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Aug 20, 2013 06:15 PM

I always feel like I am getting ripped off at restaurants

It is not very often that I feel like I got my money's worth at restaurants...always feel like I gave a lot of money and didn't get that much in return. Am I the only one?

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  1. Are you ordering pasta pomodoro and coffee?

    1 Reply
    1. re: wattacetti

      Strangely one of the top ten dishes ever served to me was a pasta pomodoro in a Italian vineyard. They grew their own tomatoes and basil and made their own pasta. It was cooked on a outdoor veranda by the owners mother and when she combined this deceptively simple dish it was probably the most sublime combination of fresh flavors, oil and salt that I had tasted in a long while and it has stuck with me ever since. I would gladly have paid $25+ for that dish but I do understand your comment.

    2. Keep in mind that a restaurant's food cost is about 29% of your bill. You are paying for service, and someone's rent, away from your home. If you don't want the convenience of restaurants, stay home and save the 71 cents.

      11 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          As Veggo points out, the rule-of-thumb, worldwide, is that food costs will be about one third of menu price (with another third being staff costs and the remainder the restaurant's gross profit).

          It is always something I have in mind when I see "cheap" restaurant food. Always makes me think what the quality must be like if it's only cost that much to buy.

          That said, value for money, or lack of it, can apply at any point on the range of restaurants from top to bottom. Perhaps oddly, I have never felt really ripped off at a high level, expensive restaurant - say Michelin starred place. But I have, on occasions, experienced poor value for money when I've only been paying a few pounds/euros/dollars.

          1. re: Harters

            I never do "the math," as I am not a restaurant owner, nor an accountant. I go for my "enjoyment level," and if that is high, then I am a happy camper.

            As you state, at the "top," I have had few meals, that did not live up to the bill - though there have been a very few exceptions.

            Now, I seldom will order something, that I can replicate at home - seldom a steakhouse, or "home cooking," but when I do not break from that, will usually be wow'ed by the food. If not, then I do not return.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              " I seldom will order something thing, that I can replicate at home - seldom a steakhouse, ..."
              I'm with you there, Bill - my exact sentiments.

              1. re: klyeoh

                Thank you for also pointing out a bad typo, on my part... [Grin]


              2. re: Bill Hunt

                "Now, I seldom will order something, that I can replicate at home"

                I have a similar rule of thumb - we go out to get something I can't or won't make at home.

                1. re: cleobeach

                  I agree with Bill Hunt and cleobeach. But I have loosen up on my SO. While I groan when he orders spaghetti with Mariana at an Italian restaurant, I wouldn't like him telling me what to eat either.

                  1. re: Crockett67

                    Once again, dining out should be enjoyable. I can make a great breakfast at home, I can make great pasta at home but having the option to order something that appeals to you at that very moment is what I enjoy about eating out - regardless of how simple or complicated the preparation.

                    1. re: ferret

                      That IS a good point.

                      Even with the recipe for Seasons' Lemon Ricotta Griddle Cakes, when in San Francisco, I order them for breakfast.

                      Sometimes, one just does not feel like cooking, or they are away.


                    2. re: Crockett67

                      Good thing we are not married.
                      For eg. I get mad when the Ms. orders the same damn sea bream (denise), which is cooked the same way (broiled), EVERYWHERE in Israel; when a child wants spaghetti with tomato sauce in an excellent fancy French restaurant in Haifa (Hanamal 24).

                      1. re: Crockett67

                        There's a tongue-twister in there somewhere: "Mariana made marinara at a Miami marina while Martin got mad about mama's martinis and marinated more marlin."

              3. If you don't have an enjoyable experience then don't go. You shouldn't have anxiety over an experience that's supposed to decrease stress.

                I don't play accountant when I'm out for a meal. I'm either satisfied by the experience or I'm not. One of my most memorable meals was a fried perch with mac and cheese that I had about 20+years ago at a fairly high-end restaurant. It cost about 3 or 4 times as much as the similar dish at a diner but the ingredients were top-notch, all made from scratch (pasta included) and it reminded me how stellar the combination could be when executed so beautifully. Did I get fair value for my money? I walked away happy and I'm still chasing the dragon, but I've never been able to match that combination since.

                1. While I have occasionally felt a meal wasn't worth the price tag I can't say I ever felt "ripped off".

                  1. The only times I truly feel ripped off tend to center around "small plate" experiences. There are places that charge full entree prices (say, in the 20's) and you need three for a meal.

                    Other than that, it is what it is and I tend to feel pretty good about the transaction.