Food Industry Experts Reveal The Biggest Menu Ripoffs To Avoid
We've all had it. That nagging thought, popping up in the back of our brains, as we're looking down at the menu, at the side order of french fries that costs $8. We all think, "I could just bake my own at home! Why am I here?" Well, as it turns out, you're not the only one having those doubts about the food industry and what you should avoid on the menu. Reddit user, u/Sanscosmic, wanted to know what specifically when they asked:
People who work in the food industry, what food item is a complete rip-off yet people still buy?
Drink Up. It's Your Money.
The profit margins on drinks is usually ludicrously high no matter where you go.
The Massive Popcorn Conglomerate
The margin on popcorn is ridiculous.
Where The Real Movie Theater Money Is
If you're specifically referencing movie theaters, all of it is. 5.49 for a small soda, at least half of which is frozen water? But it's where they actually make their money, not much meat on the bone if any from box office sales.
I once heard a movie theater owner say he was not in the movie business, he was in the snack business. The movie was just to get and keep customers around for a couple of hours.
For Our Friends Overseas
Really irks me when a fish and chip shop charges $2 for tomato sauce put in a container.
Make an effort to avoid those places.
Just Do The Math
In order to get your money's worth of a McDonald's medium soda, you would have to fill your cup up 16 times.
We All Know It, But We Still Do It
Bottles of water.
I deliver pizzas where water is 100% fine to drink out of taps, yet people still buy them.
They are ridiculously overpriced as well.
i used to work at a chicken restaurant. biggest rip off was the green beans.
theyre just the jumbo sized canned green beans with onion seasoning, microwaved. it was almost $3 for a pint. you can buy a can of green beans for like 50 cents.
But It's SO Good
In most restaurants the Gbread is just yesterdays bread slathered in garlic butter and passed through a toaster. Costs maybe 50c a serve but we'll sell it for $5. If the restaurant doesn't sell or provide fresh bread, it's yesterdays bread from the bakery down the road.
It IS really good though, toasts better if you use day old bread.
Ice. It's Ice. You're Paying For Ice.
A medium flavored coolatta (slushee drink) is 5 dollars.
Five dollars for 3 squirts of flavoring then mixed with shaved ice.
Just Don't Add Sweet n' Low
You can buy 100 teabags for the same price as a cup of tea. Also boiling water is free at most coffee shops if you ask.
A Good Set Of Guidelines To Follow
General rules at a sit-down restaurant:
Soda costs them 8c, including washing the glass, but costs you $2 to $3. Alcohol is always highly marked up. Sides and apps are marked up much more than entrees.
It's All The Same
Long time since I worked in the food industry so I don't know if this still holds true, but around 2005 every uk supermarket (except Morrisons) had their salmon encroute produced by the same company on the same line by the same people. One of my jobs was literally stopping the line and changing the sleeve to a different supermarkets one. Same fish, same sauce, same pastry, same lattice, even the same plastic tray just a different sleeve.
Naturally this never stops people insisting the Tesco one was sh-te and the M&S one was just better somehow because it was double the price.
This extended to 90% of non fresh fish products but brand loyalty still reigned supreme.
Flying Too Close To The Sun
...Chicken Wings are costly as a raw material, need refrigeration/freezing to store and preparing them properly requires trained manpower (which is costly as hell nowadays)
Compare that with a Coke or say Lemon soda: Hardly any preparation, no special skills needed by the person making it plus the Raw material is cheap af.
Restaurants don't fleece you on food...they fleece you on the drinks.
Source: I'm a restaurant owner :P
But, Again, It's All Soo Good
Most cereal has no nutritional value and its unclear whether 'fortifying' them with vitamins has any actual benefits. Yet hugely expensive and well liked although I think as a market it's slowly fading.
A High Price For Mediocre Cheese
Extra cheese on pizza.
Name vs. Value
Used to work in a chip factory when we ran plain chips all the same chips went into the "name brand" on one line then right next to it would be the "value chips" with 2/$1 stickers on them
Listen To The Bread Experts
A lot of things are like this.
Generic sliced bread is basically the same as the name brand, made in the same place, with a different package. For example in Shop Rite stores in PA the shop rite brand white bread is actually Stroehmann bread. The generic is $1 and the name brand is $3.99.
Fruit Comes To Overthrow
In Austria; I find fresh fruits and veggies quite highly marked up. Just the other day I spent 6€ for one kilo of cherries. In the middle of the season! Strawberries - around 2,5€ per half of kilogram - also in the season now.
Not even "organic" ones. Plain market prices.
Don't let me even start on other, more exotic produce.
strawberries grow great in 1/4 day direct light, and medium dry soil of any kind(esp higher altitudes!). we planted 4 strawberry plants 2 years ago(5'x5' bed on the shaded east side of our house), and now we literally cant pick and eat them as fast as they grow.(colorado high plains, similar latitude and altitude as austria, but we're a bit drier.)
it looks like the movie 'The Ruins' out there now only strawberry plants..
THey'll also outcompete most pest plants, so you can plant strawberries to kill off bindweed, thistle and dandelion(they outcompete swiftly if you trim the weeds back) before long strawberries becomes the weeds in your lawn and paths.
the only real 'downside' is the birds, squirrels, and slugs they attract.
KNEW We Couldn't Trust
When I worked for popular pizza restaurant we would charge something like $5 dollars for a box of breadsticks. My boss told me one day how much of a rip off it was since the dough, cost of labor, and even the box they came in only totaled around $1.25.
The Hidden Secret
...When you buy food/drinks at a restaurant, you aren't simply paying for the food. You are paying for the experience. That restaurant pays for building rent, utilities, supplies, and employees to actually make the food/serve the food/clean the place.
Of course they aren't going to sell at value. Sure, some items are blatantly overpriced even considering, but selling you a coffee for $3 instead of 15 cents so you can hang out in the cafe on your laptop for four hours isn't exactly capitalistic greed.
"Homecooked" = Store Bought
Not me, but my dad. He goes to Starbucks and orders a pastry or something I don't remember the name of. He starts asking the lady behind the counter what it was and all that jazz and then she mentions that he could get an entire box of them for like, $20 across the street at Costco while he was here paying $5 for a single one.
Reminder that everything "gourmet" and "homecooked" is probably still mass produced in a factory.