Monday, 6 February 2012

Seen on the streets of São Paulo: Penalty fines for not finishing your lunch

There is a R$3 fine for wasting food at this restaurant in Carapicuiba, São Paulo

A popular way to have lunch in São Paulo, and indeed in Brazil in general, is to eat at a buffet style restaurant. These vary wildly in quality and price but the format is usually standard. You are required to choose to pay either a per kilo price (you weigh your plate and the more it weighs the more you pay in line with the price per kilo of that particular restaurant) or a fixed fee which enables you not to worry about weight (known in some countries as All You Can Eat)

What I found amusing when I started to get to know more buffet restaurants is that a lot of them threaten to apply a penalty fine to you if you choose the all you can eat option (comida a vontade) and don't finish your meal. It is called a taxa de desperdicio, literally a wastage fee, and brings back childhood memories although I don't recall my parents applying a monetary punishment back then!

From a business point of view it makes complete sense of course and means you can offer more competitive rates by keeping wastage to a minimum. Everyone's a winner except the guy who overestimates what he is able to eat - optimistic consumption is a crime!!


Unknown said...

not a bad idea in general terms, but they should guarantee the freshness of food otherwise they could put roten meat an charge everybody, right? Am I thinking as a paulista enterprising?

Unknown said...

It's a good point, but of course it is in the interests of any restaurant to provide good food otherwise they lose customers. Also the penalty fin in this case was a measly R$3 so I don't think they're going to get rich quick through the fines :)

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