Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Your Preference: Smaller Portions or Higher Menu Prices?


 Share

Recommended Posts

Nobody wants either, but high inflation means restaurants need to either raise prices, or to cut expenses.  

 

Personally I find many eateries have overloaded the plate for years; many diners were led to assume their meal is a plus-one, with expected leftovers to take home. 

 

I'm not a fan of leftovers; that could be based on my food preferences, many of which do not reheat well or stay fresh enough in the fridge. 

 

So I have no problem with restaurants shrinking my meals a bit while maintaining their previous price.  

 

Curious to hear from other diners and from restaurant owners/staff.  

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am in your camp on this. I would much prefer not to be over served! 

  • Like 1

"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For restaurant portions, I'd even call it "normalizing" rather than "shrinkflation". I agree, I'd rather have less food and no leftovers if it allows them to keep prices reasonable. Or give people size options, like how you can order a cup or a bowl of soup, I've seen restaurants (generally in an area with  large senior clientele) that offers "light" portions that have smaller amounts of protein.

The mass market brands try to trick consumers by modifying packaging so you can't readily see the reduction in volume. For example, a couple of weeks ago I saw bottles of Gatorade on the shelf in "old" style and "new" style shapes...upon reading the label the liquid volume was reduced in the new bottles. Likewise I saw something on TV where they showed the underside of a peanut butter jar being concave to reduce the internal volume while keeping the apparent visible jar size the same. I guess restaurants could buy smaller plates to visually trick their customers, too.

  • Like 5

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If they are shaving portions, it will be the protein rather than the sides. That's OK to a point.

But I'd rather have an appropriate-sized meat rather than a tiny thing.

So charge me what it costs you. Its not like I eat out every night what's an extra few bucks once in a while?

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The pizza shop in our company used to be pretty decent. As prices went up (especially on flour and oil) they decided to make the pies a tad smaller and thinner. They also use a different (and I suspect more economical) tomato sauce. As a result the pizza has changed its character completely and is less than mediocre. Me (and quite some colleagues) have complained and will not frequent the place anymore.

 

If they’d increased the price by 50 cent or so, everyone would have understood and pies & patronage would have remained constant. So for me: (moderate) price increases with transparency as to why beats shrinking portions or cheaper ingredients.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not convinced it's a binary choice.

Many restaurants serve oversized plates - hence the doggie bag culture. Cutting them back makes more sense. I want dinner; not dinner and tomorrow's lunch.

Cut size and, if necessary, raise the price a bit, too.

  • Like 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Im not a fan of deception .

 

that peanut butter jar

 

w the indented bottom 

 

is an example.

 

the 5 lbs sack of sugar is now 

 

4 lbs  , maybe even less 

 

that's fair .

 

shrink the pizza @ the parlor if you must

 

but keep it just as tasty .

 

Hellmans // Bermans mayo is now 30 oz rather than 32 .

 

that's OK 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of our mass-market ice cream brands here (Chapman's) is using "shrinkflation" in its ads, by pointing out that its 2 litre size remains 2 litres, while many others are not. It's a bit disingenuous - the reason many brands sell a 1.89 litre size is that it's two American quarts - but I'm sure it has been effective for them.

 

ETA: Not that this is pertinent to restaurants, of course. On the whole I'm in the "restaurant meals are too frikkin' big anyway" camp, but for a lot of eateries that's very much their brand. I can understand why customers would get upset at shinkage, but (shrug) margins have to come from somewhere.

Edited by chromedome (log)
  • Like 2

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I'm not convinced it's a binary choice.

Many restaurants serve oversized plates - hence the doggie bag culture. Cutting them back makes more sense. I want dinner; not dinner and tomorrow's lunch.

 

The good places around here don't serve giant plates of food. There are places, Chinese or Italian usually, where you get two meals for one but they are on the lower end of the spectrum

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

The good places around here don't serve giant plates of food. There are places, Chinese or Italian usually, where you get two meals for one but they are on the lower end of the spectrum

Well, "round here" isn't everywhere.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, gfweb said:

So charge me what it costs you. Its not like I eat out every night what's an extra few bucks once in a while?

 

7 hours ago, Duvel said:

If they’d increased the price by 50 cent or so, everyone would have understood and pies & patronage would have remained constant. So for me: (moderate) price increases with transparency as to why beats shrinking portions or cheaper ingredients.

 

Agree.

 

And how does it surprise anyone that prices go up, which they've basically been doing since time immemorial.

 

Cutting portions is stupid - how does a restaurant know whose portions they should cut? What if a couple is dining out - should I only cut the portion of the smaller person? Deal with portion sizes, deal with price increases, or stay home and deal with price increases of your groceries.

  • Like 3

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quote

 

As the country's most expensive culinary establishments hike their prices amid rising food and labor costs, one of the best known U.S. restaurateurs is trying something a bit more consumer friendly. Tom Colicchio, the man behind the small empire of Craft restaurants, and the head judge of Bravo's Top Chef, is cutting prices, portion sizes, and the tasting menu at his namesake New York restaurant.

The formal dining room at Colicchio & Sons in West Chelsea has eliminated the traditional appetizer-entree-dessert selections on its menu, replacing them with a selection of mid-sized plates priced at $14-$32, a sizable drop from the previous menu format, when starters cost anywhere from $26-$39, and mains, $39-$46. As part of the price drop, Colicchio will reduce the size of proteins to three to five ounces, down from the current six to seven ounces. The $95 set menu will remain in place, but the $145 tasting will no longer be offered.

 

 

By the way, that's from 2015 - when GASP -prices were going up!!

 

Also by the way, that restaurant closed in 2016, so I guess it didn't matter. Not that anything matters to Tom, except maybe Padma.

  • Like 2

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

I abbreviated your words. That's all. Same meaning with less typing. But really, not the point.

 

 The point is that good restaurants don't serve mammoth portions

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, gfweb said:

 

 The point is that good restaurants don't serve mammoth portions

 

Right - I generally only see large main plates at "ethnic" restaurants, where dishes are more or less meant to be shared.

  • Like 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

this reminds me of a time

 

I visited an Ethnic restaurant in BOS

 

some time ago . it's was very ethnic , very Caribbean 

 

in every way .   I went w a friend , from that area .

 

you picked a dish at the counter , menu behind .

 

I had curried goat , rice and peas , callaloo .

 

the server , in a musical sing-song voice with a big smile 

 

asked me :  " did I want Food on that ? 

 

I was a bit non-plussed .

 

[ ed.:  rotuts tries to use that word , once very few years ]

 

a parton right next to me , from the same area 

 

smiled and said  " yams "   the root not the potato

 

which came in a curry sauce .

 

lots of smiling there 

 

and fantastic food and Food .

 

I have a visual memory .

 

wonder what it would be like

 

to go to Per Se ( NYC ) or the French Laundry ( CA )

 

and be asked the same question

 

when I ordered the Main Course Foie Gras .

 

Smiling All

 

 

 

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

 

Probably true, but good restaurants are in the minority.

I think this depends on location.  Here in NYC, I don't know any place, ethnic or otherwise, fancy or inexpensive that serves outsized portions that could be reduced significantly.  Many restaurants have largely abandoned the "appetizer/main course" concept in favor of small plates (that don't have small prices) since the total bill usually winds up higher in that concept.

 

Here, I have seen most restaurants raise prices.  One of my go-tos, Yellow Rose, has raised prices a few different times since prices started going up. They're also really popular and I don't think most of their patrons are necessarily regulars who would know the difference.  In fact, each time prices have gone up, I've asked about it just to make sure it wasn't an error and the guy (or gal) taking my order said to me, "huh, I didn't realize - no one else has noticed"... then again, there are times I go there once a week and get the exact same order, so I know what the total was.... Oddly enough, my local pizza place hasn't increased prices at all in over a year, and their size is exactly the same - they're probably the only ones I know that haven't raised prices in some way.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/19/2022 at 12:50 PM, gulfporter said:

Nobody wants either, but high inflation means restaurants need to either raise prices, or to cut expenses.  

 

Personally I find many eateries have overloaded the plate for years; many diners were led to assume their meal is a plus-one, with expected leftovers to take home. 

 

I'm not a fan of leftovers; that could be based on my food preferences, many of which do not reheat well or stay fresh enough in the fridge. 

 

So I have no problem with restaurants shrinking my meals a bit while maintaining their previous price.  

 

Curious to hear from other diners and from restaurant owners/staff.  


 

  I absolutely agree. Plus most of the time I toss the left overs. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/30/2022 at 2:16 AM, MetsFan5 said:


 

  I absolutely agree. Plus most of the time I toss the left overs. 

Particularly when traveling, I am loathe to leave a chunk of protein on my plate.    I carry ziplocs and slip the offending chunk into one and take it away.    It almost never gets eaten, even by someone's pet.    But I feel guilty ordering something and not consuming it.

  • Like 1

eGullet member #80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the idea of a smaller serving being available and priced accordingly to those that want it.  I remember going to a family-style Italian restaurant in Norfolk VA a few months after having my gastric bypass.  I was recovered enough to be eating "normal" food, but still eating very small portions.  I had been given a card by my surgeon that explained my situation and requested that I be allowed to order from the child's or senior menu.  The choices of these menus tended not to be very good.  This restaurant didn't have either of those menus - they just offered half of anything off their menu for half price.  I never found another place with the same policy, but I wish I had.  I often order a salad and an appetizer, but that really limits the options.  Or I'll go ahead and get a main course and take most of it home, even though I don't care for leftovers.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our portion size story took place some 20 years ago in Northern New Jersey.    We were referred to a popular Italian restaurant.    Good welcome, good seats, seductive aromas.   We ordered as we normally would, maybe a starter and main for each of us.   Then the food started to arrive.   Quite excellent but enough for a family.    We wound up with a huge take out bag which we put in the back of our car.   Fortunately it was the dead of winter and we noshed off those containers for several days.    We often wondered about the portion sizes.   Were they actually consumed in place?

 

 

 

eGullet member #80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/22/2022 at 9:12 PM, rotuts said:

Hellmans // Bermans mayo is now 30 oz rather than 32

I've never understood why producers see benefits in 'shrinkflation'. With the mayo example you lose 2oz.

 

2/32 is only ~6% reduction in only one component of the cost.

 

Given so many fixed or semi-fixed costs --  running the production line, packaging, transport, advertising, general overheads ... the list goes on -- I don't see how the small reduction of delivered product outweighs the pereception problem. When I see less mayo I see a producer who doesn't have confidence in their product. This may be my quirk but I deeply resent being cheaped out on what the maker is purporting to stand behind. Jars, labels, trucking are all generic. Do you want to sell good mayo or not?

 

When I see that it costs about the same to put a bottle of air and a bottle of mayo on the supermarket shelf I begin to question the value of the mayo.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the Mayo goal is to keep the price under 

 

a certain amount.

 

Mayo < $ 4.99  is one thing to gasp at

 

Mayo > $ 5.00 is mush worse 

 

so the bean counter think.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...