This week Good Morning America and some local news shows ran a segment about what restaurants are doing to cut costs rather than raise prices. A lot of it relies on trickery and some is out and out fraud.
Can’t find the story online but some of what I remember
- serving catfish when the menu says grouper
- serving an 8oz steak though the menu says 10 oz
- charging for bread and butter
- using lightweight forks so the food seems heavier
- reformulating cheese mixes to use less expensive cheese
- using smaller plates so portions look bigger
- revising menus so the pricier items pop out
While searching for that show, I came across this article
Sneaky restaurant tricks: Ten to watch out for
It mentions some of the above like cutting portion size, but adds
- subbing margarine for butter in recipes
- cutting back on freshness (fewer deliveries per week)
- recycling (look for more bread pudding, home-made croutons, etc)
- pouring weaker drinks (and look for fewer complementary pours)
Yet some restaurants seem to be going a more honorable route like growing their own veggies, baking their own bread, rewarding employees for being less wasteful and buying smarter. I think this article may be by a regular Chowhound poster.
Swallowing higher costs
Anyway, be aware that changes are happening and there are reasons the dish you once loved may no longer taste the same.