With food wastage becoming a serious problem in Qatar, some local restaurants have devised a creative way to get people to clean their plates – charging them for leftovers.
That’s the policy at the newly opened Maison De Sushi, a Japanese-Thai place at 01 Mall in Abu Hamour.
The restaurant operates an all-day buffet menu, allowing customers to order unlimited amounts of food to their tables for set prices (QR80 or QR130/person).
Once diners are done eating, they’re charged QR5/per piece of food left on their plates.
However, the restaurant is not a stickler about this rule, one manager told Doha News.
“We don’t always charge people because that’s not the point of adding the rule. We don’t want to penalize people. It’s more about encouraging our guests to take extra care and not waste food,” Nael Salaheddin said.
Sometimes, the restaurant will even wrap up leftovers to be taken home.
Maison De Sushi is not the first restaurant in Doha to impose a fee for wasting food.
Yee Hwa, a Korean/Japanese restaurant in Al Sadd, has long charged customers QR5 for each piece of food left behind during its all-you-can-eat sushi nights.
But the restaurant also is lax about the policy depending on how much food is left behind, a staffer told Doha News.
According to Salaheddin, some customers have found their fee amusing, while others have reacted with frustration and refuse to pay it.
But the overwhelming majority of diners have lauded the rule, he added:
“We see them coming back and always telling us that we’re doing something great. Qataris have said ‘God bless you’ and shown a lot of appreciation.”
And most don’t leave much food on their plates.
“I’m not sure if this is because our food is too good, since I’ve literally seen people licking the leftover sauce, or if it’s because they really appreciate the rule,” Salaheddin said.
Food wastage in Qatar
Qatar has one of the highest per capita food wastes in the world – up to 1.8kg per day.
And discarded food accounts for more than half of Qatar’s municipal garbage.
Local researchers have called this practice “shocking” and “unsustainable,” given that Qatar is a desert nation that imports 90 percent of what it eats.
Academics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar (GU-Q) are now leading a three-year study to investigate how much food is being thrown away here and why.
Meanwhile, efforts are also underway to educate people on what it means to shop smartly and waste less.
Would an extra charge stop you from wasting food?