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portion sizes

Leslieville Oct 16, 2006 04:51 PM

I've just come home from 5 days in the States( supposed to be 3, flew out of Buffalo!) Once again I was struck by the size of the portions you get in restaurants. I always thought I ate a lot, but I could not finish any one of my meals including breakfast!! In one place I ordered soup and garlic bread and they brought me bread to eat while I was waiting for my bread! When my meal came, it was about half a vienna loaf with garlic and cheese. In another place where I was having ribs with 2 sides, I also got 2 pieces of corn bread about 4"x3" each. Those became the next days breakfast. Don't get me wrong, Im no wimp when it comes to food, and it shows,but this is not healthy. I'm sure I'm not alone on this. Agree or disagree?

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  1. funkymonkey RE: Leslieville Oct 16, 2006 05:36 PM

    i can't imagine anyone would disagree with you. portion size in this country has become a major selling point, especially at chain restaurants; the more food you can pile on the plate, the more people you can bring in. the more processed cheese and meat you can cram in per square inch, the longer the line out the door is.

    of course, there's no rule that says you have to eat everything put in front of you, but since most people have no concept of what a reasonable portion is to begin with, we're just getting fatter and fatter. our collective cholesterol is through the roof and our collective fitness level is in the dumps. of course, i can't blame the restaurants completely; obviously people are buying it.

    although, i have seen similar overstuffed plates in canada, france, and england, but i don't think it's as much of a "way of life" in those places.

    regardless, it's really disgusting.

    9 Replies
    1. re: funkymonkey
      f
      FrankJBN RE: funkymonkey Sep 27, 2007 11:30 AM

      "i can't imagine anyone would disagree with you"

      You have to open your mind, set your imagination free.

      I absolutely disaggree that portion sizes are too large. Absolutely disagree.

      If they are so big, I would guess I am the only person who orders two appetizers, but I know I am not.

      Pasta dishes worst offenders? A side pasta comes in a little bowl or oval dish. Without much effort one could the eat the whole thing at once.

      I was out last night. I received 8 escargot as one appetizer, 5 ravioli as a pasta dish and an 8 oz tenderloin. That's a "disgusting" amount of food? The cheescake I had for dessert was the size of a cupcake. Across the way, someone had a tiramisu that had two, count'em 2, ladyfingers.

      Do me a favor, all of you who think it is too much - DON'T COMPLAIN to the restaurants.

      What are you guys trying to do? ruin it for the vast majority who plainly want their restaurants to serve portions as they serve them? Because you gotta believe that if a restaurant could make twice as much money selling the same amount of food to twice as many satisfied customers they would do it. Why wouldn't they?

      Let's see, I can sell ten pounds of pasta to 10 people for $100. Or I can sell ten pounds of pasta to 40 people for $400. I don't know....

      1. re: FrankJBN
        rockandroller1 RE: FrankJBN Sep 27, 2007 11:35 AM

        Maybe you live somewhere differently than those of us complaining. I don't know anywhere I could go to in my whole metropolitan area and order cheesecake and be served a piece the size of a cupcake - assuming "cupcake size" being the size of the little paper thingy you could bake it in with a little on top, not the gargantuan cupcakes they sell, for example, at Starbucks (for comparison's sake only).

        At the 2 italian places I regularly eat, one being a chain and one an indie, if you ordered ravioli you'd get at least 12 or 16 pieces. And the tiramisu at both places is about 6x6 and 4 inches high.

        1. re: FrankJBN
          LindaWhit RE: FrankJBN Sep 27, 2007 01:11 PM

          Considering that the portion size for the protein should be 3-4 oz., max (size of a standard person's palm or a deck of cards), you had twice as much tenderloin as should have been served. 5 raviolis and 8 escargot would have been plenty for many people.

          And re: Pasta sizes - when a pasta dish is ordered as the main, it can be obscenely huge - sometimes up to a 1/3 lb. of pasta with additional protein added on top of it. One box of linguine or spaghetti should feed 6-8 people. But the way people have become used to having humongous portions, it would feed 4 in some families.

          Supersizing has become the norm in the U.S. thanks to fast food places. Some places are beginning to go the other way - readjusting the portion sizes and the prices so people aren't getting (and eating in one sitting) more than they need.

          1. re: LindaWhit
            SweetPea914 RE: LindaWhit Sep 27, 2007 01:23 PM

            I totally agree that portions are out of control. Ironically, the places I tend to be served a somewhat normal portion of food are the places that are much more upscale and expensive!
            A few times that I have ordered pasta dishes I have eaten my entree until I was comfortably full, brought the rest home and my husband and I have BOTH been able to eat dinner on the leftovers. That's kind of scary.

            1. re: SweetPea914
              ccbweb RE: SweetPea914 Sep 27, 2007 01:47 PM

              If you like the food, though, then it's also a pretty good deal. 3 dinners for whatever you paid for the one entree.

              I see this issue as one of personal responsibility. Know how much you want/need to eat and order accordingly. Don't be afraid to ask how large the portions are. You did exactly what I think people should do. Pay attention to your body, eat what you like and take the rest home.

              1. re: ccbweb
                SweetPea914 RE: ccbweb Sep 27, 2007 01:55 PM

                I totally agree. It irks me when people talk about suing McDonald's, etc. I crave McDonald's maybe once or twice a year. I usually haven't eaten all day and it's the low blood sugar talking or we're on the road and just need to grab something quick. However, I'll always order a Happy meal (I am 35, but this is what a portion of junk food should be) or I'm really "good" and order a grilled chicken sandwich and a salad. But sometimes you gotta have those fries!
                However, when dining out, it's not always convenient to take your leftovers home,and then I feel wasteful. Also, having just moved out of NYC I am finding that in the suburbs, the portions are MUCH bigger and the food generally lousy. I have an idea, give me half the portion, but make it decent food! But unfortunately restaurants make more money by giving you more mediocre food at a premium price.

                1. re: SweetPea914
                  rockandroller1 RE: SweetPea914 Sep 27, 2007 02:00 PM

                  I think the whole lawsuit thing is egregious and stupid. I just wish both customers AND restaurants would work to change this so you're not constantly having to take home leftovers. I think both customers and restaurants are at fault for the gigantic portions.

                  1. re: SweetPea914
                    Miss Needle RE: SweetPea914 Sep 28, 2007 03:14 PM

                    I remember a time I ordered a Happy Meal in high school because that's the portion of food I usually ate. Everybody thought I was on a diet because I ordered a happy meal instead of getting a big mac with large fries, etc.

                  2. re: ccbweb
                    m
                    mordacity RE: ccbweb Sep 28, 2007 06:04 PM

                    This is how I fed myself through college. Go to a restaurant, order, and split whatever comes out down the middle (or sometimes thirds). Much better than the dining hall!

          2. c
            chilehound RE: Leslieville Oct 16, 2006 06:05 PM

            In my younger days, when I made some dumb decisions and would wake up with a bad hangover, my mother would say: "Well, you put it in your mouth". Same goes with food. If you care about your health and wellbeing, people need to learn to put the fork down.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chilehound
              funkymonkey RE: chilehound Oct 16, 2006 06:17 PM

              you're absolutely right. and i think the main problem is that people don't usually see the link between their health and what they're putting in their mouths. and keeping people from making that connection is a multi-billion dollar business run by chain restaurants and snack-food makers. if apple-growers had a fraction of the budgets of mcdonald's or snickers, maybe people would think differently.

              and instead of learning to put the fork down, people figure they can always turn to things like the atkins diet or gastric bypass surgery.

              1. re: funkymonkey
                e
                ESNY RE: funkymonkey Oct 16, 2006 06:25 PM

                Its a ridiculous comment to think chain restaurants and snack-food makers are responsible for people's stupidity regarding food and overall health. Why blame yourself (the general you, not the poster above) for becoming obese when you can blame McDonalds or Burger King? Its about time we start blaming individual people rather than looking for a scapegoat. Unless of course big bad McDonald's strapped someone to a chair and force fed them double quarterpounders a couple of times a day.

                1. re: ESNY
                  funkymonkey RE: ESNY Oct 16, 2006 06:45 PM

                  i'm a big proponent of taking responsibility for what you eat. i think that sueing McDonald's because the fries made you fat is a load of bunk.

                  however, you can't disregard the fact that most school children have no idea what a potato fresh from the earth looks like, yet they know exactly the different between a large fries and a supersized order of fries. and those children grow up to be fat adults. and it's way easier for those adults to point the finger at the restaurants and the snack food makers than to start eating sensibly themselves. i'm not condoning this, i just think this is the current mindset of america.

                  and i do think it all comes down to money. mcdonald's spends more money marketing burgers than Dole does on its fruit.

            2. choctastic RE: Leslieville Oct 16, 2006 06:30 PM

              Agreed. McDonalds has tried unsuccessfully in the past to introduce healthier fare, but nobody buys it so they discontinue those things. The dinner salads are doing okay though, supposedly, but it will never supplant le Big Mac.

              Businesses sell what people buy and if people only want to buy crap and lots of it, you can't blame McD's for caving into that demand because if they don't someone else will.

              1. chowser RE: Leslieville Oct 16, 2006 07:59 PM

                What bothers me is the complete waste of food. I had a chicken breast salad out and it came with two huge chicken breasts at least 5 times as much as a serving should be. I didn't go home after so I couldn't take it to go. It barely looked like I touched the meal at the end and I ate a lot! It just goes in the trash. How much food is wasted because of overly huge servings? It's such a huge, unnecessary waste of resources. One reason I love tasting menus. This probably drives the server crazy but I will tell them not to bring things I know I won't eat and I've asked them to make the servings smaller (like ordering ice cream cones for my kids--I always tell them to make it half the size). I don't care if I pay the same, I hate the waste.

                2 Replies
                1. re: chowser
                  Pei RE: chowser Oct 16, 2006 09:17 PM

                  I really admire you for saying you don't care if you pay the same for less food. It's so easy to fool yourself into thinking you should eat everyting you paid for.

                  I'm trying to do this in my own life--not stuff myself silly, even if I have to throw food in the trash. I have to keep telling myself it's not "waste," because I'll be paid back in good health for not finishing the whole plate of fries. And if it saves me thousands of dollars in health bills and time and agony in the hospital down the line, it's totally worth the couple dollars "wasted."

                  I do try to keep food for leftovers or to give clean leftovers to homeless people, but neither of those is always possible.

                  1. re: Pei
                    chowser RE: Pei Oct 17, 2006 12:16 AM

                    I do get weird looks sometimes when I ask for less.;-) I hate waste, not the throwing it away part, as much as throwing away the resources it took to produce the food and bring it to the table. You're right about savings in your health. I actually have more problems throwing away broccoli than french fries.

                2. j
                  Jfields RE: Leslieville Oct 16, 2006 09:41 PM

                  I am also appauled at portion sizes. While I personally have always left food on my plate I cringe when I see those around me stuffing every little bite in when I know they are not possibly hungry. I have always been more than happy to pay for what they serve, then split it in half and only eat until I feel satisfied. I think that the majority of people do not even think about what they are putting into their mouths and just mindlessly eat because it is there. I have even gone so far as to order and request that 1/2 of the meal be put in a to go bag before it is brought to the table.
                  Still there is no easy solution to this problem because people feel like they have to get value out of everything even if it is at the expense of their health.

                  1. c
                    cheryl_h RE: Leslieville Oct 16, 2006 09:44 PM

                    When I'm eating out with DH, we often share dishes so we can taste different foods without overstuffing ourselves. I can seldom finish more than a main course so I'm happy to have a bite of appetizer and/or dessert and he finishes it. Most restaurants are happy to serve us shared plates.

                    1. Will Owen RE: Leslieville Oct 17, 2006 12:13 AM

                      We routinely ask for a clamshell or other to-go container whenever we eat out, as most restaurant portions are much more food than any middle-aged fat folks need to be eating. The worst offenders here in the LA area, though, are the fast-food restaurants with their side dishes: a single order of French fries, onion rings or zucchini is often more than any three people ought to eat. On my first visit to The Hat (on North Lake in Pasadena) - I'd lived here less than a month - I ordered a cheeseburger and large fries. The guy gave me a weird look but said nothing...and then a few minutes later he handed me a grocery sack half-full of French fries!

                      Another place that's famous for its rings and fried zucchini has recently begun selling a new smaller portion, which I ordered the other day. I still needed to share it...

                      1. g
                        gourmaniac RE: Leslieville Oct 17, 2006 12:42 PM

                        Agree entirely and I note that you are from Toronto where the portion sizes are beginning to creep up but still lag behind the US. Our solution is to eat half and bring the rest home for lunch. There was a great Doonsebury strip years ago that featured a chain restaurant that guaranteed your entree would be larger than your head. When the serve asks if anyone has room for dessert, the diner replies just bring me 1,500 calories of anything sweet. A perfect summation of our sad state of affairs.

                        1. j
                          Janet from Richmond RE: Leslieville Oct 17, 2006 12:46 PM

                          Ilove burgers, etc. but for me I leave off the fries except for maybe once or twice a year. I love the veggie burger at Chilis and ask them to hold the fries. I pay the same, but really don't care. I also love Chick-Fil-A and get it without fries.

                          For me, leaving off the chips and fries is key.

                          1. NovoCuisine RE: Leslieville Oct 17, 2006 12:56 PM

                            Portions are out of control.

                            When I eat at your average place, I can barely finish what is on my plate. It is a regular occurance for servers to ask me, "Was the food okay?" Yes, it was fine, there was just too damned much of it!

                            There was a thread the other day about doggie bagging, and, yes, I do it because I feel it's such an incredible waste. I can get three meals out of one order.

                            People dining with me always ask me if I get annoyed at spending money and not finishing a meal, but why would I? The meal served its purpose if the food was tasty, satisfying, and filling. And it doesn't take an oversized plate of sky-high food to fill me up.

                            I've taken to ordering appetizers at certain establishments.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: NovoCuisine
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                              MommaJ RE: NovoCuisine Jun 11, 2007 01:22 AM

                              Reviving this thread to rant a bit because I faced the most appalling case of portion madness a few nights ago and I'm still annoyed. Went to a local Italian spot that serves good food. Started with an arugula salad with goat cheese and a few other adornments that I finished only half of--I could have had it all, but who wants that much salad? This was enough for a complete lunch. Next, a pasta dish that was so enormous that I could only eat one-third.( I took it home, but the sauce separated upon reheating and became a gloppy mess, so it was a waste.) While I would have liked to try dessert, it was out of the question at that point. Hubby's osso buco was accompanied by a platter of risotto that could have served an entire family--he didn't touch it because the meat portion was so large and he wanted to finish it. I'm not petite and eat normal meals at home. This was enough food for three normal meals.

                              I'm starting to long for the days when we all complained about the tiny portions of nouvelle cuisine. I'm so tired of paying for vast amounts of food I don't want--I really don't have that much money to waste. Plus these huge mounds of food almost kill my appetite completely. And I don't want to be relegated to eating an appetizer for dinner or sharing an entree with someone who doesn't like the same things I do. Phooey.

                              1. re: MommaJ
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                                FrankJBN RE: MommaJ Sep 27, 2007 11:42 AM

                                "And I don't want to be relegated to eating an appetizer for dinner"

                                Why not? If it is the amount of food you would normally eat for dinner, what do you care whether or not your diver's scallops are called an appetizer or entree?

                                1. re: FrankJBN
                                  BobB RE: FrankJBN Oct 1, 2007 01:21 PM

                                  Exactly! That's what my wife (4"11", 100lbs) has begun doing because if she does that she sometimes actually has enough room for dessert. With standard entree portions, forget it!

                                  1. re: FrankJBN
                                    SweetPea914 RE: FrankJBN Oct 1, 2007 02:00 PM

                                    "what do you care whether or not your diver's scallops are called an appetizer or entree?"

                                    Unfortunately not all menu items are also appetizer options. On some menu's It can be hard to get a healthy appetizer or a reasonable protein serving if you just order an appetizer. There are times I want an appetizer as my dinner because portions are big and I'm not heading home after dinner. However, particularly with red sauce type Italian restaurants, but many others as well, your main options in this case are soup, salad, or items that are mostly fried.

                              2. Miss Needle RE: Leslieville Jun 11, 2007 07:06 AM

                                Sigh! I agree with you. When I'm in in my hometown, I'll just take home the leftovers. However, it does become a problem when I travel. Neither my husband nor I have the largest appetites (I think we're normal; the portion sizes in the US are just too large). It's true -- one of the reasons why Americans are getting fatter and fatter is due to restaurant eating. More Americans are incorporating restaurant eating on a daily basis. Restaurants generally prepare food with more fat and salt than people generally make at home. And their portion sizes are getting larger and larger over the years. I think the Super Sizing at McDonalds is ridiculous. I remember when I was younger, my sister and I would go to McDonalds and order a Two Cheeseburgers meal supersized and share that ONE meal.

                                Studies have shown that once people are presented with an abundance of food, they tend to overeat. Best way is to portion out the food when you are served.

                                1. g
                                  garfish RE: Leslieville Sep 26, 2007 06:06 PM

                                  I have to agree. Especially at the chains. I'd much prefer smaller sized portions and maybe a lower price. It's getting hard to find a place you can get thru 3 courses.

                                  I took to eating at a local buffet recently so could kind of build my own but I can't stand watching people with these cartoonishly grotesque mountains-o-food walking back from the buffet.

                                  1. r
                                    rich in stl RE: Leslieville Sep 26, 2007 07:12 PM

                                    the other day my wife and one of her pals went to one of out favorite restaurants - Macaroni Grill - hey, we like it! Anyway, she got the plebeian Spaghetti & Meatballs with meat sauce. WE LIKE IT!! She ate all she wanted, brought home the rest and that was dinner for BOTH of us.

                                    What chain is it that sells half portions for two thirds the price? Sounds good to me :)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: rich in stl
                                      t
                                      thinks too much RE: rich in stl Sep 27, 2007 07:21 AM

                                      I thought I heard a story about it on NPR. I think that it is TGIFridays

                                    2. f
                                      Fleur RE: Leslieville Sep 27, 2007 12:01 AM

                                      The answer is very simple. No matter what size portion is served to you, eat only as much as you want, or as much as you think you should.

                                      Remember, you are not a trash can. The food is already paid for. It is yours. But where would you rather the excess wind up? Turned into fat around your middle and your heart, or in the trash?

                                      It is sad to see people at Buffets and receptions thinking that just because they paid, and the sign says "all you can eat" they are obliged to eat more than their bodies can handle.

                                      I have been finding the last few years that portions at better restaurants here in NYC are , well, portion sized. The emphasis is on quality, not quantity.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Fleur
                                        LindaWhit RE: Fleur Sep 27, 2007 01:14 PM

                                        "No matter what size portion is served to you, eat only as much as you want, or as much as you think you should. "

                                        And *slow down* in how quickly the food goes into your mouth and into your stomach. Many people also eat way too fast, which means they eat *more* before they realize they're full.

                                        1. re: Fleur
                                          s
                                          stolenchange RE: Fleur Sep 29, 2007 10:24 PM

                                          << Remember, you are not a trash can. The food is already paid for. It is yours. But where would you rather the excess wind up? Turned into fat around your middle and your heart, or in the trash? >>

                                          I changed my thinking a few years ago to think like this. I chose the trash over my tush. After being raised by immigrant parents who hated waste, it took quite a while to make the mental shift. But now at 70 pounds lighter, I'm glad I did.

                                          1. re: stolenchange
                                            Sam Fujisaka RE: stolenchange Oct 1, 2007 10:24 AM

                                            But why not doggie bag and eat the rest over a few meals at home?

                                        2. d
                                          davebough RE: Leslieville Sep 27, 2007 07:10 AM

                                          I mostly order a couple appetizers and no main course. Love tasting menus.
                                          dave

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: davebough
                                            t
                                            thinks too much RE: davebough Sep 27, 2007 07:22 AM

                                            Depends on the restaurant. I get drawn to the appetizers since they tend to be more adventurous, but I also notice that they tend to be higher in fat and sodium content with fewer veggies than an entree.

                                          2. rockandroller1 RE: Leslieville Sep 27, 2007 07:38 AM

                                            I think BOTH are to blame, restaurants and people. Where do you think the restaurants got the idea to start serving bigger and bigger portions - from the customers! Customers pushed portion sizes to what they are now and restaurants happily complied - bigger servings = they can charge more and it's usually at little cost to them.

                                            Studies show that people eat what's put in front of them, and when it's gone, they feel done. If given a medium popcorn, those who have the appetite to finish it do so. If given a large, they finish that, or at least eat way more than what's in the medium. Why is it continually up to the consumer to control themselves when they're starving, eat less at every meal, portion off this, ask for a to-go bag, throw half away, etc. I just want to be given a normal sized apple or muffin or dinner instead of having to continually push away food that's often wasted - thrown out at home or by the restaurant, and I'll admit it's hard to do when you're hungry! Yes, pasta is usually fine reheated but a lot of things one gets out are not fine reheated and frankly, there are a lot of things that aren't good as leftovers.

                                            I just think the restaurants as a whole are doing a poor job of working with consumers, who now clearly want portion sizes to go back to normal again. Look at those gross, huge products KFC and Hardee's came out with in the last year or so, that KFC thing that was like "everything in a bowl" and the hardees burger that was bigger than any other and bragged about not containing any vegetables.

                                            I do try hard to watch portions but I wish I didn't have to guess all the time when going out what I should eat and what I should throw away or ask to be boxed up or split with someone or whatever. Why do we have to keep playing this game every time we go out?

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: rockandroller1
                                              m
                                              MakingSense RE: rockandroller1 Sep 27, 2007 10:11 AM

                                              What's a normal portion?
                                              It's different for a construction worker, 15-year old boy, his parents who might be watching their weight, his little sister and brother, perhaps his grandparents whose appetites have waned as they've aged. Restaurants have to offer a standard portion. Once they have an order of something that includes the plating/packaging, the incremental increase of a few fries or ounces of other food doesn't add that much to their cost. It gives the appearance of value for the money.
                                              Add to that, that eating out was once a treat for Americans. We ate reasonably well at home, so that in restaurants, it was OK to indulge. We could skip the good-for-you veggies, add sauces like hollandaise, and have gooey desserts which weren't standard for at-home meals. Two appetizers or a tasting menu can be nutritionally unbalanced and as fat and calorie-laden as any fast food meal. Unfortunately, Americans eat more and more of their meals away from home but those meals aren't like the reasonable, balanced square meals once served in home kitchens.
                                              The shift has been both in American lifestyle and in restaurants' reactions to it - but not just fast food.

                                              1. re: MakingSense
                                                rockandroller1 RE: MakingSense Sep 27, 2007 11:23 AM

                                                Yes, but the standard size has tripled. No matter who ate at McDonald's when it opened, a hamburger was small, fries were small (you can't even GET a small fry anymore) and the drink was 8oz. It was ok to indulge in a meal like that. It's not ok now because the meal is 3x the size.

                                                1. re: rockandroller1
                                                  m
                                                  MakingSense RE: rockandroller1 Sep 27, 2007 11:53 AM

                                                  McD's has a Dollar Menu with a small burger. You don't have have to add fries. Or you can split an order. Nobody says you have to finish them. I drink water or a Diet Coke with ice.
                                                  There are those who can consume more calories than I can with no problems whether it's from McDonald's or at The French Laundry. A half bottle of wine has a lot of calories and so does a super-sized drink. We are all responsible for our own choices.

                                                  1. re: MakingSense
                                                    j
                                                    JennS RE: MakingSense Sep 27, 2007 01:29 PM

                                                    We are definitely responsible for our own choices, but restaurants, especially fast-food ones, could stand to make it a little easier, and figure out how to make a profit at the same time. Try ordering a bottled water instead of soda with a value meal at McDonalds and they have to call a manager to figure out how to charge you. Try ordering an iced coffee without the automatic 4 "squirts" of milk and 3 teaspoons of sugar and they will tell you it's impossible, even though they have the black coffee sitting right there.

                                                    1. re: JennS
                                                      rockandroller1 RE: JennS Sep 27, 2007 01:36 PM

                                                      that's my point. I think that BOTH have responsibilities. Customers and restaurants. Both are what drove the portion sizes up, and we can bring them back down again, too.

                                                      1. re: JennS
                                                        m
                                                        MakingSense RE: JennS Sep 27, 2007 03:16 PM

                                                        Bottled water isn't one of the choices in a Value Meal. It's an extra. They'll give you a cup that you can fill with ice and water from the dispenser for water or a soft drink.
                                                        The iced coffee rule seems silly.

                                              2. a
                                                akcskye RE: Leslieville Sep 27, 2007 10:57 AM

                                                I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with you.

                                                I think a lot of the reason the portions have increased so largely in the restaurants is because of the All You Can Eat Buffets that abound here in the states.

                                                No longer does someone see it reasonable to pay $6.99 for a regular menu portion when just down the road, they can get AYCE for the same price or within a few dollars of that, so they've had to increase the portions to compete.

                                                I have long held the stand that AYCE would be the ruination of society...and, well, it has.

                                                Not only does the AYCE allow portions to go out of control, people seem to be much ruder and impatient now than ever before, so they belly up to the AYCE so they can eat without having to wait, over-eat, then waddle out to their cars...UGH

                                                Just my .02.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: akcskye
                                                  f
                                                  FrankJBN RE: akcskye Sep 27, 2007 11:40 AM

                                                  "the portions have increased so largely in the restaurants is because of the All You Can Eat Buffets that abound here in the states"

                                                  that's right - Le Bec Fin is in direct competition with the Ho-Ho Happy Garden and they have to respond in kind to such a challenge.

                                                  I don't see it. Do you personally view a Golden Corral as an alternative when dining out? I don't think there is competition between fine restaurants or even ordninary restaurants and all you can eat buffets.

                                                  Besides, I do not believe it is for large amounts of one food, IOW a large portion comparable to a large entree, that people go to buffets. It might be, but why then do such places tout 80 different dishes?

                                                  1. re: FrankJBN
                                                    a
                                                    akcskye RE: FrankJBN Sep 27, 2007 02:19 PM

                                                    "I don't think there is competition between fine restaurants or even ordninary restaurants and all you can eat buffets."

                                                    Okay, then by your own example, explain how Golden Corral and another comparable restaurant, Western Sizzlin, have buffets now, when they didn't in the past if there isn't any competition between even an ordinary restaurant vs. AYCE?

                                                    1. re: akcskye
                                                      SweetPea914 RE: akcskye Sep 27, 2007 02:51 PM

                                                      Some brunches aside, I have never been to an AYCE buffet. I don't really think you can possibly, on any level (food quality, amount, decor, service, wine list??) make a comparison between a civilized dinner out and an AYCE.

                                                      **Edit- akcskye, btw, I didn't mean to respond directly to you, but the person above you.

                                                      1. re: SweetPea914
                                                        pikawicca RE: SweetPea914 Oct 2, 2007 01:32 PM

                                                        There is a good Indian restaurant in my town that has an excellent buffet at lunch, with many healthy (mostly vegetarian) choices. The Asian people I see eating here usually get one plate with a reasonable amount of food on it. The majority of Anglos, however, heap their plates with food, and make numerous trips to the buffet line. Needless to say, these people are on the large side.

                                                2. LNG212 RE: Leslieville Sep 27, 2007 11:10 AM

                                                  I agree with most of what has already been posted -- portions have gotten larger and it's not good for us. I also see this problem in relation to what one poster pointed out -- the "value" and "quality" questions. Most people (in the US) it seems to me equate "value" with "quantity" and have either entirely lost their palattes or perhaps never had much of one to begin with. I don't know if this relates to economic stress factors or what have you, but I think we see it when (as another poster pointed out) the higher end restaurants don't tend to have the same "portion creep" that middling to lower end restaurants do (I guess that's why chains and fast-food places get most of the bad rap). With this economic aspect, we also see the "clean your plate" and "get the most at an ayce" mentality. In other words, if "value" means "quantity" then one eats all of what one gets in a plated meal or as much as one possibly can at an ayce. So until people learn to de-couple "value" and "quantity" and recognize that higher quality food in smaller portions may taste better (or at least is probably better for them), the problem will continue. And I don't see restaurants being at the forefront of this -- why should they when, for the most part, people will go to them based on this perceived "value" idea.

                                                  1. s
                                                    swsidejim RE: Leslieville Sep 27, 2007 11:19 AM

                                                    I dont really have an issue with portion sizes being to large. The only items I notice the huge portions mentioned are pasta dishes, breakfasts, and some of the monster dinner salads places offer. But then again I do not order these items when I dine out.

                                                    I find that the items I do order, steak, fish, shellfish, etc. You know what you are getting, for example an 8 oz filet, or a 20+ oz porterhouse, or a 12 oz swordfish steak, a full slab of ribs, or (x) pounds of crab legs, or a 8 oz Lobster tail, or a whole lobster, etc. Restaurants will not be giving away these higher price items they sell by weight, so the portion is what it is expected to be. Pastas, rice, potatoes, beans, salads, chicken, etc are cheap items that they pay very little for, and in turn are able to heap large ammounts on a plate for those that order it.

                                                    I know I never need a doggy bag for a steak, Lobster, or crab legs. I think it just depends on what a person orders when it comes to porions being "out of control".I also have the self control to push myself away from the table if I am full.

                                                    1. Chew on That RE: Leslieville Sep 27, 2007 11:27 AM

                                                      I wish portions were smaller. I was raised in a family where we feel like we shouldn't waste food, so I was taught to finish everything on my plate. I've come to realize that I shouldn't always do this, but my dad definitely eats more than he should sometimes because of what he is served!

                                                      1. vorpal RE: Leslieville Sep 29, 2007 05:24 PM

                                                        I didn't really notice this when I was living in DC for a few months, but then again, I tended to eat at mid-to-upscale or Asian restaurants, and I found the portions there to be reasonable and not excessive. Given, though, the number of obese people - so many more than in the Canadian cities I've lived in - that I regularly saw walking around, I suspect that it's true of most American-style restaurants.

                                                        I would much prefer a smaller portion of well executed food than a huge portion of mediocre (or even excellent) food that will just go to waste. Of course, that wasn't the case when I was a hungry teenager, but now that I'm an adult, I just want to leave a restaurant with a clean plate and a satisfied stomach.

                                                        1. d
                                                          Deborah RE: Leslieville Sep 29, 2007 07:17 PM

                                                          I have often said I would gladly pay the same amount of money for half the amount of food served if it was cooked perfectly!

                                                          1. Eat_Nopal RE: Leslieville Oct 1, 2007 01:55 PM

                                                            Portion Sizes are generally too big in the U.S? That is the understatement of the year. I remember when I was a naive & unsophisticated college student getting stuck at Cheesecake Factory a couple of times... and being served salads the size of a bucket!

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