Remember when you were a kid and your Mom would serve you dinner? Dad would always say that “you better clean your plate!” Mom would chime in, “there are poor kids in China who are starving!” There were probably a few starving kids in the Philippines too, don’t you think?
Back in 2001, Feyma and I owned a small restaurant in General Santos. Yeah, this was before the days when I earned my living on the Internet. The place that we owned was called “Kano Q” and it was an American style BBQ restaurant. We had things like BBQ Ribs, Chicken and such. We introduced a number of styles of food that were somewhat unknown here too. For example, we had onion rings, which is something a lot of people had never even heard of before. Some people, when they saw the onion rings thought that it was calamari, but of course they were wrong.
Kano Q was part of a “food court” style establishment. It was not in a mall or anything, but rather a stand alone restaurant that had like a dozen or so small restaurants all in the one building, with a common seating area for all of the customers. Each small restaurant specialized in a different style of food. There was an Italian food place, Filipino food, our BBQ place and a number of others. There was even a place that specialized in only drinks.
We got in at the very beginning of the establishment. Before the food court business opened up, all of the individual restaurant operators had a big meeting. We decided that as a Grand Opening promotion, we would have a big “All you can eat” buffet. Our agreement was that each restaurant would prepare enough food for a certain number of customers. The customers would pay a single fee to the establishement, and then each restaurant would take an equal cut from the total. We were going to offer the buffet very cheap, at a loss, to get people in the door and introducte them to the foods that would be available.
During our meeting, we were trying to determine how much the cost of the buffet would be. We all settled on a price, P200, for the customer to pay for admission, and they could eat all the food, from as many restaurants they wanted. Yes, we would lose money on it, but it was a matter of introducing the customer to our offering, the losses would be written off to advertising.
After we all settled on a price of P200 per customer, somebody mentioned that “if anybody doesn’t eat all the food on their plate, they pay double, P400.” Everybody agreed. Except Feyma and I. “What?” I said. “Why would they pay double?” Well, so they don’t waste food, was the response. I asked what would happen if they didn’t like one of the dishes? The response was, too bad, they pay double! Now, this was totally outside my experience in the States. Feyma and I were still relatively new here at that time and had never heard of this practice before. Everybody insisted, though, and since Feyma and I were the minority, we went along with it. Funny thing was that none of the customers complained. This was just the normal practice here, I found out.
Here in Davao, a much bigger city, there are lots of Buffet Restaurants, and none of them follow this “pay double” practice for leaving food on your plate, but I have learned that this is a fairly common practice in smaller towns. I think that the practice is fading these days a bit, though.
What would you think if you went to a buffet and you didn’t like one of the foods being served, and were made to pay double because of it?