Food Media 83

The weakest drinks, smallest sizes, cheapest ingredients … bye-bye bread and butter, hello reformulated cheese

rworange | May 18, 200810:58 AM

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.

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