Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 13:17 UK

Doggy-bags: Your comments

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

Television chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has backed a supermarket's call for British diners to ask for doggy-bags to take food home in - even at top class restaurants.

Are you reluctant to leave leftovers or just too embarrassed to ask for them to be boxed up to take home? Here BBC News website readers share their doggy-bag experiences.


I always ask for a doggy-bag no matter where I am eating! I started this since I visited the US however when out with my family, my three grown-up sons get really embarrassed.
Judith Pretty, Colchester

I often ask for the leftovers because my kids sometimes leave quite a bit. It means they can have them for their tea as well. In fact, I have asked a few times for the bones for my pets and once or twice been given all the bones from the kitchen, and this is in really nice places. My pets were very grateful!
Dan, Notts

I've never been refused a doggy-bag, but I have - rather embarrassingly - had to endure the manager of the restaurant coming over to my table and saying, in a loud voice, that they wouldn't allow any food to leave the premises unless I signed a disclaimer exempting the restaurant from any liability.
Paul Robinson, Abingdon

I have asked for doggy-bags. The restaurants are fine, it's usually other diners who look at you. I did live in the US for two years so I probably picked up the habit there.
Debra, London

In South Africa as well as in the USA it is normal for many eating places to offer a doggy-bag and equally normal for people to leave a restaurant clutching the remains of the food that they have ordered and paid for. There is no shame in taking food home. Perhaps if more eating places offered doggy-bags without being asked, more people would do it.
Veronica Halliwell, Derby

I work in chip shop which has its own restaurant and we have noticed we are getting asked for more doggy-bags in recent months. We are very happy to wrap uneaten food for customers to take away. I do agree that when you have cooked food for a customer it is much more satisfying for them to take any extra home, rather than send it back for you to bin.
Kirsten Davies, Boston

I prefer the American habit of asking for food to be 'boxed'. A 'doggy-bag' is, as the name suggests, a bag of unwanted leftovers that you take home to give to the dog. I have never been refused, even in London's swankiest restaurants. The better the restaurant, the less likely you are to need to ask simply because they do not generally serve over-generous portions.
Daniel Owen, North Devon

I've never had any embarrassment in instructing a waiter that I'd simply like to take the unfinished food that I've paid for away with me. Like Hugh I've taken food home with me from Michelin-starred restaurants. They often do a very nice presentation with the container too!
Rich, Reading


Doggy-bags are banned by some health authorities in Australia. An Australian diner did take legal action against a restaurant about ten years ago for not attaching a 'use-by date'. The diner became ill eating a five day old doggy-bag!
Tony, Brisbane, Australia

A local pub in the next village sells pre-booked Sunday lunches for a minimum party of four people. The pub cooks individual joints for each table. We took elderly parents with bird-like appetites. They ate little and consequently a large portion of the joint was untouched. The pub refused to doggy-bag the remnants of the generous (and costly!) joint - and I bet there were beef sandwiches on the menu the next day! We haven't been back...
Di Read, Fenhurst West Sussex

As a chef, we have been told by our employers that we are not able to give away doggy-bags due to the compensation culture we now live in. I am surprised the Americans still do.
Ruth, Nottingham

Doggy-bags are a great idea and reduce food waste. I was out for lunch at a well-known chain of Tapas restaurants recently and my friend asked for a doggy-bag. The waitress refused saying they weren't allowed because they are not licensed as a take-away. How ridiculous! My friend had paid for the food and was not able to remove it from the restaurant. As a matter of principle she wrapped it in napkins and took it anyway.
Samantha Currie, Edinburgh, Midlothian

I was refused a doggy-bag for a piece of chicken in a pub restaurant. We were told "if we didn't re-heat it properly, we might get food-poisoning and then sue." I didn't think to ask for a waiver form!
Lynne Davies, Solihull

People have eyes bigger than their bellies. Don't give doggy-bags just smaller portions. You only have to look at the obesity of American people relating to portion size.
Ree Plete, Hungary

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