Restaurant hacks — doggy bag etiquette

2018-10-24 06:03
Asking for a doggy bag, especially in an upmarket restaurant can be intimidating and a little embarrassing- so we asked some restaurant insiders for their help in how to approach the situation.PHOTO: Food24

Asking for a doggy bag, especially in an upmarket restaurant can be intimidating and a little embarrassing- so we asked some restaurant insiders for their help in how to approach the situation.PHOTO: Food24

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EATING out in a restaurant is a special treat for most of us, and the excitement and choice on the menu can sometimes lead to accidentally over-ordering. You fill up on bread before the starter arrives, and when your rump steak gets to the table — no matter how delicious it looks — you just cannot finish it. And of course, we always need to leave a little space for dessert, right?

Asking your waiter to wrap up your leftovers can be a tricky subject to broach, with many of us feeling too embarrassed to ask, especially in a more upmarket restaurant. Here is our guide to approaching the doggy bag question.

When is it ok to ask for a doggy bag?

YOUR WAITER OFFERS TO PACK IT UP FOR YOU

Leaving food on your plate is often interpreted as a sign that you didn’t enjoy your meal. If the waiter offers to wrap it up for you, what she is really asking is — did you enjoy your food? Responding in the positive, and asking to take it home, can be reassuring to your server.

THE RESTAURANT ALSO OFFERS A TAKEAWAY SERVICE

For example pizzas. This means that they will most likely have takeaway packaging on hand.

YOU SEE OTHER GUESTS LEAVING WITH WRAPPED UP LEFTOVERS

As above, this is a clear sign that the staff are used to packing up leftovers and sending you home with snacks for tomorrow.

Reasons why a restaurant may not offer take home parcels.

THE WAITER ADVISES AGAINST IT

Many foods don’t travel well, and are best enjoyed fresh. Waffles, tempura vegetables and even french fries are often never the same again when reheated.

THE MEAL IS A HARD TO PACKAGE ITEM

Any dish that contains ice cream, soups, sauces or multiple components is not going to be as tasty after you’ve shaken up all the different sauces into each other and kept in your fridge for 24 hours. Gross.

It is not a given that the restaurant will have adequate packaging. The restaurant is not required to offer doggy bags, and for the reasons above, may choose to not stock plastic and tin foil container

IT’S NOT OK TO ASK FOR TAKEAWAYS WHEN:

• The restaurant is offering a special deal — buffets, all-you-can-eat, and limitless are usually only valid for sit down consumption only. Check the fine print, or ask the manager.

• You were not happy with the food (and told the manager) — if you complained about the food, and didn’t eat it, it is not acceptable to take it away with you. Just don’t.

Remember to thank your server — it can take time and effort to leave the dining room to package up your leftovers. Leave a little extra tip with the final bill to say thank you for accommodating my request. — Food24.

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