Monday, July 20, 2009

Mystery Solved

I've wondered for years why restaurants serve such large portions, but was finally given a satisfactory answer last night:

"One of the things that has long occurred to me about restaurant dining is that, because every customer must be served the same portion size, they’re naturally going to provide huge amounts of food. If you serve a 275 pound man an amount of food that would be appropriate for a 125 pound woman, he’s going to still be hungry at the end of his meal and therefore a dissatisfied customer. Because the marginal cost of additional food (especially pasta, potatoes, and the like) is negligible, it’s just good business to pile it on. Naturally, everyone else will be given too much to eat and all but the most disciplined will overeat."

"Two obvious ways health conscious diners can adjust are to resolve to take half the food home with them — better yet, get a “doggy bag” before starting eating and divide it right away — or to share food."

I order chicken fingers most of the time at Friday's; they always come with five fingers. The first thing I do when they're served is put two aside to give Zoe over the next few days as a treat.


Timothy Smith said...

Some portions are just ridiculous. Appetizers that run 3000 calories plus? 80 ounce sodas?

Its all rather stupid but your deductions are correct. Its the "super-size" phenomenon.

Sarah said...

i love chicken fingers too! you really need to check out BW3. they are my all time fingers fave.

Thomas said...

Tim, it's hard to believe that when we were kids, McDonalds fries came in just one size.

Also, most restaurants charge an amount for their pop that assumes you're going to be getting a refill which is why I never hesitate to get one or two at Friday's; they charge $2.49 for a soda.

Sarah, I'll make sure to get on that. BW3 is less than a mile from my workplace.

Timothy Smith said...

Its too bad they don't have two different soda options. 99 cents for a one time fill and 2.49 for unlimited refills. I suppose that would be hard for the waiters/waitresses to manage.

I do not eat at McDs anymore. I eat at a place called In-and-Out which has not changed since 1948. Same menu, just burgers, fries and shakes. You can get a single burger or a double and they only have one size of fries. If you want more you have to order two of them so most don't.

They don't own freezers, heat lamps or microwaves. Everything is fresh and employees start at 11 an hour. It costs the same as McDs. How? They don't spend much to advertise and don't have kids meals, clowns etc. One family owns all 225 restaurants.

I think people order the super sizes because they think its a deal and consume it all so they are not wasting money. They do not calculate the health risks and added costs of insulin, extra plane seat and other hidden costs of their eating habits.

I eat healthy but its tough, you end up throwing away food (or like you I fed the extra to my dog).

I buy the small cans of soda now but they are actually more expensive then the large ones. Its hard to get your mind around but my health is more important than the feeling of being thrifty.

Food being more expensive has helped me consume less so I switched to organic, drink imported soda with cane sugar thats three times more expensive etc. Because of the costs I consume less.

Next time at Fridays try splitting a soda with your wife. We do it all the time.

Sarah said...

i wish there were in and out burgers in the midwest.

disestablishingpuritanism said...

I wish I had your discipline. I'm a chicken finger glutton. There's been a lot of fodder over this. Robin, for example, always takes home what she doesn't finish which is usually a substantial portion that lasts her at least two days. I've started to get into this habit as well. It is good business when restaurants pile it on, so customers really get their best bang for their buck. Ruby Tuesday's has completely gone downhill on this. They used to serve large portions and the last few times I ate there, it was like five chicken nuggets opposed to what I ordered, chicken fingers.