Sneaky Ways Restaurants Try To Save Money

Sneaky Ways Restaurants Try To Save Money


The restaurant business is a tough one. Estimates suggest as many as 80 percent don’t
last five years. It’s hard to make ends meet, and sometimes,
restaurants have to do some creative things to turn a profit. Here’s what you should know. Do the math next time you order a glass or
bottle of wine at a restaurant, and the numbers will likely horrify you. Restaurants have an unwritten rule for wines
by the glass: The price of a single glass of wine should be enough to cover the cost
of the whole bottle. A restaurant could argue that they might end
up wasting the rest of the bottle if it goes bad before someone orders that particular
wine again, and also factored into the price is the restaurant’s cost of glassware, bar
staff, and overhead. But do those extra expenses really account
for markups of as much as 600 percent? Cocktails carry a similarly inflated price,
with markups of an average of 200 percent. In all fairness, some of this price might
be offsetting expensive liquor licenses, which can set an establishment back as much as $400,000. One very good way to tell where a restaurant
is wasting money is to look at what’s being thrown away. Andrew Gruel, the founder of Slapfish, does
it quite literally, keeping an eye on the trash to see what’s ending up there. He told QSR, “I go into the garbage cans. And I’m serious. It’s really that simple. You find patterns.” If he sees lots of french fries, for example,
or a lot of mostly uneaten chicken breasts, he knows that the restaurant can serve smaller
portions of fries, and that it needs to change up its chicken recipe to make it a little
more appealing. The dumpster dive also might reveal if the
cooks are being careless with their meal prep by throwing out usable foods: For instance,
they might be able to be a little more careful not to trim so much meat off the steaks as
they’re cutting away inedible fat, or make sure to use all of the vegetables they’re
prepping. Ever wonder what happens to the rest of the
bread that you don’t eat from the bread basket at your table? Some restaurant insiders insist that sometimes,
the bread that comes back to the kitchen is re-warmed and served to other guests, and
even Anthony Bourdain claimed this was a common practice. This could be a recipe for disaster, and you
already know why. “Ugh, Dad! Not on the chicken!” “Again?! Jesus!” “Will you please stop sneezing on everything!” “Well, excuse me!” In more respectable establishments, leftover
bread that was once on someone’s table is thrown away, but that doesn’t mean they don’t
use up the bread that never makes it out to the dining room. Bread loses its freshness fast, but any good
chef knows that stale bread is good for a number of things, including breadcrumbs and
French toast. So next time you see that breakfast favorite
on the menu, you know the kitchen had a lot of bread to get rid of. To a restaurant, this meal can be a cash cow. Breakfast and brunch can be among the most
profitable meals, mainly because the ingredients used to make the menu items are cheap, and
they can mark them up pretty substantially. Take eggs. A dozen eggs cost just a few dollars, while
a two-egg dish can easily sell for $10 to $15, with just the addition of a few extra
ingredients. It’s also a chance for a restaurant to use
up ingredients from dinner service that would otherwise go to waste, because pretty much
anything can be folded into an omelet. While you might pay a few bucks for an egg
sandwich at a fast-food restaurant, nicer restaurants have discovered that diners don’t
mind paying lots more for virtually the same thing. This type of meal is also one that doesn’t
require too much labor or prep work: Frying an egg or flipping pancakes can be delegated
even to the less-experienced line cooks. When you order a special fish, like toro or
halibut, at the sushi bar, you might not be getting the high-end species you’re paying
for. “I don’t like that.” When a group of researchers tested the fish
at several sushi restaurants in Los Angeles to make sure it was the type that was advertised
on the menu, they discovered that some restaurants were replacing these exclusive offerings with
similar, but lower quality species, while continuing to charge top dollar for the more
prestigious offering. And it’s not just sushi restaurants in Los
Angeles. A study by Oceana revealed a nationwide seafood
fraud problem, with one in three samples mislabeled. Among the most commonly mislabeled types of
fish are snapper and tuna, and in some cases of fish switchery, the deception can leave
customers hurting in more places than their wallets. Restaurants have been found to be serving
a fish called escolar, which is known to cause serious digestive issues, instead of the white
tuna listed on the menu. There are some well-known psychological tricks
that many restaurants employ to both help them save money and to steer you into spending
more. Some of it has to do with menu design: Eliminating
dollar signs from the prices takes the focus off that number, and putting prices immediately
after the description, rather than formatted in a row across from the menu items, stops
customers from scanning the list and choosing the cheapest. Pricey items are often used as a decoy, so
that lower-priced items seem more like a bargain in comparison — even though they still cost
plenty. Of course, many a server knows a few tricks
to help their restaurant pad the bill. They might be able to chat up a menu item
of which the kitchen has an excess, or sweet-talk their table into ordering an extra appetizer
or dessert. Chances are, a friendly server will flatter
you into spending more than you’ve expected, but you’ll still leave happy that you had
such a great experience. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
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62 Comments

  1. It pays to be a cynic. I've suspected as much since I was old enough to have cognitive thought and form proper sentences.

  2. I never eat "specials", because that means they've had something sitting around too long and they couldn't use it up.
    I don't like meal sets, combos, meal for 2, etc., because you're probably going to pay for something you didn't want in the first place. Set meals are for people who don't know what they want to eat.

  3. I heard a report last night that restaurants are now asking customers to bring their own Tupperware containers for taking home their doggy bags,leftovers in order to cut back on take out container use. I can see it now, Red Lobster on Saturday nights ,folks walking in the doors with their tupperware containers in hand. 😂

  4. Oh yeah! We throw or waste too much food. Especially, Restaurant food. Just Robert Irvine talked about restaurants have too many items on their menus. Only use the top selling items on the menus!

  5. Yep I have the same problem with fake snapper too. They often use cheaper black snapper instead of more delicious red snapper

  6. And although it’s so well known that calling it “sneaky” is a bit misleading, let’s not forget that many restaurants fail to pay their wait staff a minimum, let alone living, wage.

  7. So you can get away with false advertising in the USA? In the UK we report the restaurant to the authorities and the get fined, named and shamed!

  8. It's the cost of doing business. If you want to pay liquor store price, drink it at home.
    You eat at home, you dine in a restaurant.

  9. I used to be a bread baker at Texas Roadhouse. Their training module stated that we should throw away all un-eaten bread served to tables

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  11. I knew it ❗ I always wondered what happened to all that leftover bread at the center of the table❗What crumbs they are for doing that ‼️🇺🇸😎

  12. Forgot to mention the servers that ask you 20 times if you're ready to order before you've even looked at the menu – inducing anxiety and pressing you to order quickly instead of carefully considering your options.

  13. In Louisiana, a law was passed last month, that requires a prominent notification in the menu ,of the country of origin, of the seafood being served. So, Chinese shrimp, fish, and crawfish, etc. can be sneakily substituted for the real thing.

  14. I know all about that from Drive thru Windows which the Fast food Restaurant staff try to sell Cheaper hamburgers or Turn overs to it's Customers

  15. I love escolar and seek it out when I go for sushi. The strip mall sushi places I can afford usually sell it by the real name now. Apparently only about 1 in 10 people have issues with eating it and even then you have to eat quite a lot. I'm just repeating what I heard so might all be bs but keep escolar legal and send it all to my home.

  16. Well , any leftover bread from my table I take home, one bread basket the next table isn't going to get and then I toast it and make sure all the germs are killed, delicious.

  17. I haven’t seen anyone mention it yet and it’s pretty common knowledge at this point but they purposely fill your cup with ice so they don’t have to put as much drink in the cup

  18. Breakfast is marked up more than wine. Can we stop pointing out that wine and beer are marked up. Everyone knows but it makes dinner better Nd many restaurants without wine and beer would just plain go under.

  19. Bread 🥖 or chips that are not eaten it’s a good idea to take it home with you: after all they can’t serve it to another customer more likely it’s factored in cost of your bill.

  20. I worked in a upscale rest, years ago the owners were Greek , if it fell on the floor it went onto the plate ,they all smoked , in the kitchen along with the Filipino chef , it was truly a nasty place ,but appeared to be a classy seafood restaurant.

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  22. The bread thing is probably extremely rare. Some of these aren't sneaky they're smart. Every business has ways of justifying huge mark ups. At least it's not unethical like retail clothing being made in foreign sweat shops for pennies, then marked up 10,000% on the rack

  23. A dozen eggs cost a few dollars? WTF fancy eggs are you buying – local grocery store has them for 70 cents a dozen. I'm sure restaurants buying in bulk get an even better price.

  24. If they choose to cheat customers let them go out of business. It's not worth risking e coli or other food poisoning. Florida currently has a hepatitis A outbreak. Workers with dirty hands are making customers sick. It's cheaper and safer to make your own food and eat at home.

  25. I don't blame them for the wine trick, there is more labour for them if you buy by the glass. I don't blame them for looking at what gets thrown away a lot, that is smart management because there is no point serving food that won't be ate. The bread and fish deception is just wrong, so tight of them. One you missed though is drying and rehydrating onions, this is also clever because it means no onions going off as they are dried, the workers soak them in water as needed and the customer doesn't know, I didn't know until I worked in a kitchen.

  26. That piece of shit Danny Devito owned a restaurant here in Miami. He charges like 250$ for a hamburger. Which is ridiculous, I'm so glass his business went down.

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