No more ceramic pho bowls?  


tripe4meplzz
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Hi there,

Just want to get some opinions. I see more new pho places that serve "Chipotle" style pho. You know, you order at the counter and customize your pho from the display as your walk through the ordering line. I see many of these places started using plastic disposable bowls only. Aside from the fact that this is wasteful and create a lot of trash, these don't really give me a good pho exeprience. What do you all think?

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KimThiTran2785
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Don't like disposable bowls myself, especially for eating in the restaurant! It's just not the same. The restaurant may not have to wash dishes (like McD or any other fast food places) but we all get more trash.

I read that cities now begin to pass new regulations requiring restaurants to use only recyclable or otherwise environmentally friendly stuff. I'm sure these will change the way we take out pho too.

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JohnWooo87
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@tripe4meplzz

Eating pho out of a flimsy plastic bowl doesn't do it for me. As somebody said, even street food vendors in VN serve in a proper bowl.

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SGguy77
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I'm sure many don't mind it, as people continue to order pho to go. Personally I think, like many take-out foods, it's a compromise between having an ideal experience versus convenience to have your cravings satisfied. The latter means you're not getting the "real" stuff, but you get to eat it at the time and place you want.

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MrChopstickWA
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I don't mind chipotle style pho (pick your ingredients in full view, quick service, etc.) but disposable bowls for eat-in pho is just not correct. Even street and corner pho shops in Saigon use proper bowls for proper eating experience, so it's inexcusable for these restaurants in North America to do this.

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Cuong
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Just wanted to share some info regarding this question. I have worked on several restaurant projects where the owners desired to use all disposable bowls, plates, and utensils (including chopsticks) for all eat-in and take-out services. On some of these I helped them figure out the cost implication of such decisions. Below are the pros and cons.

Pros:

  1. It does seem to save the restaurant money in the short term.
  2. No labor needed for bussing, dishwashing.
  3. Service can be faster, though using ceramic bowls can be fast if employees are trained properly.
  4. Use the same service ware for both eat-in and take-out.

Cons:

  1. Food quality and experience is compromised for eat-in customers. Take-out customers no difference.
  2. This becomes more expensive in the long term. The cross over point depends on the restaurant's volume. The higher the sales volume, the sooner the cross over point occurs. In one case the throw-away cost of disposables amounted to $40-50K annually.
  3. More attention must be paid to taking out more trash/cleaning up disposables.
  4. More trash is generated.
  5. Dishwasher is still required for other operational items in the kitchen.

Many of these are quantifiable but many others are more subjective. It makes sense that a restaurant would want to achieve high volume at the soonest time possible. This means all disposable service ware may not be a good choice specifically for pho.

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SBK-phosho39
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For me the only thing I care about is delicious pho that I pay to eat, though the pho has to damn good for me to even consider eating out of a plastic bowl. Even street vendors in Vietnam serve in a proper bowl, so I don't get all these places in the US that decided to go all disposable. They're just bringing their pho quality (if it's actually there at all) down a couple of notches.

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Cuong
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@sbk-phosho39

Using disposable things is still not in many Viet people's blood; we are economical people and tend to reuse/repurpose things. That said, your point is well taken about street vendors using proper bowls, not the throwaway kind.

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ModelBiker
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The thicker/heavier the bowl the better bcause it retains heat better. Your pho stays hot till the last drop! Obviously plastic or paper bowls can't do this.

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