June 02, 2006

Please don't ambush my servers at the kitchen door.

I am always trying to talk my clients out of having so many options on their buffet or cocktail party menus.

If there are 5 options, most people will try all 5.
If there are 7 options, most people will try all 7.
If there are 9 options, most people will try all 9.
I'd bet if there were 18 options, most people would try to eat all 18.

It's human nature, I suppose, to want to taste everything... and still, when people find what they like, they will keep eating it. (they even pace outside the kitchen doors to ambush my servers as they exit.) Then towards the end of the party, guests sometimes come back in the kitchen and say, "I really loved the ___ will you be sending more of that out?" and although I'm flattered, I have to think to myself, you've been eating for the last 2 hours, you can't still be hungry!

Has anyone eaten at Sizzler lately? How could anyone think that the 5 oz grilled chicken breast PLUS a 6 oz sirloin PLUS a half dozen shrimp, each accopmanied by their own specially coordinated carbohydrate and vegegable should be consumed in one meal? Would be a healthier choice than the 16 oz porterhouse? It might, because it would be more likely that you would only eat half of it.

I went to Violet last night, and shared five small plates with my husband. A glass of champagne each, and the total came to about $60. It was nice to have the variety, but it was really nice that everything was served in small portions...because it was delicious and I could have easily eaten more of any of the selections if it was already on the plate.

I wonder if Sizzler sold stuff as a small plates restaurant if they'd have any measure of success. Nah, forget it. Nobody goes for the lettuce, celery and cherry tomatoes at the salad bar, they load up on cheese, olives and bacon bits, covered in blue cheese dressing.

Which, by the way, are delicious.

Report: Restaurants should shrink portions - Yahoo! News: "'If companies don't tell them, people have no way of knowing how many calories they are being served at restaurants. And chances are, they are being served a lot more than they realize'"


  1. And people wonder why America has an obesity problem. DUH

    ps, I get back in LA June 12th. Wanna do another food shoot?

  2. There are many restaurants that could or should have smaller portions for some things. For example, six shrimp isn't too many shrimp. I mean, if you take small bites, it's only 12 bites. The reason portions are so large is two-fold; because customers demand it and they have to compete with the chain restaurant across the street that sells a 24 ounce select porterhouse for $12.50. Believe it or not, many customers can't tell the difference. Another thing customers don't like is when a restaurant goes against the tide and makes portions smaller yet the prices stay the same-- or even go up! They really hate that one! Besides, people just LOVE "doggie bags" because they feel they are getting two meals for the price of one.

  3. Kath, I'll be on vacation... maybe later, if we can synch our schedules again.

    Cali, six shrimp isn't too many, but with both chicken and steak on the plate, it's too much. Also, to address your other point, I went to a restaurater's conference in Las Vegas, and the guy putting on the conference said that one of the best ways to save money on food costs was to just put less food on the plate. So if you used to serve 6 shrimp, serve only 5 and you'll make an extra dinner's profit with the same amount of food. Shady and insidious, if you ask me. BTW--I don't have a problem with doggie bags! I'm an advocate of cutting whatever you're served in half and taking the second half home.... but sometimes it's not feasable and sometimes it's not practical. but most of the time, I think, people just clean their plates because the food's there, and they just eat it.

    Thanks for the comments, girls!


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