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7 Ways Restaurants Supposedly Nickel-and-Dime Customers

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It's probably best to avoid ordering the shrimp.


The restaurant industry is one with brutally small margins, so it's not surprising that restaurant owners try to cut costs as often as possible. What is surprising however, is the lengths that some will allegedly go to to save a few dollars. From using questionable shrimp to falsely labeling menu items, the Guardian reveals the psychological tricks that some restaurateurs are supposedly using behind-the-scenes at your local eatery. Below, the seven most shocking ways restaurants will pinch a penny, according to three restaurant consultants and industry insiders:

1) They buy cheap farm-raised shrimp that are treated with a form of formaldehyde called formalin which helps to clean and preserve the crustaceans. Formaldehyde is often found in embalming fluid.

2) Restaurants will rename "ugly sounding" ingredients to convince customers to buy it. For example, the Patagonian toothfish was renamed to the more exotic sounding Chilean sea bass.

3) Steakhouses will serve steaks with heavier utensils because heavier silverware feeds a perception of higher quality meat.

4) Many restaurants will purposefully stock wines that are not available in the United States so that they can place special, much cheaper, orders internationally. Restaurant owners then proceed to mark up the bottles significantly.

5) To save money on beer, restaurants will often serve glasses with a half-inch to an inch of foam on top. They do so because leaving that much foam can save them around 20 beers per keg.

6) To make sure that the beer does foam, restaurants will make sure to serve customers a refill in a new glass. This is because enzymes in saliva that are found in the used glass prevent the foam from forming.

7) When food costs go up, restaurants sneakily cut portion sizes down. They will take an ounce off of a burger patty and serve it on a slightly smaller bun so that no one feels like the ratio is off. Others will swap out 12-inch plates for 11-inch plates, so that no one will feel cheated.

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