A new study found that when we eat out at restaurants, only 18% percent of what we pay covers the actual cost of food. So here’s what not to order, because you could make it at home for a lot less.
Let’s start with a breakfast favorite: Pancakes and eggs.
In general, experts say you shouldn’t order anything you can easily whip up yourself at home. 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 item you shouldn’t order: 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!
The 3rd thing you shouldn’t order: Shrimp Caesar salad. The problem here is the word “shrimp,” which adds what’s called “perceived value.” That’s 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.
“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 item not to order: 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 bucks for a burger that likely costs a buck or two to make.
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