Saturday, November 13, 2010

What's on the Menu?

Dining out in a favorite Restaurant establishment is an event enjoyed by most everyone. For some, the experience is saved for special occasions, but for many this routine of “eating out” is incorporated into weekly or daily routine. The social element of this practice meets with an ambiance of pleasures including the setting, wonderful smells and delicious food.

Not all of the portions served in Restaurants are eaten at the table. Taking home leftover portions of uneaten food from the plate has become an acceptable practice. Days gone by one might ask for a “doggie bag”. Over time, Styrofoam cartons and boxes designed to carry home servings of food that guests had not finished eating during the mealtime replaced the “bag”.

Awareness of the mounting piles of trash accumulating all over our Planet has spurred a new trend; to rethink the impact of what gets used and what is thrown away. Gratefully, many restaurants and their customers have chosen to move away from using single use cartons and carriers for small bits of food left upon one’s plate. The idea? Choose to re-use.

Customers might opt to bring their own food containers. Establishments might find ways to reward diners that bring their own re-usables with special menu items or special prices for participants. Providing retail space for the purchase of reusable food containers and serve-ware will also encourage this practice. Check out for some new ideas that are worth considering.

Restaurant Owners and Chefs often approach our Company about the use of Glass Straws in their businesses. Some have concerns about serving beverages with glass straws due to the incidence of theft. Unfortunatley, a public clientele often includes some that are tempted to take and keep the serve-ware provided which cuts deeply into profits of these businesses.

The solution?
Menu Upgrades!

Reusable containers and serve-ware can be included right into the restaurant menu choices! This idea brings a convenient option with an eco-conscious focus. It encourages personal choices to reduce the incident of excessive waste. Adding a reusable glass straw as a beverage upgrade for a special price will promote the reuse of that same straw by the consumer. Likewise, upgrading the size of a beverage to those that bring their own reusable straw will reward and encourage eco-responsibility.

Many people still find the practice of re-use as a new frontier of thought. However, as time moves forward there are sure to be many more ideas on the horizon that will flow together and become a beginning of a solution to pollution.


  1. I love the idea of bringing your own "doggie bag" with you, or bringing your glass dharma straw and receiving a discount.

  2. I have brought my own container a time or two. Some of the establishments here are using containers that can be composted. Works for us because we have compost piles.

  3. I agree w/Elizabeth...I think it would be nice to receive a discount for bringing your own doggie bag or glass dharma instead of paying more to receive one.

  4. Dear Manager,

    As a long-time customer, I not only appreciate your food but also the fact that it is served on reusable durable dishes, with real flatware and glasses. I know that when I eat at The Backyard Steak Pit, I’ll have a waste-free meal — except for one thing: the disposable plastic straws. I have never been fond of the use of straws in general and now that I know how much plastic waste they cause I am even more vigilant about my family not using them. Because of that knowledge, our family of five doesn’t need or want straws. But unless I ask the server ahead of time not to bring us straws, they give us straws automatically, generating plastic waste that will last for thousands of years.

    In honor of Earth Day last week, I am writing to ask you to change your plastic straw policy.

    1) First, please train your servers to ask customers if they want a straw instead of automatically giving them one. Some people don’t like straws and will appreciate being asked. All others will get a chance to stop and think about whether they actually need this disposable plastic item in the first place.

    2) Second, I would love it if you’d switch to paper straws for those customers who request one. Yes, they are still disposable, but at least they are compostable and will not last in the environment, potentially harming wildlife. One company that offers paper straws is Aardvark (

    3) And third, please consider participating in an upgrade program, offering customers the opportunity to pay extra for their meal and receive a reusable straw to carry with them. There is a U.S. company called Glass Dharma. On their web site, they describe the Menu Upgrade program for restaurants (, which I think is a fantastic idea.

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to visiting The Backyard Steak Pit again soon. I would love a response letting me know what steps you are willing to take. Our entire family loves The Backyard Steak Pit, we especially appreciate the mouthwatering food and friendly atmosphere.

    Sent to:

    Chicago Dough Company
    545 S Main Street
    Bourbonnais, IL 60914

    843 W Rollins
    Round Lake Beach, IL 60073

    Buffalo Wild Wings
    500 E. Rollins Road
    Round Lake Beach, IL 60073

    The Backyard Steak Pit
    1818 N. Grandwood Drive
    Gurnee, IL 60031

    Ginny’s CafĂ©
    228 E. Main
    Round Lake Park, IL 60073

  5. I like to make food and love to eat. I have lots of recipes about snacks, dinner, lunch and for breakfast. And I also like your recipe. Thanks for the sharing.

  6. Helpful artical.
    Thanks for a well written and informative post.
    What Is The Best SIP for 5 Years?