The restaurant controls the portions. Nowadays, restaurants serve enough for two on some items, making it hard to order (and pay for) only the amount you want. For instance, if you order a chef salad, you will likely receive enough salad to serve 2 to 3 people. Now, while it is true that you can ask for extra plates and share, what happens, though, when everyone wants something different on the menu? As well, restaurants place the goodies of the salad on top, making it harder to share. So, in the end, you each usually order a salad for yourself and just pick the goodies off the top because you know that a salad will not stay good for later, and you are out the money for the portion that you did not eat.
Many restaurants now use processed foods. Many restaurants now use food already prepared for eating. All it takes to prepare some items is for the cook to empty the item from a bag, heat, and serve to the customer. For instance, some restaurants serve a Cranberry, Bleu Cheese salad, but you cannot opt to take out the bleu cheese because this salad is already pre-bagged. So, in essence, you are paying high dollars for a restaurant to pour a salad out of a bag, arrange it nicely, and serve it to you. Are you sure the extra dollars are worth not serving yourself?
Many food items include high fat content. While you may think that you are eating right when you order something grilled when you dine in at a full-service restaurant, think again. The cook likely douses the food item with butter, using a cooking mop. This means that your food is soaking (in short, frying) on the grill in a pool of butter. Is this really lower calorie or healthier? Yes, it does taste good, but butter makes everything tastes better, right?
Many menu items consist of loads of carbohydrates. If you will look closely, many appetizers consist of some type of potatoes or corn chips with a high-fat content (such as cheese, ranch dressing, and/or bacon) drizzled on top for munching. Would you really eat such empty filler food at home?
The food nutrition is questionable. Some restaurants offer such things as processed chicken breasts with a serving of herb-seasoned potatoes. Often the potatoes are leftover baked potatoes from the night before. While these are fine to serve, what if you opt to replace your potatoes with a vegetable, the restaurant may charge you a whopping $1.50 – $2.00 just for substitution. Why would a restaurant do this? The restaurant has figured a budget for minimizing waste, while maximizing profit. They don’t want you to cut into the profit by ordering an item that costs the restaurant more, so the restaurant charges you.
Restaurants rely on presentation for Maximum Profit. Some restaurants rely on presentation to sell a low-cost item for a significant amount. You will often find this in Mexican-food restaurants. For instance, Refried Beans make the Mexican-food eating experience authentic. Even so, a thin serving of Refried Beans can quickly spread across the plate and set, making the plate look like it holds more food than it does. Different restaurants use other types of presentations, too. For example, a restaurant may charge you a chunk of money for a small brownie and make you think you are getting a deal. All the server does is place the brownie in a bowl after streuseling chocolate/caramel syrup beneath/around it to fill up the blank space on the bowl. Then the server places the bowl on a plate. Even though you get little food for your money, your eyes tell you that you got a good deal.