Restaurant: We Don't Charge Enough For This Food, So You Can't Have A Doggie Bag

If you order food, should you be able to take the uneaten portion home with you? Sure, you can’t take home a box full of roast beef and shrimp from an all-you-can eat buffet, but can you take home half of a cheeseburger from a chain restaurant? Jennifer writes that the staff at the McCormick and Schmick’s that she visited recently don’t seem to think so. Her boyfriend wasn’t allowed to take the uneaten portion of his burger and fries home because it was purchased during happy hour, at happy hour prices.

My boyfriend and I enjoyed a couple of beers and cheeseburgers at the McCormick and Schmick’s [redacted] Location happy hour last Friday. My boyfriend, however, only finished half of his burger and nearly none of his order of garlic fries. As we asked for the bill, not wanting to waste the food, we also asked for a to go box. The hostess initially took our food, but she came back rather quickly, advising us that no happy hour food could be taken to go, with no exceptions.

I was terribly disappointed in the restaurant’s rigid rule, mostly because the rule clearly promotes and even encourages the wasting of food, which is simply unacceptable.

I would have asked to speak to the manager on duty, but as we were late for our movie, this was not a choice. I’ve since tried emailing the manager from the main McCormick and Schmick’s website, but the emails keep bouncing.

We’ve often enjoyed McCormick and Schmick’s happy hours over the years, but I am now torn. I would appreciate some sort of official explanation for this rule, and why exceptions cannot be made. It’s not as if we ordered a lot of food (clearly more than we could consume in more sitting); rather, between the two of us, we ordered two cheeseburgers and one order of garlic fries. Further, we paid for the food, we should be able to take the leftovers home. Simply put, we should have been able to take home the leftover, uneaten food to consume later.

Any thoughts on this? Any other restaurants have such an asinine rule?

Jennifer got her answer from the restaurant’s general manager the next day. Customers can’t bring happy hour food that they’ve paid for home because it’s priced so inexpensively.

Jennifer,

Thank you for contacting us regarding your experience at McCormick &
Schmick’s last Friday during Happy Hour. I am glad to hear that overall
you enjoyed your experience at Happy Hour. Unfortunately, we run into a
quandary on the issue of taking food to go. It may not seem like much
taking half a cheeseburger and fries home, but after many years of
hosting a Happy Hour featuring food that is priced as a loss leader we
have found that allowing any To Go food creates a multitude of problems.
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. As the items offered are not a profit center for us this
does not benefit the restaurant and can actually hurt it. The purpose
of our Happy Hour offerings is to offer guests an incentive to enjoy
great inexpensive food items while enjoying cocktails at the same time,
it is not meant to be a buffet to take home. Though I realize that was
not the case in your instance, that is what it becomes to many of our
guests when food is allowed to be taken out. That is why we prominently
display the legend “No To Go Food” on the Happy Hour Menu.

I do hope you can understand our reasoning and will continue to
patronize the restaurant. I would be happy to meet you on your next
visit and personally make sure that you have a great time whether for
Happy Hour or dinner. Please feel free to contact me and I will be
happy to make a reservation for you.

There is a logic to this, when customers are ordering huge amounts of cheap food and packing it up to take home. That logic does not apply to one cheeseburger and fries.

What do you think, Consumerist Hive Mind?