After years living in the USA and now well established here in the UK I have noted the British publics aversions to doggy bags, the asking for left overs to be wrapped after a restaurant meal is common across the US and Australia, yet not here in the UK.
We read a great deal about recession and consumers cutting corners to make ends meet, but with their restaurant plates half finished, why not make “your plates end of meat” ready for taking home.
It is interesting that pubs to restaurants to the mid- market chains take great pride and effort in describing the dishes on their menu with words of fresh, home cooked, especially for you, locally reared.
With all this pride and passion in food not one UK menu statement exists or any restaurant suggests ‘you may wish to take your left overs home to enjoy later’. Especially as the cost for the Food Service industry of dealing with food waste, disposal to processing is high. The UK has great take way chains now from Pret to McDonalds, so it’s not so as perhaps it was 15 years ago for Brits to consume take away foods.
So why at the restaurant table is the British consumer reluctant to take their food home to eat later?
Is it pride, their image of appearing lower class or poor communications from the Food Service Industry that has stopped the doggy bag taking off here?
Clearly the restaurant is proud of their kitchen brigade’s abilities, so they in turn should be happy to pack it up for take away. Besides if carrier bags are branded, advertising opportunities exist. All doggy bags could have a promotional menu inserted or a voucher to return again, added as well.
Is it time our industry started promoting this idea, saves on food waste, offers another chance to appease customers and allows left over menu portions to be shared at home. Will it build loyalty, help grow sales, promote a greener industry…lets trial it and see.