I’m sure we’ve all experienced the “finish the food on your plate if you want desert” line at some point in our life, but it is a command often reserved for children at home. A new trend in Germany however is seeing certain restaurants jump on the bandwagon by instituting fees if you don’t completely finish your meal.
The eat up or pay up idea is spreading to mostly Asian restaurants where all-you-can-eat buffets are seeing more and more diners piling more than they can eat on their plates, leading to waste that would’ve been reserved for others.
“the service is called ‘all-you-can-eat’, not ‘all-you-can-give-away'”
Fines are generally around one or two euros, which may not put too much pressure on diners, but the restaurant owners are hoping that it will make some think about how much they want to eat before loading up that next plate.
Yuoki, located in the German town of Stuttgart, is one of the restaurants instituting the fine for the all-you-can-eat buffet diners. Guoyu Luan, the restaurant’s owner, said the service is called “all-you-can-eat”, not “all-you-can-give-away”. Since launching the “eat up or pay up” campaign, Yuoki has collected around €1000 ($1133). That money could easily be put back into the business but for now it is being reserved for charitable donations.
Some restaurants are a little more forgiving with their finish your plate policy. Himalaya, a Chinese-Mongolian restaurant in the North Rhine-Westphalia town of Menden, will weigh each plate and add a €2 charge on the bill if more than 100 grams of food are left uneaten.
It is an interesting idea that calls attention to food waste, which is estimated to amount to €235 ($266) per person every year in Germany. Would this fly in America where the estimated amount of food wasted per person is a much higher $2000? Probably not.