Portion Distortion

About a year ago, T.G.I. Friday’s launched their “Right Portion, Right Price” menu, which I applauded. Other restaurants are finally following suit.

In a rare bit of positive recession news, cheaper, smaller portions are on offer at many chains, including–drum roll, please–The Cheesecake Factory.

photo by yatenkaiouh via creative commonsThe purveyor of waste-inducing portions recently started offering smaller plates priced from $3.95 to $6.50. I was all set to offer some praise until I read this quote from Cheesecake’s marketing chief:

“It’s a great value for folks who may not have as much money to dine out as they used to,” said Mark Mears. “At the Cheesecake Factory, we don’t really do anything small, so the portion sizes are actually pretty generous.”


Meanwhile, Chipotle now has a “Low-Roller Menu.” It’s not the most flattering phrasing for something as normal as ordering a reasonably-sized meal. But if frugal really is chic, than I guess customers won’t mind. We shall see.

Naturally, these tweaks are all about business, not cutting waste. But hopefully the latter will be an unintended consequence. Hey, something positive has to come out of this recession. And if it’s smaller portions at restaurants, well…that’s a start.

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