buffet

Leaving food uneaten may cost you at some restaurants

May 17, 2012 at 3:51 PM ET

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With so many choices, the buffet table can be an overwhelming place. But those who overfill their plates may have to pay with more than just their pride at some restaurants.

Kylin Buffet, a Chinese restaurant in the northeast of England, is now charging customers £20 ($32) for food wastage costs if diners leave food on their plates. According to the UK Daily Mail, the policy has upset some customers, including Beverley Clark, 40, who spoke out after being told she’d be fined when her son Sam, 10, and niece Toni, 6, allegedly left two onion rings, a piece of prawn toast and a spring roll on their plates. Clark opted to hide the leftovers in a napkin she placed in her bag so the wait staff would think the family cleaned their plates. She succeeded in hoodwinking them.

Last year, Gulfnews.com reported about a similar policy at Marmar restaurant in Dammam, Saudi Arabia. "There are many clients who make large orders in order to impress the people around them and boost their social prestige," owner Fahad Al Anezi said. The policy was aimed at reducing food wastage and extravagance, with the fine being calculated according to the quantity of the leftovers.

Paying extra for unfinished food isn’t unheard of stateside. Hayashi Ya Japanese restaurant in New York City charges diners 3 percent for not finishing a meal from the all-you-can-eat buffet. Manager Belson Lin told TODAY.com he doesn’t believe customers get upset by the policy, because they know they’ll be charged, and have the option to order a la carte.

And, in case you think all this is in bad form, we found that etiquette guru Emily Post would agree that wasting food is a serious no-no. In her June 15, 1952 column, Post was firm: "Leaving food on your plate is not good manners — and never was because it not only shows lack of appreciation for your hostess' food, but also 'wanton' priorities. Wasting a precious commodity could never be an ethical choice."

What do you think? Are these restaurants justified in charging diners fines for leaving food on their plates?

TODAY.com contributor Jillian Eugenios loves those spring rolls at the buffet, and is convinced she would never be fined for leaving them abandoned and she can't resist eating every last one.

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