Chefs and servers reveal the biggest rip-offs to restaurants

Getty / Jack F

The restaurant business is not easy. Rents are high, COVID has disrupted the restaurant world, and patrons can be … er, challenging. Caveats aside, there are questionable supplements and practices, and while their purpose is to help cover costs, it’s enlightening to know them as consumers.

In a thread on Reddit, chefs, servers, bartenders, bakers and bartenders shared their personal experiences with some shady practices in the restaurant world. You might consider some of them simply as the cost of doing business in a difficult landscape, but whether it’s “necessary evils” or scams, it’s a fun thread of culinary confessions. We’ve rounded up the 15 most sparkling answers to the question, “Reddit chefs, what are the biggest rip-offs your restaurants sell?”

And remember, if this list disappoints you, you can always make your favorite restaurant recipe from the comfort of your home.

1. The bait and the ALDI switch

“My husband worked in a gastropub in an affluent area. Baked Camembert was literally ALDI’s Camembert for £ 1 each, then cooked and sold for £ 15 to share. Everyone was convinced it was really elegant continental fine cheese. [baked in] a special camembert oven. “

2. The Franzia bait and switch

“We buy small bottles of wine for $ 7 and sell for $ 37. The [house wine] is Franzia’s boxed wine. “

3. The sushi scam game

“I worked in a Japanese [restaurant] for a while and we had this thing called Volcano roll. It cost $ 7.25. A California roll costs $ 3.75. The Volcano roll was a Cali roll cut into a triangle shape and topped with spicy mayonnaise that was reheated with about $ 0.10 of fish, literally just a few bits. “

Related—Because you should never leave a copy of the receipt in a restaurant with the customer

4. Bowling Crimes

“Our soup cup is the same size as our bowl, but the bowl costs 30 percent more.”

5. Offenses against the freezer

“So many places claim homemade cakes, fresh baked cookies … No. Frozen, frozen, frozen, thawed, then baked. Then they try to charge $ 7 a slice.”

6. Increase in the prices of soft drinks

“As a longtime restaurant employee, I can promise you the biggest rip off is the sodas and iced tea. $ 3 or more, depending on the location, for something that costs them pennies.”

7. Steak Supplements

“I work in a steakhouse and I’d say all steaks. We buy our 6-ounce sirloin steaks for $ 5 a slice and sell them for $ 35.”

8. Grilled Cheese Supplements

“Grilled cheese sandwiches. For the price of one of ours you could probably make a whole bag of bread at home and get exactly the same thing.”

9. Fried Pickle Supplements

“I’ve been working in a diner for a while. Nobody should ever order fried pickles. Biggest rip off ever, the cost is less than $ 0.30 per order and the increase in price leads to orders of 30 pickle chips. over $ 5 to $ 6 “.

10. Offenses from salads

“Soups and salads. Pennies on the dollar for the cost of food. There’s a reason why all-you-can-eat buffets have whole sections dedicated to them. They help offset the lower profit made by other menu items.” . Counterpoint: Restaurant salads can be delicious! Here is one of the main reasons.

Related—The 10 most hilarious restaurant Twitter accounts

11. Salsa crimes

“Most restaurants that charge you for sauces (like ranch, sriracha mayo, etc.). Some might make certain sauces but wherever I’ve worked, the scope of making sauces is something you could teach anyone (equal parts of x premade salsa and premade salsa). But still, I can’t bear to pay $ 0.50 for 2 ounces (at most, probably 1 ounce typically) of store-bought ranch. “

12. Offenses related to soy milk

“We charge 85 cents for soy milk even though the drink only contains 1 ounce of soy …”

13. Exchange of supermarkets

“I worked in a posh country club ($ 25,000 entry fee, then $ 7,000 a year in the 1990s). A slice of ‘homemade’ cheesecake cost $ 7 each on the menu. stopped at the Giant Food store every day on the way to work to get a whole cheesecake for about $ 5 “.

14. Exchanges in supermarkets II

“The cinnamon rolls, cookies and ice cream from our bakery are made in-store, but the brownies and flavored bread are Walmart box mixes. The white, wheat, and sourdough bread comes in small frozen bricks.” .

15. Cheating of the house wine

“We have a super expensive local steakhouse and the waitress confessed that their ‘house wine’ was just Carlo Rossi.”

But don’t forget …

Uff, and that was just the top 15. To offer some balance to the situation, two commentators touched on the fact that high costs often have to do with keeping a business afloat:

1. “Expensive city here. The biggest rip-off customers have to pay for is the exorbitant rent that restaurateurs owe their hosts. Restaurants typically make less than a 6% profit margin.”

2. “Literally nothing. Everything takes manpower and uses resources to make. Yes, some things have a higher profit margin, but others have a lower margin. The only thing I could consider a” rip off “would be beer and wine. We buy them and increase them by 300%, otherwise nothing is a scam “.

And that’s it. There will be refills, non-homemade desserts will be served, and the house wines may come from a box. Maybe next time ask where that homemade pie really comes from or ask about the house wine … but keep supporting your local restaurants! They need your love and business more than ever.