Don't Finish Your Plate...Pay 3% More

NYC Eatery Charges 3 Percent For Food You Waste

Japanese Restaurant Cuts Costs, Food Thrown Away By Hitting Patrons Who Have Eyes Bigger Than Stomach

Your mother may have told you to clean your plate. Well, now one local restaurant is taking that a step further. They're charging customers for food they don't finish.

At Hayashi Ya Japanese restaurant on the Upper West Side it's all you can eat for $26.95, unless your eyes are bigger than your stomach and then -- like the sign says -- it will cost you extra.

When asked if he had ever been hit with a 3 percent charge for packing some stuff up and taking it home, Gene Nadelson of Sheepshead Bay laughed. "No, we are trying to finish everything here," Nadelson said.

Patrons said they don't mind the surcharge because it helps with their waistline. The manager said he implemented the extra cost two years ago to help with the restaurant's bottom line. The manager told CBS 2 HD the main motivation for the charge is to eliminate waste. And cost.

"Tens of billions of dollars are wasted each year on food that is purchased and not eaten," said Joel Berg of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

Under the Clinton administration, Berg oversaw a program to reduce food waste. Now, he's the executive director of the NYC Coalition. "Americans would be shocked to know how much food is wasted," Berg said.

It's estimated 27 percent of all food is thrown out, which works out to a pound of food every day for every American. "Most of the food that's wasted ends up in landfills," Berg said. "That's not only bad for the environment; some of it could have gone to feed hungry people."

With food prices at their highest in 17 years, Berg said it's time for Americans to rethink the way they eat. "One little blemish on their food and Americans who can afford to do so, throw out that apple," Berg said. Many chain restaurants, like TGI Friday, are also responding by cutting portion sizes.

"One in six residents can't afford enough food at all," Berg said. "We certainly don't need on the other side of the spectrum fancy restaurants offering ridiculous excess portions." And to cut down on waste in your own home, skip buying produce in those big wholesale clubs and try going shopping inside the pantry in your own house. Make some creative dinner menus use up the extra items and watch the savings add up.

A recent study found roughly 30 million tons of food is wasted each year.
[via Banquet Manager]

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