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The Psychology of Using Small Plates – Saving the planet one step at a time.

February 12, 2020

At Cavendish Venues we have established published targets for food waste reduction. One way we sought to achieve this is by increasing choice on buffet tables, encouraging attendees to return multiple times to the buffet stations.

A fascinating article in the Guardian of Manchester today calls this sort of eating French Service, by which they mean a table groaning with everything at once, our modern-day buffet station. In the early 19th century this was replaced by the Russian Service, basically endless small servings. The benefits from the ‘Russian’ point of view was that it required lots of servants / the food came out hotter etc.

In terms of psychology the ‘French Service’  plays to our basic psychology, if you experience plenty on a table you don’t panic that no enough will be forthcoming, you don’t hoard / overeat. You take what you need without taking that little bit extra, that little bit extra being driven by the fear that the food won’t be there when you return.

In practical terms how can we use this. We are going to trial different sized plates at different venues using identical menus over an extended period. Through monitoring food waste percentages over a period of time (a month) and delegate feedback forms hopefully we can overcome the inevitable variations in delegate composition from one conference to another. As ever we need feedback from delegates to ensure that we know if they are getting enough to eat. We encourage feedback by offering a donation of £5 to charity to each and every review posted on google see here.

For details on the original Guardian article CLICK HERE

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