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Japanese Buffet To Charge Customers Who Don't Finish Their Food

You Waste, You Buy

If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, one restaurant thinks you should pay the price for being too greedy. In an unprecedented move, Hayashi Ya, a Japanese buffet on Manhattan's Upper West Side, has begun adding a 30 percent surcharge for customers who don't finish food on their plate. In other words, the restaurant's $26.95 meal deal is all-you-can-eat — but not a bite more. According to Hayashi Ya's manager Ben Lin, the motivation behind adding a surcharge was twofold. First, it's an incentive for customers to only take what they can eat, thereby cutting down on waste. Second, it prevents the eatery from obtaining a surplus of ingredients, which hurts the restaurant's profitability.

There's been a lot of discussion over this charge, but I think it's legitimate. In this tight economy, restaurants are fighting to remain profitable. Although entire civilizations across the globe are in dire need of food, studies show that anywhere between 30 percent and 50 percent of edible food goes to waste. All factors considered, I think the surcharge is rather sensible. Do you think it's fair?


stumbler02 stumbler02 8 years
I don't get it, What's the point? The customer has already paid for the food whether they eat it or not once they put it on their plate makes no difference.
Food Food 8 years
@Courtneyd: I would have been traumatized too!!! Wow, what an experience.
reesiecup reesiecup 8 years
mmm...i've eaten at many smaller restaurants that encourage you to "take all that you eat but eat all that you take." it does put a little pressure on people who do go and like to try most of the entrees offered. i always feel bad when i waste food. but i can definitely understand why owners would prefer to enforce it. some all-you-can-eat asian places will bring out the next dish once you've finished the previous dish. i guess in the end, it just depends on how much you like the place--whether you like getting the most out of your buck or enjoying just enough of the food you love!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I think the surcharge is prevents the whole "eyes-bigger-than-your-stomach" thing from happening. If you really ARE hungry, just get another plate after you clear your first one. It drives me nuts when people load up their plates at buffets and then don't finish them. You waste a lot of food that way, so I don't blame the restaurants for wanting to curb some of their expenses.
nikks nikks 8 years
I hate people who waste food!!!!!!!! I always clean my plate. OMG I hate it when Im out eating somewhere and people have like half of their plate left and they dont bother putting it in a box! You know you can just put everything in a box so you dont waste it and if you dont want it and you happen to see a homeless man and why dont you be nice and give it to them. UGH SO ANNOYING! Think of all the people who dont even have food at all. I just wanna give them a huge guilt trip about all the people in like third world countries who dont have access to food like we do. Imagine families of seven from the slums of the philippines who would go crazy over a plate you had for thanksgiving. UGH! HAHAHA! Sorry had to vent. :]
rebekah rebekah 8 years
i wouldn't eat there, that's ridiculous. and rude.
courtneyd courtneyd 8 years
And wow, Bengalspice, you can get a lot at this place for cheap. $27 for all-you-can-eat would go a long way in my neighborhood where rolls cost anywhere from $10-20 for each roll and 2 pieces of nigiri cost around $7.
courtneyd courtneyd 8 years
I agree with shoneyjoe... Part of the attractiveness of an all-you-can-eat is trying new things, and if what you try is horrendous, you shouldn't be penalized for not eating it (or, if the restaurant's execution is crappy, you definitely shouldn't be penalized for it). I probably would have thought this was fair once upon a time, had I not had a certain experience at an all-you-can-eat sushi night. Basically, you were allowed to put in your order, and once you finished it, you could put in another order. When we decided to order the all-you-can-eat sushi deal, my boyfriend and I had to spend a good 5 minutes assuring the waitress that we understood it was $20 *each* and that it was 1.5 hours to closing time (no exaggeration here - 5 minutes of discussion and reassurance at a place I frequented often). We finished the first round just fine, but in the second round I ordered uni. I'm not sure if I just hate uni, or if it was bad, but either way, I doubt I will ever try it again, because it was all I could do to not vomit after eating it. I couldn't eat anything else (and there were many things I loved and would probably stuff myself silly with no matter how full I was normally still on my plate). At this point, it was near closing time, and the rather militant waitress we had came by and told us we could not leave until we cleared our plates. Luckily, after seeing me turn 6 shades of green, she cocked her head back and cackled, and asked if we wanted it boxed up (which is a huge no-no on the all-you-can-eat menu; it's spelled out everywhere). Long story short, I would have definitely paid a fee to not eat anything else on my plate, but I doubt I would ever go back to the place if I had to.
ladycaine ladycaine 8 years
I think it's a good idea in theory, but difficult for people because sometimes I'll take something, being hungry, but suddenly I'm not hungry anymore and it's there on my plate. But I'm glad that they're trying to cut down on waste and I think it makes sense in buffets and places where the customer can't take home leftover food. I have to wonder though if that move might hurt their business? If people don't have enough money to begin with, having to pay extra might make them quit the establishment.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
I think it's fair, too. Besides, I'm a savvy buffet eater. :) Generally, during my first round, I take TINY portions of different foods. I take it back to my table to taste. Whatever tasted good, I come back the second round, and help myself to normal servings. Whatever tasted bad, gets put (or spit into) a napkin. Needless to say, during my second round, I overlook the bad-tasting stuff. Bottom line, I end up finishing everything on my plate (except for a few yucky bites that my end up in my napkin). In my opinion, I'm not being wasteful.
L0neLyHeArT L0neLyHeArT 8 years
I think that's its fair.
ferret ferret 8 years
i was going to comment, but i'm distracted by tweet hotpants's avatar. i looooooove it! :LOVE:
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
I think it makes sense for this situation, particularly if they allow you to take the uneaten food home with you. For all buffets, no, it doesn't make sense. People at Golden Corral would not be happy!
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 8 years
I don't eat much bread so when I order a soup or a breakfast I tell my waiter not to bring any. Why waste the food?
PinkUnicorn PinkUnicorn 8 years
Most of the all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants in my city have been doing something like this for at least the last five years. Here, they charge $1-$2 per uneaten item. I have no problem with this as it cuts back on wasted food and makes you think before you eat.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
btw, Hayashi Ya is not a buffet. It's a regular sushi joint that happens to have its own separate all-you-can-eat menu. So you can't just pick and choose how much you want of something ... furthermore, to make it count for $27 this is how much food I have to order: shumai edamame spider roll dragon roll dynamite roll spicy yellow tail 3 pieces of sushi green tea ice cream and one sake That's more food than one person should be eating on their own. They basically set you up to fail. I have to fast the entire day to make it through all this food.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
Not fair if the food doesn't meet your expectations and is totally hit or miss in quality, and you can't send the food back because it's gross.
verbafacio verbafacio 8 years
I don't think I would do well at a place with this rule. I often use buffets as an opportunity to try things I wouldn't order off the menu. I like being more adventurous, but sometimes the new things are just not good. I try not to take more than I can eat, but I do sometimes leave things I end up not liking. I agree that buffets can be wasteful, and this is one way to combat the waste, but it seems like it is at the expense of taking culinary chances.
kia kia 8 years
Heck ya it is fair. I rarely go to an all-you-can eat place but when I do it is usually the Sweet Tomatoes salad bar and it is disgusting watching how much food is tossed out. People can be little piggies and it makes no sense to pile your plate when you step to the trough and then decide to only eat half of it when you can go back as many times as you want. If you want to sample something then take a small taste.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i think that this is pretty normal at the allyoucaneat sushi restaurants i've been to, you get charged in full for all the food you don't consume so it's, say, $20 for all you can eat but if you order like 10 more rolls at the end of the meal, and can't finish them, then you pay $6 per roll or whatever the menu price is it's fair enough, or else groups of people would come in and say "i'll have two of everything on the menu" and it's a huge waste!
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
I agree with mochick ... it does cause people to overeat ... especially when you go as a group and there are people who don't pull their weight either because they are too stupid to speak up and say "I can't eat much", or they order things and then try to hide it because they didn't take the warning seriously.
bengalspice bengalspice 8 years
I've been to Hayashi Ya, and let me tell you ... it SUCKS now. Not because of this 30% charge, because they've always had it. The service is horrid; the two waitresses are total b*tches and they take forever to serve you food and the free soda/sake that comes with it. The place is a hole in the wall infested with flies. I think I swatted more flies than ate sushi. The sushi is not up to par. This place used to be my favorite ... the rolls used to be worth the price [back then I think I payed $21]. Now, the spider rolls make me want to vomit. Everything is half the size it used to be. And they are charging $27 for this. I had always been really polite and followed the rules, but the people there have gotten really rude and have no problem trying to find ways to charge you that 30%.
girlwparasol girlwparasol 8 years
I would be so screwed at that place ;p I'm such a picky eater, and I tend to eat very small portions. At regular restaurants, I never clean my plate, and my friends all joke that it's not worth the money for me to go to buffets (I agree), because I never eat x-amount of food. I do try a lot of things, though... and I do find most of them to be gross. I tend to try to pass off half-eaten this-and-thats on to my BF, but it doesn't work if he's already stuffed himself. I just feel that a rule like this will penalise the wrong people, and have other ill effects. It'll punish people who leave scraps, and will probably lead to more people over-eating, attempting to clear their plates to avoid the surcharge. (and have you ever ridden in a car full of men who have pigged out at a buffet? not pleasant.) It's not a huge deal, but still a silly rule.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
I think this could hurt them. Right now, people are eating out waaaaay less than they ever did before and now, on top of that, there is this extra charge if I can't finish everything!
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