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Sharing apparently is not caring

By Alexandra Craig - 3 February 2015 22

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Sharing meals is the norm at lots of restaurants these days with most offering share plates, or offering customers a plate each to take their own helpings from the main plates of their order. Eightysix in Braddon, for example, has designed its entire menu around sharing.

A photo from an unnamed Canberra eatery was uploaded onto social media last week. The photo was of a page of their menu that said ‘SHARING MEALS NOT PERMITTED’. Interesting, I thought. How would they enforce this? Would an employee rush over and whack a fork out of someone’s hand with a tea towel the second they attempted to indulge in some of their partner’s meal? Probably not.

no shared meals

I assume this is one of those situations where the restaurant owners are unhappy about couples coming in and ordering one meal between them, perhaps a dessert or a light mid-afternoon snack. While this sounds like a fair argument, it’s kind of not. If a couple isn’t allowed to split a meal, by the same standards the restaurant should refuse all single diners. They can’t argue that the second person is taking up table space because they’re not going to seat two random strangers together. The seat opposite a single diner is going to remain empty anyway.

If it were a few regular groups of four or more people coming in and splitting one dish between them, then I can see how this would cause a financial loss to the eatery if there are other diners waiting for a table. However, seeing something like that on the menu written in such a blunt way would discourage me from ever eating there. I also think this could lead to a huge decline in business for this particular eatery, especially as there are so many other cafes and restaurants in Canberra that are fine with customers sharing meals.

I don’t know the name of the eatery that has this rule of ‘no sharing’ on their menu. It wasn’t disclosed on the social media post and I wasn’t able to establish where it came from either. If I knew which eatery it was, I would name them. I don’t see it as a ‘shaming’ thing, they printed it on their menu. It’s not meant to be a secret.

Do you know of any cafes or restaurants in the ACT that have the ‘no sharing’ rule? Have you ever had that rule enforced on you?

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
Sharing apparently is not caring
farnarkler 10:00 pm 04 Feb 15

You have to wonder if the owner’s surname is Scrooge! That’s the kind of place I’d walk in, look at the menu and walk straight out the door. I know of a well known restaurant at Gold Creek that won’t do doggy bags citing OH&S. Trying to stop meal sharing though, how ridiculous.

tooltime 9:27 pm 04 Feb 15

I get it,

End of day, all (hospitality) businesses have a profit motive. We consumers (maybe not all of us all the time) are looking for value, social cache and an experience when we dine out.

But they are two different goals.

I really don’t know how most restaurants survive. High wages, rents, utilities & the ultra competitive landscape are just the start. This step taken by management isn’t likely to bring more punters in, quite the contrary. I suspect poor management making these sorts of decisions. Maybe they’re going under which is why they’re resorting to this tactic – which will only peeve more people and hasten their collapse.

News travels fast, nowhere quicker than online. Even if they did reversed course immediately, damage has still been inflicted.

fabforty 7:05 pm 03 Feb 15

What a mean and miserable restaurant. I sometimes wonder why people who clearly resent their customers ever go into hospitality.

Stay away in droves people.

Maya123 6:52 pm 03 Feb 15

Evilomlap said :

I’m actually keen to know what this place is so I can go there and ‘meal share’ just to see what they’ll actually do.

Hee, hee, I like the suggestion. Report back.

Evilomlap 5:25 pm 03 Feb 15

This is so ridiculous. ‘Meal sharing’ could be interpreted in many ways. If you’re paying for the food, once it leaves the kitchen and arrives on your table it’s yours to do with as you please. I’m actually keen to know what this place is so I can go there and ‘meal share’ just to see what they’ll actually do.

John Moulis 4:17 pm 03 Feb 15

This is obviously not a Chinese restaurant where sharing meals is encouraged. Large tables at most Chinese restaurants usually have turntables in the middle where the food is placed and each diner turns it to access the food they want.

ausbradr 3:25 pm 03 Feb 15

*soup nazi voice* NO BUSINESS FOR THEM!

We may as well name / shame them. I quite often like to share a side with my partner before having a big main meal, so I’m not too full for the main meal. We do like to try a new restaurant/cafe every weekend, and if we see that on the menu, we’re walking out. Very poor form IMHO.

Blen_Carmichael 1:14 pm 03 Feb 15

From soup nazi to share nazis.

Felix the Cat 11:51 am 03 Feb 15

neanderthalsis said :

It is often the case that my wife will ask for a doggy bag as she has a rather small appetite, some places now charge for a take away container and we are generally happy to pay a reasonable amount for that (50c seems to be common). We will also often share a dessert after the meal. I can’t see how this would have any impact different to just one person from a couple ordering a dessert.

If I were to see that meal sharing and doggy bagging is not allowed, I would simply not eat there.

Raiders Club at Gungahlin has a sign up stating no doggy bags, citing OH&S regulations.

neanderthalsis 10:59 am 03 Feb 15

It is often the case that my wife will ask for a doggy bag as she has a rather small appetite, some places now charge for a take away container and we are generally happy to pay a reasonable amount for that (50c seems to be common). We will also often share a dessert after the meal. I can’t see how this would have any impact different to just one person from a couple ordering a dessert.

If I were to see that meal sharing and doggy bagging is not allowed, I would simply not eat there.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 10:49 am 03 Feb 15

I sometimes wonder if Canberra restuarants and cafes are having some kind of crap service competition. A recent trip OS reinforced to me just how poor service in this town is. I don’t want the service staff to kiss my butt or fawn, but getting drinks promptly, taking an order correctly and smiling a bit would go a long way to improving the current situation.

I guess when you have a city with plenty of wealthy people who eat out the competition for a quality experience just doesn’t exist.

Maya123 10:28 am 03 Feb 15

Many places serve meals that are far too big, whether it be the main course or afternoon tea. If they didn’t do this there would not be a problem with people sharing and wanting doggy bags. They might also serve more courses, and get paid for them. I visited France and at the main meal I mostly ate three courses, and I lost weight without ever feeling I wasn’t fed enough. Here it’s rare to be able to eat more than one course. Some people argue that the meals are not too big, which this attitude does help explain our obesity rates.
For afternoon tea I often share (an oversized) cake serve with a friend. Neither of us would buy that cake by ourselves, so if we were not allowed to share, that is the loss of the sale of one piece of cake, and likely the two coffees too, as we would go elsewhere. I can’t see how that sharing could be stopped though. One person orders the cake and coffee and then the other says they only want coffee. The cafe might not supply a second fork, but there is always the coffee teaspoon to use. Are the staff going to come across and make a scene when it is seen both people are eating it? I can make a scene too, and from past experience it does satisfyingly get the attention of every other customer in the place what the cafe is about.
How about if two single people go in, order their meal separately and then ‘spot’ each other and join the one table. Will the restaurant then make one bill for them? That would cause a fuss. Way to loss customers!
What happens if someone takes their own doggy bag?
Years ago I saw a notice on the wall of a large Broken Hill club that said any adult only ordering an entrée would be charged for a main course. So of course I imagine most people there would then order a main course instead, even if the entrée was big enough for them. I ate there, because of lack of other choices. The meal, was greasy, very ordinary (I’m being kind), and big enough for two or three people. The place was packed. Which goes a long way to explaining why the western division has the highest obesity rates in the state. The place was packed with the obese, and if that is where they often eat, with that rule about entrees and massive meals I fully believe those obesity rates. However, a local cafe was even further over the top with their serves. I ordered an entrée, which two to three people could have eaten as a main meal.
If two people are sharing one meal, it means the servings are big enough for two people and the serving size needs to be reduced. That will then discourage people sharing meals or wanting doggy bags. If those rules are enforced and the business manages to get enough repeat customers that will be a lot of wasted food, or, like in Broken Hill, be adding to the obesity problem. I read somewhere that 40% of food is wasted. Why does the restaurant want to be an aggressive participant in this?

Alexandra Craig 10:26 am 03 Feb 15

switch said :

“However, seeing something like that on the menu written in such a blunt way would discourage me from ever eating there.”

Me too. Wish they had named the place so I’d know not to bother.

I found out overnight that it’s somewhere in Mawson. No idea which place it is though. Maybe another Rioter will be able to help us out.

switch 10:11 am 03 Feb 15

“However, seeing something like that on the menu written in such a blunt way would discourage me from ever eating there.”

Me too. Wish they had named the place so I’d know not to bother.

Ghettosmurf87 8:58 am 03 Feb 15

It would seem to be a pretty poorly thought through policy from the restaurant. I’m sure I’m not alone in having gone out for dinner, felt pretty full at the end of it and thought, gee, there’s no way I could eat a whole dessert by myself while my partner had the same thought. Oh wait, how bout we share that delicious dessert item? Yes? Brilliant!

If a restaurant was to dictate that we must each have our own dessert then no dessert would have been ordered at all because I’m not going to buy a dish that I can’t possibly finish or that will make me sick trying to do so.

Same goes for mains and entrees. Hmmm, I don’t think that meal is big enough, but 2 is way too much. How bout we get 3 dishes between 2 of us and share them?

So really the restaurant with this policy is just costing itself revenue. If you allow people to share then they’re actually likely to order MORE in my opinion

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