You’ve heard it before. You go to a buffet, and someone always tells you what you need to eat “to get your money’s worth.” On the flip side, there are always some foods you are advised not to eat at buffets because they are cheap and fill you up fast.
Ever notice that the “specialties” at restaurants are also the most expensive dishes? The restaurants push these dishes because they make the most profit margin from them. These are typically things like drinks, desserts, or premium items.
I would like to see an app that would quickly tell me how much profit margin a restaurant is making for a particular dish. Knowing this information would help in making right decisions for how “to get your money’s worth.”
For example, here are some typical restaurant profit margins:
fountain soda: 2,000%
baked potato: 900%
broiled salmon dinner: 800%
Ribeye steak dinner: 200%
Costco rotisserie chicken: -10%
…wait, what? Yes, Costco actually loses money for each rotisserie chicken they sell. Costco rotisserie chicken is called a “loss leader”. It is something the restaurant sells just to draw customers in, hoping they can sell something else to the customer while they’re there. A loss leader will typically break even for a restaurant, though it might also make a small profit or even a small loss with each sale.
My proposed app would identify the loss leaders so you can find the best bargains while eating out. Conversely, it would also help you avoid getting suckered into buying a potato for ten times what you could buy it at the grocery store for.
Do you know of a good way to find restaurant profit margins? Let me know in the comments.