No Doggie Bags Allowed: Fair?

Image courtesy of Flickr user <a href="">charliekwalker</a>

Over at the Consumerist, there’s a debate raging over whether restaurants should be allowed to deny customers doggie bags, sparked by one diner’s recent experience at seafood chain McCormick and Schmick’s way-cheap happy hour.

In a nutshell: Guy couldn’t finish his burger and fries, so he asked for a take-out container. The hostess told him no, since the restaurant has a “no to-go” policy during happy hour. The burger guy’s girlfriend wrote a letter of complaint, saying she was “disappointed in the restaurant’s rigid rule, mostly because the rule clearly promotes and even encourages the wasting of food.” A McCormick and Schmick’s representative explained the reason for the policy in an email response:

Unfortunately when we offer a To Go box to any customer, then every other customer wants one. This may not seem so bad, but with the extremely low prices we offer on our Happy Hour Food (our 8oz burgers & fries are less than half the price of the same item at a fast food restaurant and much higher quality) we immediately have people ordering a great many items that they have no intention of finishing at the restaurant.

Do you buy it, Blue Marble readers? Considering the staggering amount of food we throw away (and the considerable environmental impact of all that wasted food), can we really afford to let restaurants get away with such policies?