A new study found that when we eat out at restaurants, only 18 percent of what we pay covers the actual cost of food. That means that on average, you’re paying more for the people serving your plate than for anything on it! In fact, here’s a list of some of the biggest restaurant rip-offs:
Let’s start with a breakfast favorite: Pancakes and eggs. In general, experts say anything you can whip up yourself at home is a rip-off. That’s because restaurants buy basic ingredients like eggs, flour, milk and butter in bulk. So, chefs pay pennies for that stack of pancakes with eggs!
Another restaurant rip-off: Chicken noodle soup. The rule of thumb in restaurants is that you get the most value ordering complex meals, that are time-consuming to make. But chicken noodle soup is just the opposite – since chefs can make a huge pot of soup from a bag of pasta and one chicken, and then serve it for days at an average cost of 30 cents a pop!
A 3rd restaurant rip-off: Shrimp Caesar salad. The problem here is the word “shrimp,” which adds what experts call “perceived value”. That’s basically the amount people are willing to pay, because we assume that seafood costs more. The reality is that many chefs use farmed shrimp in salads - that likely costs less than chicken.
Order these, and you’re probably paying too much: Starting with: “Home style” meatloaf. Experts say restaurants love to use buzzwords like “Grandma’s favorite,” or “home style,” because research shows that people are willing to pay more for foods that sound “authentic” and “traditional.” But think about it: Meatloaf is as generic as it gets since the ingredients are basically meat mixed with whatever leftovers are on hand!
One more restaurant-rip-off: Gourmet burgers. Experts say people tend to get thrown off by foods topped with “exotic” sounding ingredients – like saffron, lemongrass, or chipotle aioli. That’s because most of us have no idea how much that stuff really costs. So, we don’t think twice about plunking down $10 for a burger that likely costs a buck or two to make.