“Don’t waste food! Don’t you know there are kids starving in Africa?”
There’s a better than average chance that if you were born at any point within the last century, you’ve heard this at least once at your dinner table from Mom or Dad. And rightly so. Because food’s availability is all too often taken for granted in prosperous regions of the world, compounding the tragedy of its scarcity in less fortunate places. A 4-star hotel in Luzern, Switzerland is rankling some visitors with its efforts to drive this point home.
Annoyed that guests of its buffet were leaving substantial portions of uneaten food on their plates, Hotel Monopol executive Brigitte Heller is defending signs that have been posted in its buffet area that feature images of starving African children alongside messages admonishing food waste. Translated in Chinese and English, the signs cite “ethical and moral reasons” for not wanting to have to trash good food, and ask guests to help reduce the problem by only serving themselves as much food as they can eat.
Everyone might not be happy about the disturbing imagery or the parent tone struck in these notices, but the postings seem to be effective. Food waste is down since they’ve gone up, making me think that more eateries could benefit from not only following suit, but perhaps taking it a step further. Imagine posted messages reminding people to keep their elbows off the table, sit up straight, and for the love of Pete, put away that cellphone until after the meal is concluded. Initial public reception might be a bit chilly, sure, but all I’m saying is: Think about it, restaurateurs…