15 Gross Things Restaurants Do to Save Money

Piecing together a frugal ice cream sundae in the movie "Waiting"

Piecing together a frugal ice cream sundae in the movie Waiting | Lionsgate

When most people go out to eat, they expect an establishment to prepare their food in a manner that’s representative of the restaurant’s reputation and price point. If you pay $20 or $30 for a meal, you probably expect it to be prepared carefully and with quality ingredients, whereas if you pay three bucks for a meal, you might expect a few shortcuts here and there. But, at the end of the day, even if restaurants microwave nacho cheese sauce or prepare a few ingredients in advance, the meal should still be delicious (and safe) — no matter how much it costs.

But if you have any experience working in the restaurant business, you know restaurants — as profit-generating businesses — place a great deal of effort into reducing their costs. And, some of these cost reduction tactics are not exactly, well, appetizing to say the least.

Using a publication by The Guardian, our own personal experiences, and information we gathered from current restaurant workers, we’ve created a list of things some restaurants do to save money that they would never advertise on their menus. And it all starts with the ketchup.

1. Combine ketchup bottles

ketchup and fries

Ketchup | iStock.com

It might not be much of a shock, but businesses don’t like to be wasteful. That means combining what’s left in all of those ketchup bottles into one. A lot of people wonder whether marrying ketchup is against health codes. The answer to that question is, “It depends.” According to California’s health code, “Condiments shall be protected from contamination by being kept in dispensers that are designed to provide protection, protected food displays provided with the proper utensils, original containers designed for dispensing, or individual packages or portions.” But codes vary across locations, and different restaurants have different methods of marrying ketchup — some more sanitary than others.

Next: Is your food actually fresh off the grill?

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