13+ Things You Shouldn’t Eat at a Restaurant

We surveyed dozens of people in the restaurant biz on what they never, ever touch, whether its to avoid outrageous markup, food poisoning, or germ minefields. Watch for these offenders.

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Iceberg lettuce

Iceberg lettuceJuanmonino
The iceberg wedge salad is one of the industry’s biggest rip-offs. Take into account that iceberg lettuce is about 98 percent water, and it’s easy to see why. “It's marked up at least 20 times,” says Peter Chastain, executive chef and owner of California’s Prima Ristorante. Plus, germs can hide inside lettuce’s cracks, corners, and edges. “You think lemons in water are dirty? The salads are filthy,” Cannon says. Even if restaurants do decide to wash their greens, the lettuce is often served soggy, which is big red flag—standing water mixed with lukewarm, mayo-based dressing is a disaster waiting to happen.


You might think best-selling items have high turnover. But to keep up with demand, fast-food restaurants and some other places pre-make their top sellers, which gives these wrapped and bagged choices plenty of time to develop food-borne illnesses. Instead, opt for the less popular options which are more likely to be prepared to order, says Howard Cannon, CEO of Restaurant Expert Witness and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting A Restaurant, who adds, “Anything sitting in holding, covered with mayonnaise, is probably not that great."

Tap water

Tap wateriStock/MilosStankovic
"One of the most dangerous items in a restaurant is water,” Cannon says, although anything that sits between 40 degrees to 140 degrees for more than a short time has a high potential to harbor bacteria. If your table is already set with a carafe of water, or you're handed anything warmer than ice-cold, ask for a new glass.

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Free bar snacks

Free bar snacksiStock/mediaphotos
Since these nuts, pretzels, and other munchies are free of charge, restaurants and bars often don’t set out a fresh serving for each new customer. It's like eating out of a stranger's hand! Then at closing time they're dumped back into a container, to be re-poured into dishes the next day.

Meat with the bone in

Meat with the bone iniStock/Lisovskaya
Small cuts of meat, like bone-in pork or chicken breasts, are harder to cook thoroughly because their outsides easily char. This often translates to crispy on the outside and raw on the inside. Unlike undercooked beef—say, a rare burger or a steak tartare—undercooked pork and chicken are highly dangerous and could causes food-borne illnesses, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, bone-in means less meat.

Sauced-up specials

Sauced-up specialsiStock/jatrax
To avoid running out of ingredients during the dinner rush, restaurants often order more food than they need. At the end of the day, surplus ingredients that haven't expired can turn into tomorrow’s specials, disguised with sauce. “Watch out for an expensive item used in a way that's minimizing its flavor,” says Stephen Zagor, founder of consulting firm Hospitality & Culinary Resources, in Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney. Be wary of meat that's been cut, braised, and disguised in a pasta, stew, or soup dish.

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DIY grilling

DIY grillingiStock/Electra-K-Vasileiadou
Restaurants with a built-in-grill dining table sound like fun. But: “Braised food from a steam table is fraught with peril—sneezing customers, improper cooking,” says Chastain. One Korean BBQ joint in Las Vegas shut down after earning an astoundingly disgusting 53 demerits from the Southern Nevada Health District. Leave the cooking to the chefs.


First, there's often more filler than meat, but restaurants think if they drown the dish in enough sauce and seasoning, you won't notice. To help sell it further, many menus use descriptive words like “homemade,” “home-cooked,” “home-style,” or worst of all, “Mom’s.” Don’t insult your mama! Order a burger or a steak.

"From-there" seafood

"From-there" seafoodiStock/cpjanes
Unless the joint is known for its seafood, there’s no guarantee you're going to get what's on the menu. “About 70 percent of the time, for example, those Maryland crab cakes weren't made using crabs from the Chesapeake Bay,” says James Anderson, chairman of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics at the University of Rhode Island, in Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney. And while the kitchen might swap snapper for a cheaper tilapia, many times the distributors do a bait and switch, too.

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“Gourmet” Burgers

“Gourmet” BurgersiStock/ehaurylik
By working in one expensive ingredient in small batches (see: truffle oil, fois gras), many customers are cheated into believing they’re getting a taste of highbrow fare for a relatively low price. Beware: Most commercial truffle oils are created by mixing olive oil with a lab-produced chemical. Zagat ranked truffle oil as one of the eight most overrated ingredients, comparing the oil to trendy fashion labels: "it’s obnoxious, overpriced, and made with cheap material."

Ice cream

Ice creamiStock/MmeEmil
Unless it’s exotic or made in-house, it’s not worth your time, money, or caloric intake. “The idea of dropping big dollars in a restaurant to pay for the same brand I can get from the local grocery doesn’t make me want any,” says Mark Ladisky, senior operations consultant for Synergy Restaurant Consultants.


ChickeniStock/Robert Ingelhart
He who orders chicken is, in terms of ordering outside the box, a chicken. “There is typically nothing unique about the preparation that is worth my attention on the menu,” says Ladisky. It's also cheap meat that gets marked up substantially. Be bolder.

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Pizza is a gold mine for restaurants: cheap ingredients and big mark-ups. So buying pizza from a restaurant that isn’t dedicated to doing it right is a waste of money and tomatoes, according to Ladisky. “I can’t recommend throwing money away on a slightly upgraded freezer-section pizza baked in a toaster oven,” he says. One New York City pizzeria spends $3.64 on ingredients for a margherita pizza and sells it for $10—that's a 300 percent markup.


Though it might be the cheapest appetizer on the menu, it’s never worth as much as it costs. A giant 12-oz. steamable bag of edamame at the grocery store will run you the same price on average, if not cheaper. And all that goes into preparing edamame is a little heating up.

Bread baskets

Bread basketsiStock/freemixer
A basket of bread is a restaurant standby—and more importantly, a complimentary restaurant standby. Don’t be duped into doling out a few bucks, even if it's artisan-quality.

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221 thoughts on “13+ Things You Shouldn’t Eat at a Restaurant

  1. Don’t order chicken? What if you LIKE chicken? I’d rather order chicken than an undercooked steak or burger (anything with PINK) since it can make you ill if not handled correctly. I never order red meat in a restaurant. And as for ice cream, it is usually the cheapest dessert option, so what’s the big deal?

  2. When I crave a Big Mac I always order it without the sauce cuz they have to give me a freshly made one then I ask for a cup of the sauce when I pick up my food.. I do this (get my order altered) whenever I eat fast food.

  3. the part about the meatloaf is downright accurate, my dad often travels for work and has brought back horror tales about restaurant meatloaf from everywhere, it’s always either over seasoned, under seasoned, covered in a very odd sauce, or worst of all, raw in the middle (curse you Plains Art Museum).

  4. Comparing a frozen pizza to a good restaurant pizza is ridiculous. I have tried every frozen pizza with the idea of saving some money and I have yet to have a good one. They all taste frozen and stale to me. I’d rather do without than buy another frozen pizza. The truth, too, is, if you eat out it’s because you can’t, don’t want to cook at home!!!

  5. So they could have just titled the article Don’t go out for dinner, just stay home…

  6. I enjoy wedge salads, I know I pay more. The possibility of germs are every where. We take a risk every time we eat out but the statistics of food poisoning is low.

  7. I don’t know where in the hell this person is getting $10 pizzas (or other cheap foods, for that matter) but if I only spent $10 on a pizza, I wouldn’t expect it to taste any better than Cici’s or Little Caesars. Around these parts you’re going to shell out $25-$30 for a large pie!

  8. LOL This article should be re-titled to just “You Shouldn’t Eat at a Restaurant”.

  9. Why don’t they just say do not eat out.
    What is left to eat after going through this list???

  10. OK, I am a former restaurant owner that did a lot of the cooking and kitchen management early on. What a load of crap. Just because the actual cost of the food for a restaurant is low, does not mean that the item being purchased (like Pizza) is not worth what is charged. The very fact that the item is cooked for you, served to you in a building that has overhead costs and liabilities, people just don’t get get the costs involved in running a restaurant. And YES I washed all the lemons, limes and oranges that were sliced up for drinks, The salads were washed thoroughly and NO Wedges were served because they could not be washed. Good chicken takes as much effort to prepare as a steak. A decent stew takes as much effort to prepare ad a good soup, maybe more. Just because some things are made ahead (or components thereof) does not mean they are saturated in bacteria. Jeez, This article bashes almost everything in any restaurant. If a good restaurant has been in business for a while, odds are they have not killed anyone. and as far as cost, you know that going in, and if the menu prices are too high, you can leave. You choose to eat in whatever restaurant you choose, High priced, or low, it is your choice. I have even worked fast food and I tell you the quality of the food was excellent and rigorously tested and monitored throughout the day. Yes there some folks out there trying to make a buck at the expense of the customer, but they are not in business for long. Repeat business, and word of mouth are the only advertising I ever did. If you see a TV ad for restaurant that is not new or a “grand opening”…. there is a reason. When I go into a restaurant, order a draft beer, and a burger or pizza, I KNOW that this will cost me more than a frozen pizza and a canned beer in front of the tube (well, flat screen now-a-days) at home. It is my choice.

  11. Eff you…this is the most retarded list of non-worrrisome foods I’ve ever seen. Get over it you stupid cun7$.

  12. Eating out is about eating what you feel like at that moment if it is worth the price to get it prepared for you when you want it – if you want to consider margins, eat at home.

  13. This article is the same as thousands of others, penned at the expense of “restaurant goers”. After 25 years in F&B, I can unequivocally say, “BULL!”. Some of this is partially correct, in that we strive to give refreshing tasty meals at a price those who frequent our rooms can afford. We often prep volume and cool it safely for consumption later.
    We are so tired of listening to this stuff. Leave it alone. We look after our food and customers very well. Our future depends on doing so.

  14. This whole article just seems petty and alarmist. Reusing cuts of meat into a stew or stock to be used for the next day is just good business practice. As for the water and meatloaf items, it’s absurd. Never heard of a meat loaf without either bread crumbs or egg, which is by definition, filler.

  15. Not too good with arithmetic, either. $10 sell price/$3.64 ingredients is 174% markup, not 300%.

  16. All of you who are worried about the markup need to stay home and stop eating out so much. Problem solved. Plus you can clean your own lettuce, etc. Oh wait, someone else is doing the work!

  17. At a $3.64 food cost for a $10 pizza, he’s losing money. Food cost is 1/3, labor 1/3, gross profit, 1/3. I know, I own a restaurant. Out of the gross profit comes lights, rent, taxes, other utilities, licenses, etc. Who ever wrote this is a nitwit.

  18. Are these the same folks who have jeopardized the health of generations by putting anti-bacterial chemicals in so many things? And telling people that their houses are substandard and the health and lives of their families is at risk if there is not antibacterial soap and tissues and detergents and wipes, and automatic hand soap dispensers everywhere? Jeez! How did the human race survive at all?

  19. actually that 300% markup is just right… food cost should be around 33-35% Bogus article…

  20. holy cow what is acceptable to order then? you guys just dumped on pretty much anything you will see on a nmenu

  21. Good thing I don’t listen to what people try to instruct people to eat/what not to eat, what to wear/what not to wear. After the dummy who wrote this article, they 86’ed everything but bottled water. Don’t take orders from an obvious control-hungry sissy.

  22. I guess this was written for people who go to crap restaurants like TGIF, Chiles and applebees.

  23. I guess no traveling to any third would country for this germaphobe writer… I’m picturing someone who’s cheap and a real kill- joy

  24. In other words, order nothing at a restaurant.
    what a load of crap article/list.

  25. I got Scromboid from the Mahi Mahi at the Rusty Scupper in West Orange, NJ back in ’92.

  26. “One New York City pizzeria spends $3.64 on ingredients for a margherita pizza and sells it for $10—that’s a 300 percent markup.”

    if you find a place that is pricing the item at the cost of ingredients, eat fast – it will not be there tomorrow.

    and a whole raft of other idiotic author ideas . . .

    1+ Thing You Should Never Read from Reader’s Digest

  27. This is a horrible article. The author must be cheap, paranoid and a hypochondriac.

  28. As for the pizza markup: sure, it costs $4 to make and it is sold for $10, but if one were to purchase the ingredients in the smallest quantities just to make one pizza, one would spend much more than $4. You can’t just buy 20 grams of shredded tuna or ten slices of pepperoni. So the price actually reflects the willingness to pay for something that you are too lazy or incompetent to do yourself and pay the prices for the respective ingredients… since the sum of these prices would not be much smaller than $10.

    1. Right – when you go to a restaurant, you are paying for the convenience of not having to cook yourself (or clean up for that matter). In *every* financial transaction there is a markup. What I didn’t see is pop, which has zero food value and is marked up about a zillion percent.

  29. THIS ARTICLE IS PURE PC CRAP! They basically say that everything is filthy and dirty and full of germs — all of a sudden it seems like. GET REAL! Iceberg lettuce served with Blue Cheese Dressing is the same stuff and served the same way it has been for decades. Now, all of a sudden, we are trying to protect ourselves from ourselves and everything is bad and you gotta watch it!! ENOUGH ALREADY! No more PC overhyped nonsense.

    1. Maybe it’s been making people sick for decades too. Just because something has always – or for decades – been done the same way doesn’t mean it’s safe.
      Although I agree with you, if we listened to how bad everything is for us we’d never eat.

  30. beer. do not forget beer. one never knows what was in the glass where the beer came from, and you pay 8bucks for a one-dollar treat

  31. This is a stupid,stupid article.
    Who cares what the mark up is on Pizza.
    Should they be sold so cheap they cant keep the doors open?
    But I made the mistake of reading this stupid,stupid article.

  32. I was made quite ill by scallops served at a seafood restaurant on their all-you-can-eat catfish night. My friends who had the catfish were fine. I think sometimes eating what’s on special is a good idea, because those items are more likely fresh. I puked all night and felt awful all the next day. Not something I wish to repeat ever in my life. The spoiled condition of the scallops was covered up by their blackening seasoning. Something else I will not eat again, anything blackened.

  33. Foods spread illness is because of not being prepared properly and the preparer is not cleaning himself properly. Washing hands, cleaning veggies, cutting boards and cooking utensils.

  34. What I get from this is that you should never, under any circumstances, break bread with the author of this slideshow.

  35. Article written by Sheri Alzeerah (fake), probably a penny pinching Indian writing for $20 an article, not used to spending a lot on food outside, if they ever do….these people dont know how to enjoy life except count their pennies.

  36. As a restaurant owner and professional chef for over 35 years I fell qualified to comment on this article- and my comment is that this is a complete load of bull-oney designed to push peoples buttons with misleading half truths and outright bold faces lies! The author of this should be sued! What a malicious load of crap!

  37. ..and then again, if u believe all this MORONS are saying, then DON’T eat at any restaurant !! cook at home and be happy that u know/see what u gonna eat !!

  38. “Maryland crab cakes” are a style, not meaning made with Maryland crabs. And you can make your own better anyway; we Marylanders use the Old Bay recipe for crab cakes. Simple is what makes them good.

  39. As far as the markup…has the writer ever owned a restaurant? You won’t be able to pay your bills, let alone make a small profit…if you don’t mark it up like that. Um, overhead? product waste?

  40. Some of the things said here are not credible. For example, I have never seen a restaurant charge for bread seriously. The bottom line depends on the quality of the restaurant that you go to. If you go to a mom and pop place that is mid range or lower and constantly struggling I am sure they use these tricks. But they won’t be doing that a high stakes restaurants with big reputations and millions of $$$$ at stake. Just like someone told me, “I worked as a waiter and if a stake fell on the floor we picked it up because we didn’t want to get fired” Yes, because an owner who just spent million dollars opening a restaurant is going to risk their fragile reputation on a $10 stake, think.

  41. What I was qualitatively judging as a joke of an article became quantitative on the pizza slide. The “markup” indicated, (a redneck financial metric in itself), is 200%, not 300%. Further, this is the rule of thumb food cost as a percentage of revenue for the food industry!

  42. you are always taking a chance eating out & eating ANYTHING on the menu. it all depends on the quality of the kitchen staff.

  43. In other words, don’t go out to eat. Or, if you do, examine everything before they make it.

  44. Tap water is chlorinated. It is, by intent, designed to be drank after sitting in place for long times.

  45. This story is one reason why I don’t subscribe to R.D. anymore. Stupid

  46. Boy what a grouch, we might as well stay home, you don’t like anything do you ? The reason we all have an immune system is so we can handle all these minor threats. As far as meat loaf goes having all that filling and spices is what makes it taste good. You can have your boring steak.

  47. We all have trace amounts of e-coli in our digestive tract. That is why we are suppose to wash our hands, so when people do not, they spread it to whatever they touch. Especially food workers. I believe that even if the law was that they had to wear gloves, they still take their dirty hands to put on the gloves, so it is still getting on the gloves.

  48. So….just walk in the restaurant, don’t order the special, bread, water, chicken, salad, bone in meat, or pizza, just stay home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. According to this there is NOTHING good about eating out. Every single food group was hit.

  50. This article was apparently intended to generate traffic for all the ads that pop up, and it’s doing an admirable job.

  51. Read Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential.” It’s a very good read. It might help you become more restaurant savvy.

  52. I havent seen this much fear mongering since the last time i saw fox news

  53. this author obviously does not like restaurants, period. he is an idiot. Sure the food is cheaper at the grocery store–and it isn’t cooked, served, seasoned. And there is no view or atmosphere. and you have to do the dishes. Restaurants serve entertainment, atmosphere, service, fun, excitement–and food is there, too.

  54. Oh my God!!! We’re all going to die, but first we’re going to get ripped off!

  55. This is the dumbest article I’ve ever read. Yes. I know that I can get food – any food – cheaper if I cook it myself, but sometimes it’s worth it to me to pay someone else to cook it for me and just enjoy the company of friends and family.

  56. How dare restaurants make a profit! How dare they! That aside, the germaphobe who wrote this needs to get some professional help.

  57. Useless article. What else you don’t recommend? Don’t breathe inside the restaurant because the air is full of fumes and carcinogenic substances? What a piece of s__t!

  58. Some of the comments by the author are valid; however, things like ingredients cost $3.64 and they sell the pizza for $10 is ludicrous. Where does the author think the money comes from to pay for the facilities, utilities and pay the employees. Duh!!

  59. Geez. If I actually paid attention to this article I’d not eat anything even if I did go to a restaurant. Reminds me of “don’t eat this – eat that” articles that vilify anything that’s even slightly flavorful.

  60. Pork was added to the “okay to eat at medium/medium rare” list last year, so bone-in-chops can come off this list. Since the list seems to be more about those items with huge markups, remove the bone-in entry and add pasta dishes.

  61. Bone-in meat: FYI: bone-in meat is always juicier and more flavorful than a boneless cut. Per the USDA, the minimum safe temp for pork is 145 F. That’s medium-rare to medium in my book. Simple solution to the author’s main complaint – If your meat is served charred on the outside and raw in the middle – send it back!

  62. With bar snacks keep in mind not everyone washing their hands after using the rest room and then they sit down next to you and handle the same nuts you’re handling.

    1. It’s been years since someone else handled ….

      …oh never mind…

  63. So we shouldn’t eat chicken, hamburgers, pizza, bread, seafood, saucy meals or meat with the bone in…. Why should we even go to a restaurant then

  64. The person that wrote this article seems more interested in spending less money as possible! You are eating out, paying for the food, ambience and service. You could tell you never worked in a restaurant neither frequented nice one as you would see most restaurateurs take pride and would not put the health of guests at risk. I work in Uk and from the complimentary bread to the special covered in sauces food is fresh and never given to make it look expensive. What to eat in a restaurant? Food you can’t cook yourself at home or don’t have availability to! And mostly, if you are dining in company how much meat percentage your meatloaf contains is the last thing you should be concerned!

  65. Germophobes… just because you’re BBQing doesn’t mean you’ll be dying from disease each time you do it.

  66. This is the type of customer that every chef, waitress, and restaurant owner wishes would just stay at home. I mean.. they’re bound to complain no matter what you give them.. so why not just eat at home? :l

  67. How about you save us some time and PUT IT ALL ON ONE GODDAMN PAGE?!

  68. I would add spaghetti, in most restaurants. It’s been my experience that the very bottom of the spaghetti in the plate or bowl is watery, meaning the spaghetti was not properly drained. And sometimes, if the water is tasted, it seems like dishwater!

    1. It’s not necessarily true that the pasta wasn’t fully drained (a good pasta uses some of the cooking water to finish the dish once it’s sauced) but more often that the sauce itself had too much liquid in it.

  69. Having read this article, I would respectfully point out that Reader’s Digest needs to SERIOUSLY teach some of their writers how to write … or else get on their editors for publishing this dross.

    If any restaurant were to serve as this author seems to think they should, you wouldn’t be able to get a burger from the McPlace for less than $10. As some others have already mentioned here, the markups you might see between food cost and menu price do NOT go into the owner’s pocket. Most restaurants try to have a food cost margin of 25-30% of their operating budget. This budget includes paying their employees, paying utilities, taxes, permits, franchise fees if applicable, advertising, supplies AND the food itself.

    This is part of why food safety is so paramount in restaurants. If you have left over fried chicken at the end of a workday, so long as it has been kept in safe temps, it can be skinned, de-boned and cut up for use in other dishes like chicken and noodles. I could give other examples, but I think one gives you the idea. Dishes like meatloaf? Who DOESN’T put breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs or panko into their meatloaf? You don’t want meatloaf to be dense like a cut of beef, its SUPPOSED to be lighter. This is how families can take one pound of beef and make enough to feed a whole family (and have leftovers for sandwiches the next day!)

  70. Where are these people eating??? Not only are there outrageous and blatant inaccuracies in this article (less meat on a bone-in portion?) Clearly the writer does not have a background in food preparation, but one in fear mongering and paranoia. There are simply far too many misguided interpretations into what the industry professionals consulted were trying to convey, to begin to refute. Even the accuracies are conveyed inaccurately! (truffle oil) Articles like this one are poisonous to local businesses and should be fact checked – or better yet – authored by someone with an understanding of the subject matter. To anyone with a hankering for a wedge salad – go ahead and order one. The $6-$8 it will cost you to satisfy the craving is far less expensive than the 2 hours it will take you to shop for, prepare, and clean up. Don’t get me started on the blanket statement “don’t order chicken”. That’s just the absolute dumbest thing on here. If you feel like the chicken – and you are eating in an establishment that hires people who know how to cook food properly, then order the chicken. The best advice I can give you is to care about what you put into your body, and eat intelligently. Consult online restaurant review sites at the very least and dine out in your neighborhood. Eat locally, avoiding chain restaurants to which this article dimly seems to refer. That is not food anyway. It’s sugar and salt and fat, processed into food-like substances aided by a little food dye and protein glue. Chain restaurants are designed to satisfy your tongue and to make you feel full. There’s too much crap to navigate through to find the food on their menus anyway. Please spend your dollars on the chef down the street who is working 18 hr days, has solid reviews and clean restrooms. Let the money you plunk down for that wedge salad put his or her kid through college, and lastly avoid at all costs – retaining anything you read in the article to which I am referring, except the thing about the bar nuts. The thing about the bar nuts is true.

  71. i worked as a chef for 20 yrs & almost everyday i pissed ,shit,spit & even wacked off on peoples food,,esp ladies :)

  72. “One New York City pizzeria spends $3.64 on ingredients for a margherita pizza and sells it for $10—that’s a 300 percent markup.”
    No, that’s a 200% markup.  3.64 + (2.0)(3.64) = 10.92

    This is a common error.

  73. so basically, don’t eat anything served in a restaurant. got it.

    if you’re seriously going to get out your calculator at the dinner table and complain about the markup, stay home.

  74. Is there any thing left to eat. Others are so right there is much more than just the cost of the food.

  75.   Meatloaf is always stretched with ‘filler’, especially homemade, as rich people don’t eat meatloaf to begin with…

  76. Completely disagree on chicken.  Firehouse in Portland makes a thyme-scented roast chicken that kicks the arse out of anything I’ve ever made at home.

  77. This was
    truly written by amateurs.
    markup is 300%. That’s normal and necessary. Labor can be 30% also, the rest
    goes to overhead with an average of 3 – 7% profit.

  78.  Journalists can’t do math: “One New York City pizzeria spends $3.64 on ingredients for a margherita pizza and sells it for $10—that’s a 300 percent markup.”No, it’s not. A 100 percent markup would be $7.28. A 200 percent markup would be $1… 0.93. A 300 percent markup would be $14.57. “Double” is 100 percent, “triple” is 200 percent, “quadruple” is 300 percent, etc. Why people still make this mistake and THEN ARGUE ABOUT IT is beyond me.

  79. 13 things spread out over 22 pages? Really? Can’t you fit anymore text on one page? If you try hard enough, you could probably squeeze in some more advertising. WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!!!

  80. 13 things spread out over 22 pages? Really? Can’t you fit anymore text on one page? If you try hard enough, you could probably squeeze in some more advertising. WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!!!

  81. Seriously, you have too much text on each page. you need to break it down into smaller sizes.

  82. Seriously, you have too much text on each page. you need to break it down into smaller sizes.

  83. Ok. Let me get this straight. Diners should stay away from chicken, burgers, ice-cream,  best sellers, tap water. I have to ask, what’s left to eat? 

  84. This article is useless.  Don’t eat popular items, don’t eat fish, don’t eat meat with bones, don’t eat popular appetizers, don’t eat the salad b/c it costs too much, don’t drink the free water.  Basically it says – don’t eat at a restaurant.  

  85. pork and chicken are grilled for the stripes as is beef, but are finished up in a convection oven to insure quality through and through…. 

  86. Way to just totally bash restaurants.  It’s like you just got consultations until you found someone to say something atrocious and publish it.  What a poor reintroduction to Reader’s Digest for me to come upon… forget you RD!

  87. This entire list is ridiculous and geared towards unenlightened rubes. Tap water is fine, pork or chicken cooked medium is, too. Unpasteurized milk is safe and healthier, Korean restaurants are safe, etc. etc. etc. Only a mindless sheep is going to pay heed to this drivel.

  88. Beef rare is OK?????? 
    Steaks TRUE!!!!
    Hamburger NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

    THIS CAN KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  89. Next article should be something like…. why are people such neurotic idiots…. or the dangers of germophobia.

  90. this is one of the stupidest articles I have ever read. please, everybody, do not listen to a word this says. It’s just a fear-mongering scare tactic for hits. You can eat chicken, and tap water, it’s okay. You’re an adult, you don’t need Reader’s Digest to tell you how to live your life.

  91. Don’t eat bone-in meat. Every hear of a rib-eye or T-bone. These are some of the most flavorful cuts partially because they are on the bone! If a restaurant can’t cook it right, don’t eat it. But not to order because of the bone is absurd.
    What’s left on your list to eat and enjoy?

  92. Is the entire point of this article that you shouldn’t order things at a restaurant because they’d be better or cheaper if you just made them at home, or got them at a grocery store?  I wonder if you thought you were going to grow up to be a real journalist, or if this is just a paycheck to you. Try again, Sheri. 

  93. A former server at an up-scale Portland OR restaurant (long out of business) once told me they were under strick orders to:  put unused butter pats back in the cooler; used ones to the kitchen to be melted and used in cooking.  Uneaten dinner rolls back in the warmer.  Those are just the two I can remember.  Went there on a school field trip in the fourth grade.  I wonder what pre-served food items we got at that age.

  94. The author of this piece of fluff should just eat at home. Water! Really?? What a joke. As long as you get a clean glass to begin with you’ll be fine.

  95. your reporter is a compete moron. why don’t you just name everything! how did this ever get past an editor!

  96. Meat with a bone in it has the most flavor. Most chains char the hell out of meat anyway. So, it’s not like you’re getting a perfectly cooked, moist pork chop.

    This is a horrible article. Oh yeah. It’s safe to drink the water in the US, Canada and the UK.

  97. If everyone followed the advice of this silly article full of misinformation, no one would ever go out to eat again.  Absolutely ridiculous.

  98. Well no sauces, I guess  almost all food in New Orleans is out. I grew up in my mother’s Creole Italian restaurant and think this list is BS!

  99. Complete B.S. here. The irresponsibility in misinformation appalling. By each case- #2: 100% wrong. Less popular items will probably contain ingredients that will sit around for a long time before they get used up. #3 Are you freaking kidding me? How stupid is the author? #4: By the logic presented, don’t ever touch a door handle ever again, either. #5: There’s no reasoning behind why a bone will cause a cut of meat to char easily. The bone will, however, wick away heat from the meat adjacent to it, but under-cooked pork is no more a danger than beef (antiquated fears of trichinosis). But, to say never order a drumstick ’cause of a bone?! #6: So completely wrong, don’t know where to start. #7: Some truth here, but no more danger than sitting next to sick person on the subway. #8: There’s no reason even given other than…actually, no reason given. #12: What the hell is wrong with ordering chicken? Chicken is good, and can be prepared is inventive ways. #13 Don’t buy pizza because the restaurant expects you to PAY for it. #14: Don’t buy edamame because the restaurant expects you to PAY for it. Fire this author.

  100. This was the lamest food article I’ve read in years.  Spreading fear based on wacky opinions taken out of context does not constitute journalism, even by Rupert Murdoch’s subterranean standards.  Thanks so much for insulting your readers’ intelligence.

  101. Actually, that’s a 36.4% food cost, which puts you out of business.  You are an idiot, Sheri Alzeera.  Most restaurants spend 80% or more of whatever revenue they bring in before even thinking about overhead costs.  You know, things like rent and utilities.  When are you people ever going to realize you are paying for a service and atmosphere much more than the product itself?  Please shut the F up and either choose to support a business because you enjoy it’s product, or do us all a favor and stay home.  Without that “300%” mark-up, as you so ignorantly call it with complete disregard to the people and facilites which prepare it for you, you would be stuck at home every night anyway because there would be no restaurants to eat at.

  102. ““Braised food from a steam table is fraught with peril—sneezing customers, improper cooking,” says Chastain.”

    These places exist in large numbers in Japan. I lived there for about 5 years during the 90’s and ate at many of them. Not once did anyone in my group (of about 50 technicians who do theme park FX) get ill from undercooked food. Even if we did, In Japan it would have been considered our fault, not the business.

    Funny thing is that in many countries you can’t sue for being stupid like you can here in the States. Japan feels that its citizens need to be responsible and intelligent enough to carry out basic functions (like cooking, watching where you walk, knowing that coffee is a hot beverage, etc,) without filing stupid lawsuits.

    This is probably the only thing I have in common with the GOP. We need to do away with the “Litigation Lottery” that allows far too many people to get sizable portions of cash for being morons.

  103. For middle and low end (chain style) restaurants I’ve consistently heard that all salads are problematic, particularly coming off of a salad bars! I don’t think the kind of lettuce matters!  Think how carefully a person has to wash their own produce at home.  Now imagine the food staff being AS detailed, with bulk produce, especially when rushed!  I’d avoid requesting tap water in a glass; as the glasses might have come out of the dishwasher with residue.  A chilled pitcher with a side of lemons is cleaner than than to be tossing pieces into a glass with unwashed fingers.  Anything that’s sat under a warming lamp isn’t optimal.  Especially seafood, and rare meat!  Condiments can easily spoil as they’ve already been sitting outside of the fridge for continual use.  For take-out I watch (or calculate the time) from when the order is placed, to receiving it. A delay… means it isn’t as tasty….  I find a polite reason (+$ tip) for them to re-do the order!   They will naturally speed it up, good naturedly, the second time.  But you NEVER, ever want to alienate the wait staff or the kitchen by making them think it’s their fault!!  I’ve also heard that sauces, soups, casseroles etc., represent left over ingredients from previous day menus.  I’d be worried about “bread pudding” too!  One method to circumvent routine procedures, which might be problematic, is to request something “special” about your order.  It will require extra thought, oversight and detail, ideally helping to track that order in particular.  If you think some of these restaurant examples and experiences are an exaggeration, then don’t think too deeply about what the food staff does OR doesn’t do behind the scenes!  Especially during (exceptionally short) rest breaks, checking email, smoking, fixing hair and makeup.  Then take a second look at the store’s restroom … is it spotless, with a clean soap & towel dispenser, clean counter and sink area???  We think the Health Dept. is doing their job …. and  hope for the best restaurant experience possible, expecially for the money …. but people are only human!  And the “24hr flu” isn’t accidental.

    1. Good points all. I think choosing the right kind of restaurant is the most important factor. The really cheap ones are not serving you real food.

  104. Its against health code to re-serve bar snacks, a restaurant would have to be stupid to try and reserve food thats already been served. Where did you guys do  your research, back alley burger shop?

  105. This really is the most inaccurate and ridiculous article i have read here in a long time !!!

  106. Pretty much don’t ever eat out! Stay at home and lock your doors!

    1. YES! YES! And be afraid! Afraid of “GASP” Food Terrorists!
      QUICK! Install scanners in restaurants!

  107. Pizza: $3.64 for ingredients, $10 for the sale price. That mark-up sounds about right for food service.

  108. A pizza that costs 3.64 in ingredients and sells for 10.00 is a bargain, esp. in a full serve restaurant. That equals 36.4% food cost, which most restaurants cannot afford if they want to stay in business.

  109. ENOUGH is ENOUGH Sheri Alzeerah. TOO MUCH of the DO NOT’s. NOW share some positives of what are the BEST  in restaurant dining. PERHAPS NOT dining OUT is the way to go??????
    William A. Klevos, DrPH, MPH,CHES, CNS
    Preventive Health Care Specialist
    International Consumer Advocate

  110. And what exactly does that leave you to eat? Your napkin?? Stupidest article i have read in a long time.

  111. Who writes this junk?  What fool doesn’t understand that it is cheaper to cook food at home than eat at a restaurant?  What household doesn’t have week-old lettuce, tomatoes, bread, and the rest.  What household hasn’t had kids coughing or sneezing or putting their fingers in food everyone else eats?  Water?  We all drink from the same taps.  I’m going to cook dinner right now.  I’ll open a can of soup, heat up yesterday’s pizza, put some Crystal Lite in a jug of warm water and add ice cubes, and throw together a salad from lettuce and stuff my wife bought four days ago.  Not as tasty as a chicken-fried steak at the local restaurant, but it will do for today.  Maybe a cherry turnover we bought last week for desert.  What’s the difference except I’ve got to do all the work?

  112. Wow, worst list ever. It sounds like some really really old guy sat around on his couch and tried to think of random things he was grossed out by at restaurants. Terrible research, terrible logic, terrible list.

  113. I am sick and tired of the food police.  I’m going to go have an iceberg lettuce salad and meatloaf with gravy.

  114. It seems germophobia is the ONLY criterion by which this author decides what to order or not order at a restaurant.  Do not share your dysfunctional side with others.  Share your areas of unique positive excellence that is worthy of being modelled.

  115. Well I read the article published on your website (13+
    Things You Shouldn’t Eat at a Restaurant, By Sheri Alzeerah) and it was the
    worst piece of trash and misinformation I have read in a very long time. In my opinion
    the person that wrote this is a moron. Based on this quality of article I will
    never subscribe to Readers Digest. Basically is says at a restaurant don’t
    drink the water, don’t eat chicken, don’t order Edamame, don’t eat pizza, don’t
    order ice cream, don’t eat meat with the bone in, don’t go to Korean BBQ places
    that let you cook your own food, etc, etc, etc. Based on that my wife and I
    should just stay home and cook our own BBQ food. Oh, wait, braised food from a built-in-grill
    is fraught with peril—sneezing people and improper cooking. I guess my wife and
    I should just quit eating to be safe. What an absolute joke.


  116. I’m only though number 6 and had to comment. The people they spoke to for this article are idiots, not educated professionals. One, Iceberg is as safe as any lettuce and the reason the salad may cost a lot is not the lettuce, it’s the Maytag bleu cheese. Two, it’s the same tap water you drink at home. Three, you can eat pork cooked less than well. THere hasn’t been an outbreak of triginosis in the continental united states in over 50 years. Three, chicken on the bone “dangerous”? Every hear of KFC and Popeyes you idiot! Food cooked on the bone RETAINS moisture better and has more flavor. There,  I’m done

  117. at my resturant the water is tested every 3 months so water is safe,
    bet the persons writing this 13+ does not test the water at the office that often.
    ok you drink bottles water. did you check the ice?

  118. ingredients x 3.2  on a 10 to 15 dollar item is standard.
    unless you want to go belly up, so the point was?
    that is a good deal for that pizza should be $11.65

  119. Oh, please… the restaurant is a business, of course there will be a markup! How else would they pay the place, the décor, the waiters and everything else?

    Either you stay at home and “save” or you go out, demand good sanitary practices and enjoy your dining. 

    What good does it serve to ruin your experience by trying to eat only dishes that have a small markup instead of what you really want?

  120. If you’re going to entitle a feature as “13+ Things You Shouldn’t Eat At A Restaurant”, then continue at least with a list of the remaining 12.  Too often you lead with a Title phrase and wander off into space leaving readers to wonder “What The Heck Happened To The remainder of the Article????

  121. This article was obviously written by a penny pinching germaphobe.  Heaven forbid a restaurant charges more for a meal than the cost of the ingredients. You should eat at home all the time if you feel this way. I guess all restaurants should let us eat at their place for free.

  122. I never eat salads or cold soups in resturants.  I have worked in too many kitchens.  If I do have a salad, I have the dressing on the side to dip each bite into it.  Grit or bugs stay on the salad plate should there be any and given to the floor manager.

  123. I have worked in many fine restraunts.  I never eat salads or cold soups at resturants.  If I must have a salad, I will only eat it if I can have the dressing on the side.

  124. Please do you research CDC has lowered to cooking temperature on pork to 140 degrees vs. chicken at 178. This means undercooked pork is ok to eat.

    1. chicken at 178 I don’t think so. I only buy organic chicken and cook it to 160 and let it rest to rise to 165 and it is always moist and tender, have never gotten sick from cooking my own food, but eating out is another story.

  125. Just so you know, restaurant prices are created using the rule of thirds. Everything is marked up to at least 3 times it’s cost, not just pizza. Who was your ‘source’? That’s just one of many problems with your list.

    1. Take a bottle of Miller Lite.
      24 bottles for $16 (at Sams) = 67 cents each
      Say you pay $2.50 a bottle at the restaurant that’s a $1.83 mark-up
      $1.83/$.67 is a 2.75% mark-up

      But you don’t expect them to give it to you at cost.

  126. Talk about sucking the joy out of everything – you really sit there and calculate the value of ingredients before ordering?  Jeez, who even thinks this way when going to a restaurant?  “Oh, I can’t order that – if I do, I won’t be screwing the place out of enough profit!”  (Never mind that restaurants run on some of the LOWEST profit margins of any business.)

    And why would you sit there and obsess over the tiniest possibility that maybe you might get sick?  Newsflash: THE WHOLE WORLD IS COVERED IN GERMS AND BACTERIA.  Getting paranoid will not save you, and will probably ruin what could have been a nice meal. 

    Get a LIFE already, and stop trying to suck the fun out my day.

    1. Don’t forget the natural immunity in your own body…we are going to become a nation of hypochondriacs is we listen to all the B.S. about food…I agree, fresh veggies and fruits should be rinsed before eating, and perhaps even some of the meat we injest, Our bodies have good and bad bacteria to keep us healthy if we do our part too…

      1. Agreed. Americans have become so paranoid about germs that they won’t even shake hands. I hate going to a fast food joint and the young lady that takes my order “throws” my change back at my hand so she doesn’t have to touch my skin. Where does she think those coins came from? They were handed to her by the last person who paid for their order.

    2. The bottom line there are some fast food places that I go to and some restaurants where I know I’ll most likely be sick the next day. I am not the only one, apparently other patrons kind of take this in stride as well. It could be a number of reasons, maybe they put something in the food that you are reacting to. The bottom line is if it happens once and have that experience don’t go again. There are some places that I wouldn’t eat food from. I wouldn’t go to a dive bar and order food for example. I am also wary of those handheld bar hoses and soda machines because they are chock full of nasty mold because no one ever cleans them

      1. Mary- after reading a few of your comments I have to wonder how you ever muster the courage to leave your home! But wait! There are germs and bacteria possibly even nasty mold in your own home as well! You need to procure a sanitized bubble to live inside and only breath and consume air, food and water that has been irradiated to kill any and all bacteria and germs! But then the radiation will get you!!! Face it Mary- there is just no hope for you!!!

        1. I happen to have a vomit phobia. Look it up, emetophobia.
          I am careful with what I consume in and out of my home. I doubt rinsing lettuce with tepid water kills all the germs. No hope for me either. I do not fear radiation. I worked up on those planes for ten years and had six months of radiation therapy for brain cancer. Not every person is as sturdy as you are, Michael. Sorry.

  127. All I could load was the page 1 about iceberg lettuce.
    Why don’t you put the WHOLE article on continuous pages so I can just read the article without waiting forever for the next page to load….bet most people don’t have the patience or time to click through 16 pages even if it does load quickly.

  128. What an idiotic article. If you are so worried about all possible germs at restaurants, eat at home. No chicken, no meat on the bone, no burgers, etc., etc. I have worked at a number of restauants and I still eat those things. Why Oh Why do I insist on clicking through articles like this? they are always devoid of actual content.

    1. I know! Like wow they use filler in meat loaf?! News flash, that’s what meat loaf is. lol I love the meat loaf at the diner.

  129. Someone needs to brush up on his math.  $10 for an item costing $3.64 is, roughly, a 175% markup.

  130. #9- Your blue crab might be from North Carolina, we export about 90% to Maryland. So please don’t eat, I’ll be able to get it cheaper at home :)

    1. All that’s left is deep fried stuff. I guess the oil is hot enough to kill anything.

  131. As a restaurant (pizzeria) owner, I can say they obviously didn’t do any research at all…there is *nothing* suprising about a “300%” mark-up (based on ingredient price)…that actually means ingredients are roughly 30% of the total price. That’s actually the target goal..30% for ingredients, 30% for labor, 30% for overhead (rent,utilities, insurance, permits, advertising ect) and 10% profit. (if we’re lucky and nothing unexpected eat those profits up-)

    …but boy, implying that we’re overcharging and pocketing “300% profits” sure makes it sound like we’re greedy little jerks, doesn’t it?

    1. Totally stupid article. People don’t go to a restaurant to save money. they go there for the enjoyment of eating out.

    2. Kevin, I wasn’t buying what they said about most of the foods we all get when we go out to eat. Personally, I pay to eat out because the food is so much better than what I can cook at home. Keep on keeping on! I’ll bet your pizza is great :-)

    3. If people pay attention to that, which I do not. If I like a pizza, I honestly don’t care about how much it cost them to make it and what they charge me. I am not ignorant to NOT think about a restaurant’s costs (food, utilities, labor, overhead, etc.) Not trying to defend the author, but it was mentioned that you should not order one in a restaurant that does not specialize in pizza. Pizza places have it the toughest, yet you guys keep going, not seeming to care if you make it rich. If you care about giving great product to make your customers happy, you just do not seem to let it bother you if you are in the red. BRAVO to all of the under appreciated pizza owners out there. I APPRECIATE ALL OF YOU!!!!!

      1. Restaurants in general are a very risky investment. I remember reading something like 30% of all new startups fail in the first 6 months. Pizza is well liked, but it’s still requires specialization and expensive tools (pizza ovens are expensive – PLEASE don’t cook with light bulbs like the fast food delivery guys). There is also a lot of competition (the aforementioned “big” 3 who deliver) so you have to really stand out to be successful.

    4. They obviously don’t know the difference between earnings and profit and have absolutely no concept of overhead. Then there are those “unexpected” costs you mentioned. Your oven went out? Tough cookies – pony up 10k for a new one! If you sell coffee and your Espresso machine dies – same thing – pony up 5k for a new one. These are devices that are necessary for doing business and going without them is not an option.

  132. “Meat with the bone in” is bad?  So no leg of lamb at a restaurant.  The consultants of this article must serve lunchables at their restaurant! 

      1. If you go to a restaurant where the chef is baffled as to how to cook a bone in product, don’t even eat just run. I used to eat well done steaks when I was younger, I went to Mastros and asked for a well done steak, the center was still medium and I couldn’t eat it. The potatoes were overdone and dry. I thought if a steakhouse can’t cook a steak correctly, this is a problem

        1. A quality restaurant/steakhouse should be hesitant to intentionally ruin a good piece of beef- In the early years of my foodservice career I worked for a Michelin star chef whose policy was exactly as you described- If so poor uninformed diner ordered a well done piece of meat we were to send it medium- if it was returned it was just re-warmed and the Maitre ‘d or captain brought the meal back to the diner explaining that we wished the diner would at least try the steak and if the refused the diner was offered to choose another item from the menu but we would not intentionally serve a bad meal.
          A few people would get upset- maybe even leave, but most of them (80-90 %) would say it was the best steak they had ever eaten….

          1. I will never eat a half cooked piece of meat raw meat and eggs are gross! The best steak I get is well done and I will never return anything to the kitchen (don’t want the kitchen staff spitting in my food) but will ask for the manager and will refuse the meal! If the restaurant can not cook to order I will never enter the establishment again and will tell everyone I know or speak to not to eat there!

          2. Instead of ordering that $20 steak well done, why don’t you just have them heat up the box that it came in and serve it? It will taste just the same :)

    1. I don’t order meat with a bone because I’m not allowed to pick the bone up and gnaw on it like a German Shepherd. At home, that bone is MINE.

  133. The people they consulted for this article are complete morons.  It is okay to order water at a restaurant.

    Hmmmm….  I wonder why they would encourage you to buy a bottled or canned beverage…  Whats the biggest markup on again?

    1. You can’t drink the water but you can eat the ice. Sammy Haggar put it so eloquently. Ever been to his place in Cabo? They don’t even have water there because tequila is better for you. As for lettuce (of any kind) it’s probably from Mexico too. Don’t eat it. Gives me the Montezuma’s Revenge. Full of pesticides and chemicals. Who cares about the mark-up? Let the restaurant make what they can. Make sure the insurance premiums are paid current in case one of the customers happens to be a lawyer. They ruin it all for us who enjoy dining out.

      1. My brother used to truck vegetables up from Mexico.  You wouldn’t believe what he saw.  Let’s just say that the workers didnt care where the bathroom was!

        1. That’s exactly right and that is why vegetables and fruits spread illness. The best advice in a restaurant is not to eat anything that is mixed with the hands and is not cooked.

        2. That is why I eat only thoroughly cooked vegetables. No salad.

      2. I am a lawyer who was 6 months pregnant and got salmonella poisoning from an undercooked omelette at a Deli in Boston. I spent 4 days in the hospital with a 102 temp with vomit and diarrhea running from my body. And then the salmonella appeared in my stools for 2 months because they couldnt give me any really strong meds. Here I thought I was giving my baby a healthy egg and was sick for months. Think I had a right to be angry? Think I had a right to sue?

        1. Of course, you had a right to sue. There are some folks who just can’t stop the lawyer criticisms.

    2. I agree, I was dubious about some items on the list, until i got to the pizza one. They say it costs a restaurant $3.64 for a pizza they sell for $10, a 300% markup, but they don’t consider overheads and labor, in fact, a 300% markup from your food cost is often the minimum.

        1. Nitpiker:
          300% of $3.64 is $10.92…
          200% of $3.64 is $ 7.28…
          While the correct answer is 275%, which equals $10.01

          1. Jonn, basic math. markup is increase and vise versa. look it up

        2. You are right! $3.64 worth of ingredients for a $10 pizza is
          not a %300 markup!  You have a 36.4
          percent food cost (which is actually quite high) but you haven’t paid the
          staff, the rent, or even the water bill yet! 
          Put in the typical 30% for the staff and %30 percent for overhead, and
          you have made %3.6 profit on that pizza. 

        3. The term “percentage” means “per hundred”. It is at least ambiguous and at worst mathematically ignorant to use it following a number greater than 100, as all of the confusion here would testify.

          1. THANK YOU!!!! You do not know how much it bothers me to hear someone say they are 1000% sure (i.e., The Maury show, etc.)! I keep telling people that 100% is the most it can be. Thank you for backing me up! I too have a degree in Accounting, and people act like I am ignorant.

          2. From a purely mathematical standpoint 120% is a valid number. The definition of 1% mathematically is 1 x 10^-2 (that’s 1 times 10 raised to the negative 2). So saying 120% is the same as saying 120 x 10 ^-2, or 1.2 x 10^0, or 1.2. I understand that as an accountant the idea of 120% is foreign, but it’s still a valid mathematical statement. Percentages are ratios, they are not real numbers. They can be used to express a real number, but they are still a ratio.

          3. As an accountant, 120% is not a “foreign idea.” We understand and use ratios…

      1. Yep. I would like to think the pizzeria is paying their staff decent wages, subsidizing health benefits. Also, there are those little things like rent, liability insurance, utility bills, taxes, etc. That pizza cost way more than the $3.64 worth of ingredients. I found a bunch of issues with this list and think it is pretty useless click-bait, but the ignorance on the pizza one really highlights how *off base* the whole piece is.

        1. Plus the whole idea of “well I can make it at home for far cheaper” that a lot of the points made an issue of. That’s the whole point of paying to eat out, so you don’t HAVE to make it at home. Sure, I can make anything I want at home (within reason – obviously artisan dishes will probably be out of my skill range), but sometime I just want to go out and have someone else do the cooking. Even if it’s just grilling a steak and baking a potato.

    3. Actually bottled or canned has a very low markup.  for instance, beer or soda on tap has a good profit margin but canned beer or soda doesn’t.

    4. Excellent point, a $2 bottle of water is $10-12 and a large table will be drinking at least 2 bottles. The easiest trick is that they ask you whether you want still water or tap water and many people don’t see the difference. Well, the “still” water comes out of a bottle, even though it’s not sparkling water and voila there goes that $10 charge.

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