Ever heard of being charged for over-filling your plate at an All-You-Can-Eat buffet? A Chinese restaurant in South Shields created a new policy placing a penalty charge of £20 on diners for wastage if they leave food on their plates. The ultimatum; finish the plate. An argument arose as a mother ate out with her son and niece and refused to pay the charge as the wastage amounted to only two onion rings, a spring roll and prawn toast.
It is debateable whether it is correct to charge people for food that cannot be finished or whether it is a vicious act of another money making industry scam. Many may argue that through similar policies we are creating a greener lifestyle, improving the efficiency of the industry. The Government is currently investing £15 million into new research and development projects and studies to help achieve efficiency but also for innovation and growth in the UK’s food industries.
Despite the policy encouraging people to only eat what they can to minimise waste, it also creates an urge to over-eat and finish left-overs to avoid being fined. As a child, more often than not, it is preached to only eat what you can. Economically, charging for surplus is the way forward, as it saves money for the restaurant and the food industry itself. Yet if people are being forced to pay for food they can’t eat where does the line end? Not to mention the food we potentially didn’t enjoy, would we need to justify this too?
Providing a justified answer as to why restaurants can incur extra charges is difficult, as wastage is an issue the world is struggling with which needs to be improved, however charging extra at buffets is probably not the best way to achieve this. There seem to be so many flaws in this policy that cannot be monitored, and might eventually lead to many people eating out elsewhere. The All-You-Can-Eat buffet might easily turn into the All-You-Can’t-Eat.