Czech restaurants throw out tons of food every day. Many would like to give it away to the needy but strict health norms prevent that. Now a restaurant in Louny, north-west of Prague, has launched its own –somewhat drastic –battle against leftovers, telling guests to “eat up –or pay up.”
Food squandering is a serious problem in homes, supermarkets, canteens and restaurants and although people don’t like to see food wasted, very few do anything about it. Restaurants admit they throw out around 10 kilograms of food every day. Petr, a waiter from a restaurant in Litvinov, says there seems to be no way around the problem.
“We throw left-overs in the garbage can, around 5 to 10 kilos every day. Most often the left-overs are vegetables and other side dishes. Clients expect them. If there is no side dish, they complain. When we give it to them, they often leave it untouched.”
Some restaurants in smaller towns give away their left-overs to the locals to be used as animal feed. However most simply throw them away.
Now a restaurant near the town of Louny has launched its own battle against food squandering. After years of throwing away leftovers, the owner introduced a self-service system with a buffet offering vegetables and other side dishes. People can pile as much as they want onto their plate but they have to eat up – or else get a 50 crown fine added to their bill.
The restaurant’s owner Jan Kristina Trojánková said it seemed like a sensible solution.
“The idea is to make people stop and think about how much they are going to eat. People order stuff and leave it. They expect to get four or six dumplings on their plate but they only eat two. So what we are saying is – take what you want to eat, try it and come back for more if you want an extra helping, but don’t leave your plate half-full.”
Surprisingly, the move has not put visitors off and they seem to accept it with good grace. As for the owner, she says that since the change was introduced they barely have any left-overs.
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