asia, but this the first time I’d heard of it in the U.S. What do you make of the idea?

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