When Bread Costs Dough

Here’s a depressing downturn trend: restaurants charging customers for bread.

Then again, is that really so bad? As the post on yumsugar suggested, a bread charge might cut down on baked waste. Since health codes require restaurants to toss all remaining bread (and butter!) after it has been served and many folks are off carbs, maybe we need some change.

But, is making people pay really the best way? (I always assumed niceties like fresh bread are built into the price of fine dining.) Another idea–and a more economically appealing one for diners–would be to have servers make the rounds with a bread basket, asking customers if they want a slice/roll/ciabatta.

photo by roboppy via Creative CommonsRestaurants could only serve bread to diners who ask for it, similar to what restaurants around here (N.C.) did with water during the drought. Hopefully whichever policy is used is clearly communicated.

Or they could serve less bread automatically and make it commensurate with the number of diners. Even self-proclaimed “bread freaks” admit that restaurant bread can be too abundant.

This topic begs the question: Does an item’s expense affect your determination not to squander it? I know the ubiquitous basket of tortilla chips that precedes many Mexican meals is rarely more than half-eaten, especially when the chips are cardboard-esque.

Does not paying for food make you more likely to waste it? I would say yes, because you value that item less.

The bread fee reminds me of airlines now charging for meals everything edible. I would guess that there’s less wasted airline food since meals stopped being free. Can any airline industry people verify that?

Putting a price on what was long gratis causes an immediate uproar, but folks get used to it. If restaurants truly used the bread charge to keep overall prices down, I think most folks would support the change. Then again, I can see many establishments observing the sea change and, regardless of need, viewing bread as just another revenue source.

Whatever they do, I just hope restaurants don’t use bread as menu holders.

What can you do?

  • If you know nobody at your table will eat the bread, tell the waiter that before they bring the basket.
  • Ask for less bread.
  • Since it will just be thrown out, take the remaining bread home. Maybe it can become French Toast, right Eco-Chef?
This entry was posted in Restaurant. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.