Booted from Buffet

While we are on the subject of food today...

Had the amusement of reading about a Des Moines family that was kicked out of a Chinese buffet restaurant for wasting too much food.

Says employee Lin Huyen: "They just take one bite and throw it away. They take four egg rolls and crab rangoon, take one bite of egg roll and throw the whole plate. That is wasting food."

Says ejected customer Wendy Dershem: "We waste too much food. But the buffet is all you can eat. And you know kids. They won't always eat everything and they want something else."

The question becomes, when you pay the flat fee (as Dershem did) and you are permitted to pile up your plate, should it really matter if said food reaches your stomach or not? Or, does the buffet - a private business - have the right to dismiss customers if their actions are harmful to the restaurant's bottom line (i.e. throwing away large quantities of food = lost dollars)?

I side with the restaurant here. Kick 'em out.

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It is called "all you can

It is called "all you can eat", not "all you can take".

This reminds me of a problem

This reminds me of a problem European casinos had with a family that had a system for winning roulette. The story goes that the casino suspected them of targeting biased wheels, and kicked them out, but European anti discrimination laws didn't consider ejecting the family reasonable, much the same way they may not see kicking someone out for wasting food as reasonable.

"European anti

"European anti discrimination laws didn’t consider ejecting the family reasonable"

And that's one of the gotchas with well-intentioned legislation. When people support it they think they're supporting the idea of other people being virtuous, but what they're actually supporting is the reality of arbitrary government frightening people away from using their own best judgement. Regulations force people to follow strict patterns and in doing so indimidate people away from applying their individual intelligence. The result is stupidity and waste.

as usual , the Simpson's had

as usual , the Simpson's had an episode on this very subject, when Homer sued the Seafood restauraunt for kicking him out,before he had 'all you can eat'. its a scream.

The question becomes, when

The question becomes, when you pay the flat fee (as Dershem did) and you are permitted to pile up your plate, should it really matter if said food reaches your stomach or not?

Of course. The price of admission is set based on the assumption that the amount of food you take will be limited by the amount you can fit in your stomach. If you eat only a small portion of each plateful of food you take, but you still eat until full, you're taking many times as much food as you would if you took only "all you can eat."

It's one thing to take a bit too much food and then stop eating before finishing it, but according to this report from a local paper, it went far beyond that and was part of a recurring pattern:

Manager Kent Cao confirmed that Dershem was told not to come back if she continued to waste food. A waitress and cashier watched the group on past occasions and were concerned.


But Dragon House manager Kent Cao said Dershem's situation had gone beyond simply not cleaning plates. The group members took food, didn't finish it and then piled on the same food again, he said.

"She's done that too many times," Cao said. "We would welcome her back if she has respect and knows what she wants."

And I'm not entirely sure, but it sounds as though they were just told not to come back, and were not actually thrown out in the middle of the meal, so there's no case at all to be made for breach of contract.

I definitely side with the

I definitely side with the restaurant here. I frequent a sushi buffet where it is required to eat the rice under nigiri sushi. They have a sign that says "All you can eat, but not all you can waste" Perhaps this restaurant should have a similar sign.

Spoonie Luv is right. I

Spoonie Luv is right. I also frequent a lovely sushi buffet that also requires you to eat the rice if you take that kind of sushi. They do sell a large plate of sashimi (fish without rice) at a reasonable additional charge. If a diner is seen eating the fish but not the rice, he is charged as if he had ordered the sashimi plate too. This policy is posted at every table. We've never seen it violated, but we've seen many plates of sashimi sold, so it seems to work great.

Maybe the Chinese buffet could also add an extra charge for unusual wastage, if they determined and posted it in advance. Otherwise, they were as much within their rights to kick the bums out as they would if a gang of hired rowdies came in and started throwing food around on purpose in order to hurt the owner's bottom line.

ObSimpsonRef: LIONEL HUTZ:


LIONEL HUTZ: Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of false advertising since my lawsuit against the movie The Neverending Story!

I was gonna pitch in with

I was gonna pitch in with the sushi eat-the-fucking-rice buffet but apparantly these are quite common. I've only gone to it once (the policy was written on the menu in a 'small print' type of way). Damned I'll be if I go to a buffet and be forced to eat rice (the fact that they seemed to be perennially out of straight up sashimi convinced me that this here was a scam going on).
So while I think the restaurant has the right to kick them out, I wouldn't patronize the place either. I doubt most people would - the sushi buffet above is now out of business.

I've been feeding a group of

I've been feeding a group of (other people's) children at my house recently on a regular basis, and I am utterly appalled by the amount of food they waste. Invariably they will take a full plateful of something, then, if they don't like it much, pick at it and throw most of it away. There was barbecued chicken served this past Sunday, and I could have eaten two or three lunches on what 6 kids took and then threw away.

I've been tempted to dredge up the west point mess hall slogan that my dad peppered me with when I was their age: "Take all you want, but *EAT* all you take."