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Would You Pay For Bread at a Restaurant?

Fewer restaurant patrons, more recession dining specials: If you've dined out at all in the past year, it's been impossible not to notice the impact that the economy's had on the restaurant industry. The latest development? Establishments have begun charging patrons for bread.

Restaurants such as Momofuku Ssäm Bar in Manhattan, Fog City Diner in San Francisco, and Spring Hill in Seattle are pairing artisan bread with specialty olive oil or butter and charging anywhere from $3 to $8 for bread as an appetizer.

I'm not surprised by this gutsy restaurant move; it makes sense.

The bitter reality is that many restaurants are on the verge of financial collapse, and this strategy may be one way to stay afloat. It's also an effective way to cut down on wasted food. Do you agree with my argument? Would you mind paying to have bread at your meal?


Join The Conversation
LittleMzFit LittleMzFit 8 years
Seems kind of inhospitable to charge for something like that. It's one of those things that adds a litte special touch & charm. :? I would think it would be bad PR. Dim the lights to save money, don't take away the bread! :D
thedanmole thedanmole 8 years
Actually, this is a God-send! I wouldn't pay any amount for bread (except Naan) in a restaurant. When I'm trying to get fit, it's usually the free bread that ruins me every time. Now if only we could just get them to get the food out a little faster, now that the bread/customer pacifier is no longer there...
WeTheLiving WeTheLiving 8 years
I would pay for Saltgrass Steakhouse's shiner bock beer bread, but that's about it. I wouldn't pay $8 for bread from anywhere though!
SeptemberLights SeptemberLights 8 years
I don't want to fill up on bread before I eat the food! My boyfriend was a waiter for 8 years and most restaurants have already figured the cost of the bread into your entree anyways...Nothing is ever truly FREE.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Nope. Generally, I don't eat the bread anyways.
telewyo telewyo 8 years
We're turning into Europe (not that that is necessarily bad)! At a bunch of places in france and italy there's bread in a basket on the table so we thought it was like here and it was free to munch on but when we got our check they charged us for each piece we took. You live, you learn, I guess...but it also grossed me out just a little to think that same bread was probably sitting on that table getting breathed on and possibly spit on (you know some people talk with their mouths full and some spray can fly out) by previous diners.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
no. artisan breads and speciality oils or butter come with at the nicer rests i go to anyways so NO.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
not all restaurants give you bread...and when they don't, sometimes we order another appie when they DO give you bread, i almost never order an appie before an entree so if it was good bread and i was hungry enough for it, sure i'd order it...but $8 seems steep...$8 seems like what you'd pay for a normal appie, like bread in bruscetta form
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
We already do pay for bread at restaurants - the question is whether I'd do so once it's itemized. The answer, unsurprisingly, is maybe.
emalove emalove 8 years
Yes, long as it wasn't plain white bread. But I'd pay for a nice wheat or sourdough. I think I have before, in fact. I've gone to restaurants that charge a small amount for the bread in the past.
courtneyd courtneyd 8 years
There's a restaurant near my house that has okay bread, but the olive oils they serve it with are just divine. My favorite has roasted garlic and rosemary in it, which I would definitely pay for. I always finish that, and leave the sun-dried tomato and olives for my husband.
daizyk70 daizyk70 8 years
If it's good bread and I am having soup or something that calls for bread as an accompaniment-no problem paying. Or if we go to Zingerman's Roadhouse--must have it then and will pay:)
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 8 years
PPSSH I got to restaurants for the bread! From O'Charlies to Olive Garden.... I gotta have it.. I usually eat more bread that I do my entree... but I think that it should be free with entrees
dootsie dootsie 8 years
I really do think that having bread before the meal is pretty silly. Portions are already massive at most restaurants. I think drinks should only come with one free refill, too. *shrug* Unpopular opinion, I know.
rainey-Smith rainey-Smith 8 years
No. I wouldn't mind if they asked if patrons actually wanted bread before providing it but I"m not paying a rental fee for the linens and the tableware. I'm not paying any consulting fee to the waitstaff and I don't expect to be paying for bread or condiments. If restaurants want people to think again about dining out in tough times, they need to be thinking about how they can make people think it's an affordable entertainment. Getting stingy now is NOT the right approach.
julieulie julieulie 8 years
Charging for bread is pretty standard in many European countries... most recently I was in Greece, and I don't think a single restaurant had gratuitous bread.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I personally tell them I dont want the bread, but I dont mind them charging if you do, it would drive the regular menu items prices down.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 8 years
I would appreciate this, because it would stop me from eating too much bread before the meal! I'm from Germany, and they hardly ever serve anything for free at restaurants (no popcorn, bread or anything). The worst thing is, not only can you not get free refills, you can't even get tap water for free.. they will charge you for it, or tell you you can't have it, because it's not on the menu, and then bring you evian.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Food Food 8 years
@buzzsugar: I agree! In case any of you were still wondering, the $8 bread is at Momofuku Ssäm, where David Chang offers a baguette with two butters: sea-salt butter from Vermont and St. Helen’s Farm goat's butter from the UK. Apparently it was so good that the NYT's Frank Bruni called it out in his review of the restaurant.
SATClover SATClover 8 years
There is a restaurant where I live where you have to pay for the bread and it is worth it because of the quality (it's a tapas restaurant) and of course they serve it with olive oil. oneprettything: My boyfriend and I just recently tried out a new "gourmet" Mexican restaurant nearby and they also charged us for chips and salsa which I hadn't seen before.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
no - i don't think that i should have to pay for bread at a restaurant. it's not something that i would typically order, so therefore it shouldn't be something that i have an additional charge for . there are places that i've gone to that have a special bread that they put on the menu for a fee - but that's entirely different.
oneprettything oneprettything 8 years
Even our fav Mexican place charges for chips and salsa now!
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 8 years
If the restaurant is known for its good bread that is free, I think it should stay free. Other than that, I don't expect bread and if I want it, I'll pay for it. I agree that $8 for bread is a bit much.
chiefdishwasher chiefdishwasher 8 years
Where I live in northern Cal, restaurants are closing every week because of the economy. I think they should charge for good quality bread and oil. They could also save (if they do not charge for bread) by asking the customer if they want the bread. I rarely eat it so I will usually tell my servers not to bring it.
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