Charge less if customers request reduced portions

Customers are not incentivised to request a reduced food portion even if they know they are unable to eat that much.
Customers are not incentivised to request a reduced food portion even if they know they are unable to eat that much.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

I commend the National Environment Agency (NEA) for trying to get Singaporeans to cut down on food wastage (Order only what you can finish, Feb 17).

Unfortunately, NEA did not address the root of the problem. While customers are charged more if they add on to their meals, such as by requesting an extra portion of rice, they still have to pay the original price even if they ask for a reduced food portion.

Customers are not incentivised to request a reduced food portion even if they know they are unable to eat that much. Many Singaporeans have a "kiasu" mentality and think they are losing out of they get less food for the same price.

In fact, at some outlets - especially fast food chains - it is often cheaper to order a set meal containing a main dish, side dish and drink than it is to order those items a la carte.

It is therefore financially prudent for customers to order the full meal, even if that means wasting side dishes that they do not want.

Customers are penalised for the noble intention of having less food to reduce waste under these circumstances.

NEA should educate and encourage businesses to charge customers less if they request less food.

Sean Lim Wei Xin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2019, with the headline 'Charge less if customers request reduced portions'. Print Edition | Subscribe