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.
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?