'Le doggy bag' slow to catch on in France

PARIS - At the busy Bouillon Chartier restaurant in central Paris, a chef stands by a diner’s table and carefully places the remains of her dish into a plastic takeaway box before putting the container in a bag -- “le doggy bag” to be precise.

A new law aimed at combating food waste in France came into effect on Jan. 1, with restaurants serving at least 150 meals a day required to implement measures that prevent waste.

“Concerning the doggy bag, there’s no real law that was applied, but (the government) simply encourages restaurant owners to respond favorably to clients who ask to take their leftovers home in a doggy bag,” Yann Hulin, director of the Bouillon Chartier, told Reuters.

While the doggy bag may be a regular sighting in American dining, it has yet to take off in France.

“We’ve had a few client requests here and there, especially for wine bottles, which of course we oblige, but in terms of dishes, it’s extremely rare,” Hulin said.

Other Parisian diners were surprised by the concept.

“I don’t see myself leaving with a doggy bag. That’s clear,” Parisian Christelle Groleau said. “I don’t see myself strolling around on the streets, if I have to go run errands, with the doggy bag in my hand, in the bag. You have to put it in the fridge at a certain point. We need a refrigerated doggy bag.”