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Cheaper Priced Portions Taste Just as Good

This weekend I ate at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Francisco, where the food is predictably good and the menu selection and prices haven't changed in the four years I've been eating there. As I skimmed the menu for the familiar descriptions of my two most loved dishes, I happened to notice that something was different.

Instead of just listing one usual price, two numbers appeared side-by-side under each entree option. My rigatoni melanzane was to cost either $16 or $11, but on all of my previous experiences it was simply $16. The only dishes offered at one price point were the nightly specials, but even the appetizers were available for a lower price. The smaller, cheaper portions are the restaurant's way of adapting to diners who want to eat out but can't afford to pay the old prices, and as an independent business it can be flexible in adapting to the economic climate. I think it's a fantastic solution to keep the business alive — there may be a new pricing scheme, but as always, every table was full.

Have you seen this concept in any of the restaurants you've been to lately?


Join The Conversation
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i've never heard of this - but i guess it's kind of like asking if you want the lunch or dinner portion right? i think that it's a great way to do business, but the downside is that it might take off way too much and people will only order the lower cost version and you'll have to cut the menu back.
sundrops sundrops 8 years
No but I love this!! My husband or my close girlfriends and I always split meals any way but this would be nice when I go out with groups and don't have anybody to split with.
katie171 katie171 8 years
I too wish restaurants would do this on a regular basis. As a student it would be nice to be able to pay less and I often can't eat everything I get because like others have said, the portion sizes are too big!
Witchy-Ways Witchy-Ways 8 years
I would love for restaurants in my city to start that, unfortunately I have yet to see this idea anywhere on a menu (well, although there have always been "small portion" options in many restaurants). I do done out a lot less when money's tight.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
I think that portions could definitely be made smaller, though I love what the restuarant you dined at Savvy, has done. It wasn't until I moved to Europe that I realized just how big the portion sizes are in the States ... and often not much tastier. I prefer the portion size here. Whenever I go back to the States to eat out, I ask that half my food is put into take-away container (well, depending on the restaurant) so I don't inadvertently overeat. Yuck. I hate that feeling. :sick:
teperry3 teperry3 8 years
This is true. I splurged on sushi tonight with my family, my dad is pretty good friends with one of the owners, who is also the main chef, he went on and on about how this sushi bistro, which is always packed, was empty after the crash, but they have put together lunch and dinner combos to-go to help bring the customers back.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
I'm with Syako on this, I hate that overly full feeling, but enjoy eating out. Most restaurant portion sizes in the USA are so over the top! Compared to Britain anyway its not even in the same league....sometimes I would say its as much as double the food. While you don't have to "eat it all", it also seems so wasteful, especially in this day and age. (The food waste nowadays, as well as the rampant problem with nutrition and weight would send my grandfather spinning. He went through the depression and saw food for what it was - nourishment.) I have seen this a couple of times, but not often, and I think its a good thing. One trick I do though, and always have, is if I am feeling peckish and not full, I usually will order a starter (appetizer) and maybe soup instead, but this works better in European/UK restaurants where an appetizer is for ONE person, not a "sharing platter" type of thing. Not only are they cheaper, but they often have more flavor and zip than the main courses.
refinedharmony refinedharmony 8 years
I wish every restaurant would do this; whenever I see smaller portions offered, I always take advantage.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
i've never seen this, but it's not only great for your bank account, it's also good for your waistline!
psterling psterling 8 years
That's a great idea because restaurant portions are too large anyway.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
i think it's kind of weird. i would rather just have them reduce all their portions and prices. if someone is still hungry they can just order an appetizer.
mlen mlen 8 years
i wish they did this on a regular basis- i don't need it so much because of the economy but just because portions are so out of control! i end up with a togo box 9 out of 10 times, and sometimes that just goes to waste! i'd much rather pay less and get less and not waste it!
Spectra Spectra 8 years
It's a great idea. I don't eat out often, but if I did, I'd like the option to get a smaller portion at a smaller price. Otherwise, you feel like you're wasting your money when you buy a huge plate of food that you know you won't finish.
syako syako 8 years
All I have to say is that this is Genius! Hubby and I haven't been dining out too much, so I have not noticed this, but it could just be because we're not eating out enough to notice! :P Anyway, I'd totally take advantage of this because I always leave restaurants either feeling totally full and bloated or with a huge to go box. I'd rather have a small portion, consume it at the restaurant, have a small bill and go home happy. :)
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
This seems like a good idea. I just read an article that says when the economy goes down and people lose jobs they start to gain weight because they turn to comfort food. This may help those who eat out a lot. They will still get the benefit they feel from eating out without the portion sizes.
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