Swiss Buffet Banking on Waste

The global, national or even household cost of food waste can be difficult to quantify. Yet, sometimes it’s not too hard. At the Patrizietta restaurant in Switzerland, it costs 5 francs (roughly $5) per person.

image courtesy of Katie and KayAt the Ticino area restaurant you can take all you want from the 12 franc buffet, but not finishing it will earn you a 5 franc fine. Diners are given fair warning in the menu.

The policy began last week, after Chef Giovanni Tafuro grew tired of seeing so much lunchtime waste. He said that the fine is mostly symbolic–a way to send a message to customers that taking more than you need is not cool.

In addition to raising awareness on waste, it should also communicate that food is expensive. And as food prices continue to rise, more unlimited buffet restaurants may consider these fines as an alternative to raising regular prices.

I’m all for these uneaten food fines–as long as they occur at all-you-can-eat establishments. They counter the eyes-bigger-than-the-stomach phenomenon. And they certainly make people think. Plus, they harness that all-important motivator–money!

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