Discount for diners polishing off plates

Feb 25, 2013, 01:48 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Drought fears prompt city restaurants to make offer, if every morsel served to patrons is eaten; hotels offering 'thali' service see most food wastage

The next time you visit a restaurant in the city and find a waiter courteously whispering that you could get a discount if you polish off all the morsels on your plate and water in your glass, don’t be surprised.

City-based restaurants have come up with a unique offer for diners, in a bid to ensure water and food is not wasted during a time when drought fears loom large in the state. Patrons opting for ala carte could rest assured that requesting for their left over food to be parcelled would not attract glares of disbelief from other diners.

Waste not, want not: A staff member of Durvankur Dining Hall shows a thali ordered by a customer that certainly earns the diner the discount being offered. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Those opting for buffet offers however could be faced with an appetite killer, as they would also be expected to take only as much as they can stomach. The decision came after hoteliers collectively noticed that around 50 kilograms of food was being wasted by diners on average each day.

The offer is gaining popularity and with drought like situation threatening, restaurants are also dreaming up various offers and ways to save water. Ganesh Shetty, president of Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (RHA) said that members have been asked to serve glasses containing only 3/4th drinking water. “Since the beginning of the year, I have been circulating the message among association members informing that they should ask staffers to give only necessary quantities of water to customers,” Shetty said.

About the wastage of food, Shetty said this mostly happened in dining halls where ‘thalis’ are being served with unlimited food items. “Food remaining from thali service normally gets no one asking for it to be parcelled, and it goes straight into bins and is thereafter disposed off. We have however noticed that in other restaurants, 90 per cent of the customers ask for left over food to be parcelled for them. This practice does prevent wastage of food,” Shetty said.

Taking the message seriously, Durvankur Dining Hall kicked off efforts to save water and food from wastage three months ago. The owner announced a Rs 20 discount if customers opting for thali service do not waste food served to them.
“Three months ago, when we noticed wastage of around 50 kg food every day, we decided to do something g about it,” said owner Ulhas Mankar.

He added that the idea came about as it could not only attract customers, but also ensure that food was not wasted. Shetty has also tried a different approach of requesting restaurant owners to minimise the items on their menus, but that does not seem to be an idea that has any takers.

“There are around 150 restaurants offering thali system in the city and all are having a competition amongst themselves and the number of food items in their respective menus,” Shetty said.

Head of PMC’s Solid Waste Management Department, Suresh Jagtap, said that every day around 50 per cent waste comes from the category of organic waste, and waste from hotels contribute to a major share.  

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