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Old 04-05-2010, 02:18 PM   #1
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Outrageous Restaurant Portions WhoWhereWhy?

I was recently at Maggiano's in NC and asked the waiter to box up 2/3 of my meal and I asked how many other of his customers do this. Without hesitation, he said 92%. What? They keep statistics and are fully aware that it's too much? Then why do they do it? What about those of us who were taught to eat everything on our plates? Or what about those of us who are missing that chemical thingy in the brain that tells us we're full...mercy

Do they think larger portions give the illusion of "best restaurant" ratings?

Are they afraid a customer might leave feeling hungry if they don't?

Are they trying to satisfy our efforts to dress up and drive there?

What countries are most guilty of outrageous portions? ...I think i suspect the ugly truth

What specific restaurants are the worst "offenders"? ...not that I plan to make immediate reservations, mind you.

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Old 04-05-2010, 02:28 PM   #2
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It's an American excess thing I think. Places, mainly those large corp chain places, think that if they pile it on, it is a "better value". . . all they are doing is giving more crap, imo.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:29 PM   #3
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Maggiano's is one that I kind of put in a different category then other restaurants that give you too much food to eat in one setting. The reason I put Maggiano's on a page by itself is because I think they consciously give you way more food with the idea that you will take it home and have a few more meals out of it. You can eat for a week off one meal there.

I think restaurants serve huge portions because customers demand it, or at least used to. People want to get their moneys worth and if you have leftovers then it is seen as getting your moneys worth. No one wants to walk away from a meal at a restaurant and still be hungry. It has gotten to the point where that is now what is expected so if you get any less it almost feels like you are being ripped off.

Your ugly truth will turn out to be correct I am sure. The US is by far the country that is the biggest offender.
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:33 PM   #4
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I have experienced this as well. I'm 65 YO and a big eater. When I was younger, I was an even bigger eater. When a restaurant's portions are more than I can comfortably eat, it has become absurd.

Not sure why they do it. With some Italian places, you get a ton of pasta you cannot possibly finish. I think it justifies the price of the meal. Pasta is so cheap that a truly normal portion would have to be priced lower, reducing the income from a table.

Regardless, I don't enjoy paying 'eat out in a restaurant' prices so I will have leftovers to reheat at home.
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Old 04-05-2010, 04:50 PM   #5
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Your ugly truth will turn out to be correct I am sure. The US is by far the country that is the biggest offender.
Surely, in all the world, there must be a country worse than us...what about Germany with Bratwurst,Beer,German-Potato-Salad, and Saurkraut, etc. maybe?
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It's an American excess thing I think. Places, mainly those large corp chain places, think that if they pile it on, it is a "better value". . . all they are doing is giving more crap, imo.
Here's a cartoonist who agrees with you, TAT:
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:18 PM   #6
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due respect for the prior points made. although- if these restaurants gave a less generous portion of food- be that offered @ a lesser price or a similar $$, there'd likely be griping customers grumbling that the portions were insufficient.
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Old 04-05-2010, 09:33 PM   #7
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Maggiano's is one that I kind of put in a different category then other restaurants that give you too much food to eat in one setting. The reason I put Maggiano's on a page by itself is because I think they consciously give you way more food with the idea that you will take it home and have a few more meals out of it. You can eat for a week off one meal there.
Maggiano's does it to simulate the Italian Mother "eat eat! You're too skinny!".
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Old 04-06-2010, 02:13 AM   #8
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If you're gonna have a big dinner maybe you should skip breakfast and lunch. Some hich priced phony baloney restaurants in our area (eg American Hotel in Sag Harbor) serve 12 bites of food on an eighteen inch dinner plate.
Many places get a lot of older folks who come in for the smaller portions and lower prices offered at lunch time.
It's sorta sad to see how little the old fogies eat at our monthly Legion Hall dinners.
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Old 04-06-2010, 03:53 AM   #9
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Well, basically they are charging you for the entire huge portion (forcing you to buy it, they sell the food, no leftovers for them so that means less waste and more profit?
Only maybe the customer doesn't always know that.
Now, this is my mothers theroy, not mine, but it kinda makes sense...
And then you are left with the huge leftovers which might make one think they got sooo much food, enough for two meals, wow, what a greaat deal, lol.
But me I like it, cos if I don't want to cook then it's the next day's meal.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:54 AM   #10
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To tell the truth, I love leftovers. From a restaurant, from last nights dinner...
I actually cook with leftovers in mind because I love to turn it into something else later in the week. You can ask my wife and kids, I haven't had a failure yet.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:57 AM   #11
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It's sorta sad to see how little the old fogies eat at our monthly Legion Hall dinners.

Why can't we have those small appetites early on so we don't need to diet.
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Old 04-06-2010, 10:20 AM   #12
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It's sorta sad to see how little the old fogies eat at our monthly Legion Hall dinners.

Why can't we have those small appetites early on so we don't need to diet.
Why is it sad? They'r eating as much as they want.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:42 PM   #13
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The real thing to examine is what components of the meal are in excess. Normally it's pasta/noodles, potatoes, rice, etc. As noted above, these items cost the restaurant very little money (especially when purchased in bulk). So that bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo with the truffle shaving can fetch $25 instead of $10 if they add an extra $0.25 of pasta (which might amount to a full pound cooked). At the same time they cover their bases when the buffet-warrior sits down expecting his cubic meter of sustenance.
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Old 04-06-2010, 01:10 PM   #14
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When I watch TV food shows such as Diners, Drive-In and Dives and some shows on the Travel Channel, I see a variety of restaurants serving monster portions. Restaurant owners/chefs seem to take pride in how full their plates are and they seem to be looking for ways to make them bigger. Their prices are not outrageous.

I would guess a very high percentage of patrons leave the leftovers on the table. Restaurants could cut the portions in half, reducing prices, and still provide filling meals. The excess could go to food banks, homeless shelters or even into their pockets as profit.

Until this mentality changes, Americans will continue to get bigger and less healthy.
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Old 04-06-2010, 01:44 PM   #15
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...well, if 92% of Maggiano's customers really do take their leftovers home and make another meal from it then not much is being wasted. I know none of mine was...it was top quality. I had 2 meals of eggplant parmigiana (no pasta by the way). The cost was 12.99 so each gourmet dinner ended up being 6.50 (plus a tad for lunch the next day)....you probably can't even get a meal at McDonald's for 6.50. Which reminds me of the SUPER SIZE feature there...don't even get me started

...no waste at Maggiano's that is, unless you include the non-biodegradable styrofoam box and the "designer label" tote bag w/handles they put it in (well it costs money to print their corporate identity on it not to mention the tree that was cut down)...wasted.

...and then there are those restaurant chains that serve monster portions but the "food" isn't worth taking home...wasted.

...or the travelers staying in a hotel with no fridge or microwave...wasted.

...or those that actually overdo and eat it all at the restaurant...wasted on the hips and heart
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Old 04-06-2010, 01:52 PM   #16
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food safety/sanitation guidelines & regulations decide whether a restaurant may donate food.
& what would they donate food for, when they're seeking a profit.
these restauranteers ought recieve costing & portioning instruction. a restaurant easily folds if they mismanage. plain & simple.
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Old 04-06-2010, 02:06 PM   #17
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...well, if 92% of Maggiano's customers really do take their leftovers home and make another meal from it then not much is being wasted. I know none of mine was...it was top quality. I had 2 meals of eggplant parmigiana (no pasta by the way). The cost was 12.99 so each gourmet dinner ended up being 6.50 (plus a tad for lunch the next day)....you probably can't even get a meal at McDonald's for 6.50. Which reminds me of the SUPER SIZE feature there...don't even get me started

...no waste at Maggiano's that is, unless you include the non-biodegradable styrofoam box and the "designer label" tote bag w/handles they put it in (well it costs money to print their corporate identity on it not to mention the tree that was cut down)...wasted.

...and then there are those restaurant chains that serve monster portions but the "food" isn't worth taking home...wasted.

...or the travelers staying in a hotel with no fridge or microwave...wasted.

...or those that actually overdo and eat it all at the restaurant...wasted on the hips and heart

For the evening meal, I would expect a high percentage of the diners to take meals home. What about lunch and breakfast places? I'd guess most of those are wasted.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:23 PM   #18
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At the same time they cover their bases when the buffet-warrior sits down expecting his cubic meter of sustenance.
LOLOLOLOLOL

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For the evening meal, I would expect a high percentage of the diners to take meals home. What about lunch and breakfast places? I'd guess most of those are wasted.
We wrap up our extra omelet and home fries and take them home at breakfast. Wait, I mean, my WIFE does. I never seem to have any left.
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:53 PM   #19
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While there are some restaurants here in Edmonton that serve large portions, most are just right.

Sadly, I must report that the only time I've been served portions that are far too large are the times I've eaten in the US. The most notable time for me was when we were in Disney World. If I'd ordered a "breakfast plate" I could have had eggs, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage and toast all for $2.99 and the portion would have fed both my girls and myself. Instead, I bought what would normally be breakfast in our house. 4 pieces of fruit, 2 yogurts, a couple of bagels and a couple small bowls of cereal with milk = $27.00! Holy moly.

This might be slightly off the topic, but has anyone else noticed that a "gourmet" restaurant will often serve much smaller portions? After reading the above posts I think that must be because of the ratio of quality ingredients and fewer starches.
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Old 04-06-2010, 09:29 PM   #20
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I would guess a very high percentage of patrons leave the leftovers on the table. Restaurants could cut the portions in half, reducing prices, and still provide filling meals.
Maybe it's because I've always worked at nice places, but food cost was never, ever a major concern at those places. The real cost of putting a meal on the table is in the labor to produce and serve it, the facility it's served in (and it's appointments), and the marketing of that facility. Cutting the portion size would reduce food cost, but it wouldn't have any bearing on the rest.

In my mind, it's better to send a customer home with a stack of styro boxes or half of their meal left on their plate than to send them home hungry.
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