Many people in this world are trying to eat less. Many others don’t have enough to eat. A city in Germany shows how to match up these needs. In Dusseldorf, one person’s portion control can be a hungry person’s dinner.
The idea for “All You Can’t Eat” is simple and could be replicated in almost any restaurant. At least seven restaurants in the German city of Dusseldorf have agreed to participate in a campaign that trades in larger portion sizes for donations to Düsseldorfer Tafel, the local food bank.
Here’s how it works: If a diner is eyeing the $10 penne alfredo option on the menu, a little sticker on the menu can notify the diner that if he can opt to get a smaller-than-usual portion and still pay the full $10 price. The money that the restaurant saves on food costs for the dish is donated to Düsseldorfer Tafel and the hungry it serves.
Ogilvy and Mather, the ad agency that helped Düsseldorfer Tafel develop the idea, says “All You Can’t Eat” benefits everyone involved. Diners have the opportunity to watch their waistlines without feeling guilty for leaving extra food on the plate, and restaurants get to contribute to a good cause with negligible hassle. Restaurants can participate for as little as a single night, and kitchens get to choose which items get the stickers. “The effort [for the restaurant] is the same as a diner asking for potatoes instead of rice,” explains Ogilvy copy writer Nuno Cristino.
Düsseldorfer Tafel had been working with Ogilvy and Mather for a decade, largely around singular fundraising events, before Cristino and his art director, Jessica Neubauer, designed a fundraising effort that could roll along all year round. After a pilot in December, “All You Can’t Eat” launched in March, and now continues as Düsseldorfer Tafel reaches out to more restaurants with menu stickers.