Doggy Bag: Should I take home my leftover meal at a business dinner?

Q: Is it OK to ask for a to-go-box at a fine restaurant when a business associate is paying for the meal?



A: Generally, at upscale restaurants, it is not appropriate to ask for a “doggy” bag.  However, this is only a guideline.  Unless your business associate encourages to ask for one, it would probably be better not to ask for one.



  1. Laura S

    That just seems wasteful, no? No one is going to eat it, so it will just end up in the trash. Most restaurants aren’t involved in a composting program, so it will just be wasted.

    In light of global warming and depletion of resources that our world is facing, I would like to see waste of any kind be seen as bad etiquette. If one takes into account the full life-cycle of our energy usage, food production, goods production, etc, then over-consumption and unnecessary waste are really discourteous and ill mannered.

    • Maddie West

      I agree with you Laura. Medically, I can never finish the portions depending on the meal, I very much would like to take it home to nibble on later. It just seems wasteful to see it go back to the kitchen. There has to be a tasteful solution to this, cute or elegant bags made from recycled material, and if a logo is on it, advertising can’t be a bad thing?

      • Elizabeth

        I also agree that wasting food that is actually wanted should not be looked down upon. I would like to see people move away from utilizing disposable containers for takeaway toward bringing ones own reusable containers, in the same way that many people now bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store.

        • Maddie West

          I would do that Elizabeth. Find a nice manageable container to bring along. I wonder though, would there be some health department rule about bringing in ‘outside’ things to the kitchen? I remember being taken to a business lunch once, and I couldn’t eat much of what I ordered. My host was really annoyed, and had the ‘I spent all this money, why aren’t you eating it?’ face. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, it was that I couldn’t. Very uncomfortable moment.

      • Winifred Rosenburg

        The reason for this rule is if someone else is paying for the meal getting a doggy bag risks looking like you purposely ordered extra food so you could get a free dinner and a free lunch the next day on someone else’s dime. That’s why it’s best to wait for the person paying to encourage you to bring it home.

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