As of this week customers of the Patrizietta restaurant face a fine if they don’t eat everything on their plates, the 20 Minutes newspaper reported on Friday.
The lunchtime eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet costs 12 francs. But for those whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs an extra five francs is added to the bill.
The practice is legal, and has already been tested in other countries, including the United States and France, the paper said.
Giovanni Tafuro took over the restaurant in April and very soon became conscious of the amount of food being wasted through the lunchtime buffet.
He decided to take action, and the fine came into effect on Monday.
“I wanted to send a strong signal,” said the chef. “It made me sick to see so much food being thrown out.”
Tafuro told the paper the five-franc fine was symbolic, and he mainly wanted to raise awareness of the problem.
Customers were forewarned. “It’s all down in black and white on the menu,” he said.
The idea has won the support of Alessandro Pesce, president of GastroTicino, the cantonal federation of restaurateurs.
“It’s perfectly legal, and for me a good way of combating waste, although I think the people of Ticino are generally good at knowing their limits,” Pesce said.