Restaurant customers sneak out leftovers to avoid paying extra for all-you-can-eat sushi

@sidneyscharpf/TikTok Lucegrafiar/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘We couldnt eat another piece’: Restaurant customers sneak out leftovers to avoid paying extra for all-you-can-eat sushi

'This is why I keep Ziploc bags in my car.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jan 4, 2024   Updated on Jan 4, 2024, 12:24 pm CST

A customer at an all-you-can-eat Sushi restaurant found themselves in a real pickle: they had a bunch of food, but no more room left in their stomach to fit it. Normally, one wouldn’t think this is much of a problem. It’s a buffet restaurant; the establishment would clear their plates, toss the sushi, and everyone would be on their merry way.

Except this restaurant charged a wasted food fee, and one diner featured in TikToker Sidney Scharpf’s (@sidneyscharpf) video, wasn’t about to get surcharged. He decided to sneak some of the sushi out using a slick move that’s been viewed over 874,000 times on the popular social media platform.

“When you forget how much you ordered for all-you-can-eat sushi & they charge for wasted food,” a text overlay reads in Scharpf’s TikTok, which begins with a recording of a man in a blue collared short-sleeve polo shirt and a mullet. He scoops up a piece of sushi and lifts it to his mouth, but instead of eating it, he dumps it into what looks like a to-go cup. He then smiles at the camera and laughs along with other folks at the table.

It turns out there were several folks who found themselves in the same conundrum, judging from comments left by users who saw Scharpf’s clip.

One individual said that they soon learned while on a first date that going to an all-you-can-eat-sushi spot for dinner probably wasn’t the best idea. So they employed a different method to try and ensure they weren’t hit with a no-food-completion surcharge. “Did this on a date. I filled my mouth up and spit it out in the bathroom. There was no second date lol,” they wrote.

Someone else served up their own “hack” for avoiding the waste fee, and it all has to do with the timing of when you ask for your bill: “I always ask for the bill while we’re actively still eating but on our last round. That way they don’t know if there will be leftovers & wont charge.”

For another TikToker, however, it seems that this technique wouldn’t work because they seem to have issues in even getting a server to their table in the first place, which is when being not-so-conspicuous about sneaking out some of the all-you-can-eat sushi into personal containers comes in handy. “One time we could NOT get our server over to us even though we were the only ppl there, but came right over as soon as I started to put it in my bag,” the user wrote.

Some folks couldn’t understand why a buffet-style restaurant would charge customers for wasted food, arguing that such a policy makes the establishment, by definition, no longer an “all you can eat” restaurant: “What about this is all you can eat? Any restaurant will cook all I can eat if I’m paying for each item prepared.”

The topic of whether or not wasted food charges at all-you-can-eat restaurants are enforceable popped up in a viral Reddit post uploaded to the site’s r/legaladviceofftopic sub. Someone said that they came across this sign upon visiting a restaurant but then worried if there was anything the restaurant could do to make sure customers were actually paying it off.

Various commenters had different responses to their concern about seeing the charge for “wasted food.” One person said that the sign is probably just a prelude to rules at the restaurant they have listed elsewhere in the establishment: “It’s very likely spelled out on the same signage that specifies the rest of their prices. The order sheets for my local all-you-can-eat sushi place include, at the bottom, a charge for any uneaten sushi at the end of the meal. A sign like that on its own might not support a charge, but odds are, you’ve missed something more specific elsewhere.”


we couldnt eat another piece🤣🤣🤣

♬ original sound – Sidney Scharpf

Someone else said that their mother who ran a Thai restaurant with an all-you-can-eat buffet would only charge customers for what the price of the plate was for wasted food. “When I was younger, my mother owned a small Thai buffet style restaurant. We had the same policy as most buffet places. Typically the extra charge is based on the price of the buffet,” they explained. “So for example, if the base price is 5$, then the extra charge would be 5$. This is because the extra charge has to be reasonable. If their price is 5$, but their extra charge is 20$, that’s not reasonable and wouldn’t hold up if the police respond.”

According to Good, there are numerous restaurants that not only list but enforce these policies as a means of cutting back on the amount of wasted food that occurs daily. Several folks in this Quora post also said that as long as restaurants are posting signage about food waste charges, then they can sure as heck charge customers if they are found violating the wasted grub rule.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Scharpf via Instagram direct message for further comment.

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*First Published: Jan 4, 2024, 8:00 pm CST