Photo: Royal Host
food

Japanese restaurant chain starts new policy: Letting you take your leftovers home with you

11 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japanese restaurants have a lot of hospitable touches to them, like the oshibori, a thick, moist hand towel (chilled in the summer, but warm in the winter) and an on-table call button so you can summon a waiter without having to raise your voice. Something they generally don’t have, though, is doggy bags.

Granted, even accounting for differences in the average size of people in Japan and Western nations, Japanese restaurant portions are more modest. That said, there are still Japanese people with particularly small appetites, as well as restaurants in Japan that serve up especially generous portions. But if you don’t clean your plate when eating out in Japan, you can expect any uneaten food to go back into the kitchen when the wait staff clears your table, and then into the trash.

So it actually marked a big policy shift when Royal Host, a popular nationwide restaurant chain specializing in yoshoku (originally Western-style cuisine adapted to suit Japanese tastes) announced that it’s now allowing eat-in customers to take their leftovers home, and is supplying containers for those who wish to do so.

So why don’t all restaurants do this? Some cite health concerns, saying that they don’t want customers to possibly become sick after eating food that wasn’t properly stored or refrigerated between when the customer leaves the restaurant and eventually eats it. This feels like a pretty flimsy excuse, though, given that Japan is filled with convenience stores, bento boxed lunch takeout places, and supermarkets stocked with all manner of pre-made foodstuffs that customers can purchase and take home to eat whenever they want.

It’s possible that such businesses may have specialized licenses that restaurants would need to acquire, but even if that is the case, it doesn’t seem like it would be a particularly high hurdle for restaurants to clear, considering that they already need to show they store and handle the food that goes into their dishes in a safe and sanitary manner. So perhaps much of Japanese restaurants’ reluctance to let customers take home their leftovers comes from an image-management position. It’s simply something that restaurants haven’t traditionally done, and customers walking out with bags of food might be seen by some as something that should be left to cheap fast food joints, not sit-down dining establishments.

But whatever the arguments against doggy bags, Royal Host has decided it’s time for a change. In its announcement, the restaurant chain cited a desire to comply with calls from the Japanese government’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries to work towards sustainable development goals by reducing food waste.

The path to Royal Host’s new policy’s implementation was probably further smoothed by the influence the coronavirus pandemic has had on the restaurant industry in Japan. While in-restaurant dining hasn’t been legally prohibited, many Japanese people are choosing to avoid it. In response, a large number of restaurants that previously did not offer take-out, including Royal Host, have started to. So if Royal Host already has containers and is instructing its staff in how to pack up food, it doesn’t seem like it should make a difference if the food being packed is leftovers.

Royal Host’s new policy went into effect on October 7, and while certain items, such as soup and raw foods, are still on the no-take-home list, it’s a big change for the chain, and hopefully one that other restaurants will implement too.

Source: Royal Host via Entabe

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© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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Nothing new. Capricciosa ( one of the best Italian food restaurant chains in Tokyo ( unbelievable pasta ) ) - they let people take their leftovers home. I don’t know since when but the first time I went there was years ago. Now with this covid thing going on you can also simply go there and take out. and it’s far from being a “cheap fast food joint” or whatever you wanna call it.

and customers walking out with bags of food might be seen by some as something that should be left to cheap fast food joints, not sit-down dining establishments.

smh...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

About time. Maybe not for Royal Host, but pasta restaurants and pizza yeah.

On the other hand, when my family would go to a steak house in the States my brother would order the largest steak on the menu and take half of it home. It would tick me off cuz I’m still slowly enjoying my NY Strip and he and his wife are finished, with takeout boxes sitting in front of them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Letting you take your leftovers home with you

It’s possible that such businesses may have specialized licenses that restaurants would need to acquire, but even if that is the case, it doesn’t seem like it

No, it's not regulated, it really depends on each restaurant decide that. Some don't care at all, while others have certain reason like this

Some cite health concerns, saying that they don’t want customers to possibly become sick after eating food that wasn’t properly stored or refrigerated between when the customer leaves the restaurant and eventually eats it

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Covid/Corona has brought many positive changes. In addition to "doggie bags", just offering takeout at non-fast-food restaurants is also relatively new, and greatly welcome.

Let's not forget working-from-home, fewer hanko requirements, less forced overtime, emailing vs faxing, online forms/applications vs in-person, dropping the stupid April hiring cattle calls, etc.

Like many societal advances in Japan, it took a disaster to force progress. But, it always amazes me how quickly Japan adapts once woken from its complacency.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Capricciosa ( one of the best Italian food restaurant chains in Tokyo ( unbelievable pasta )

Also, one of the few places to get decent pizza in Japan, especially from a chain store. (And, they're not just in Tokyo, btw.)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This has always been possible, it's just that people are embarrassed to ask.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

This has always been possible, it's just that people are embarrassed to ask.

In some place they will decline, you can order for take out but they won't help you handle left over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

why don’t all restaurants do this? Some cite health concerns, saying that they don’t want customers to possibly become sick after eating food that wasn’t properly stored or refrigerated between when the customer leaves the restaurant and eventually eats it

Years ago I went to a Turkish restaurant and wanted to takeaway the leftover Turkish bread. The staff gave me a takeaway box without charge (most Chinese restaurants here charges 30cents for a 650ml clear plastic takeaway container). At the same time I had to fill out a form waiving any responsibility the restaurant have should I felt sick eating the leftover. For some restaurants, letting patrons to take home leftovers is no joke. They are at risk of paying huge compensation if something bad happens.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MMMMMMMM.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great idea. If you're going straight home then you can put in straight into the fridge and save it for later.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This has always been possible, it's just that people are embarrassed to ask.

We have been turned down many times after asking for either take-out or leftovers.

It has only been in recent years that we noticed more take-out availability, and leftovers being allowed to take home.

And, since "corona", both have increased exponentially. In fact, any restaurant that doesn't offer take-out, only has themselves to blame for financial failure during "corona-toki".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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