My questions is about doggy bag etiquette in restaurants.
My wife and I recently visited an old friend in Northeast Harbor, Maine, for a long weekend. One night we took him out to dine at a restaurant of his choice. When the bill came, I paid it and I asked for our leftovers to be packaged up to take back to his house. The portions had been huge and as a European, in good conscience, I could not bear to think of good food going to waste. Our friend, however, was mortified. He said I had embarrassed him because asking for a “doggy bag” was bad etiquette.
What’s your opinion, Didi? Do I need to apologize for supposedly embarrassing our host?
–Name Withheld, Far Hills, NJ
- In your thank-you note to your host for the marvelous weekend, say, “As a European, I cannot get used to the huge American portions and I cannot abide seeing good food go to waste.”
- In France, for instance, the home of gourmet cuisine, it isn’t the sophisticated thing to do.
- Interestingly enough, Gen Y is less apt to ask for a doggy bag. A fourth of 18-26-year-olds in a recent survey answered that even if they wanted to ask for one, they wouldn’t.
- We’re seeing a trend in restaurants refusing point-blank, or simply telling diners to bring their own containers and pack them themselves. Some restaurants will even ask you to sign an indemnity form.
- On the other hand, consumer food waste is a bigger pollutant than cars and industry.
Here is a short list of doggy bag etiquette guidelines:
- Doggy bags are inappropriate to ask for at business meals and social events where you are a guest (such as at a wedding or dinner party). On the other hand, if the hostess offers you the rest of the Key Lime Pie, let her wrap it up for you.
- Also, never ask for a doggy bag at a four- or five-star restaurant because they won’t have a container and you wouldn’t bring your own.
- Never take someone else’s leftovers home.
- Even if you paid for your date’s dinner, don’t ask to take his or her leftovers home, as it will make you look like a cheapskate.
- Furthermore, if you take home a doggy bag and reheat it two days later, don’t go whining on social media that the food from that restaurant made you sick, because it’s unfair to the restaurant.
Enjoy this post? Share it with others.
Accepting A Compliment