So, I love takeout. Takeout and a movie at home or a basketball game with brews is my kind of evening. I like low key, pajamas, and good food - especially when I'm not cooking.
We make roughly 19-20 out of the 21 meals a week we eat at home. It's really difficult for us to find time to go out to a restaurant. It's mostly because of our dog, Nala. When we rescued her, we didn't know she had separation anxiety. In her one year she had been given up 5 times. We couldn't possibly let her go after learning that; it's taken some major adjustments.
We can't just pick up and leave anytime we want. We have to coordinate with friends to babysit. She comes to work every day. If we go out to eat, we sit outside so she can join. We go to the drive-in movies so she can sit in the backseat. And, if we really, really want to not make dinner our solution is takeout!
Thankfully the restaurants in the area are awesome and totally cool with me bringing/dropping off my own containers. Huge shout out to Simple Thai, Napoli's, and Picknickys! They are bomb. Napoli's sells pizza dough too! I just bring a large mixing bowl with a lid. They open the proving drawer and plop it right in.
Also, coffee shops and Jamba Juice have always been accommodating!
I frequent these places often, and they know me. But, it was still really scary the first time I asked if I could drop off my own containers.
So, here are my tips for getting your takeout zero waste!
If it's a new place, I really like to call ahead. It's easy to thoroughly explain what and why I'm making an unusual request. In almost a year and a half, I've only been told no twice.
avoid rush hour:
If your going to the most popular place in town during peak hours, you're a lot more likely to be told no or to have something go wrong. The people working the counter are swamped, and any request out of the ordinary that seems time consuming or confusing is likely to not happen. If you're a regular or they have an awesome byoc policy, it's an exception.
polish your glass:
I know it's clean, you know it's clean - make sure they can see how clean it is. I don't have a dishwasher and often have water spots on my glass. I like to rub my glass down with a cloth before dropping it off anywhere so it's crystal clear! If they hesitate, a sparkling, crystal clear, immaculately clean glass container may be the difference between a yes and a no.
Sometimes, it might just be easier to order it in. If they're slow or seem confused, sit at a table and order. When they bring it out transfer it to your own containers and head out! I have definitely done this before. I try to avoid it, because I hate dirtying up extra dishes even if I'm not the one washing them. But, sometimes - it's the only way.
If someone goes out of their way for you - tip above and beyond. You'd be amazed at how happy they'll be to see you come back with your own containers!
You will probably be told no at some point. You then have options for how you'd like to proceed, but you should ALWAYS be polite. If it's out of someones comfort zone, it's out of their comfort zone. You have the option to take your business elsewhere. You can, however, be persistent. If you continually show up, and ask for something in your own container and leave when they say no... they'll most likely cave. Persistence sometimes is key. Not that I know from experience.....
A small family business is 1000x more likely to be accommodating than a large chain corporation. You're building a relationship with these people; you're creating a story. Small business owners care a lot more about having you as their customer.
know the law:
No where in the US health code does it say personal containers are not allowed. Don't be afraid to ask for a manager. But, refer to "be polite" if someone tells you no.
play the part:
If you act like this is something you do ALL the time. They'll believe you. Confidence is everything. Walk in proud of your container. Own it. If you seem so confident, make it normal, they won't even question it. They'll just go with the flow. Be polite, but instead of asking, "Can you use my container?" Just tell them, very nicely with a smile, but tell them, "I would like this to go in my container."
I believe in y'all. You can totally do this. You have all of the necessary skills. So, go grab some takeout this weekend, and let me know how it goes!
Have you gotten takeout in your own container? What's you favorite thing to get?