Several New York news outlets started a kerfuffle about restaurants enacting more surcharges to counteract sinking revenues, one of them being asking diners to pay for breadbaskets. Times critic Frank Bruni jumped into the fray, arguing that more restaurants should charge for bread and butter so as to reduce wasted bread and not force those who abstain from bread to subsidize bread gluttons. Bruni also suggests that if restaurateurs charged for bread, they'd be more likely to stock better quality breads and spreads.
Most restaurants in town offer gratis bread as a sign of their hospitality. The only place I recall seeing a charge for bread is Spoonriver--and, as I remember, it was quite good. To reduce waste, I'd hope more servers would ask, first, before bringing a breadbasket, or that kitchens would offer them in different sizes, depending on the number in a party.