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10 Budget Busters on Everyday Restaurant Menus


Most people enjoy pasta, and what's not to love? It's filling, it's tasty, it works with seafood, meat or primavera and it's one of the more affordable items on the restaurant menu. But appearances can be deceiving.

Earlier we mentioned that food costs average between 30 and 42 percent of menu prices, average being the operative word. Pasta, for example, brings that number down which is why restaurant owners love you to choose the penne over the beef. Pasta costs around 18 percent of menu price, so restaurants can make a killing. Even served with shrimp, veal or fancy mushrooms, there is still a nice profit margin factored into most pasta dishes.

So, if pasta is a restaurant rip-off, what should you order? According to Clark Wolfe, a restaurant consultant from New York in a Forbes article, "Choose labor-intensive, time-consuming complex dishes that call for hard-to-find ingredients." You are paying for it, so why not get the most value from your meal? Wolfe added, "If you can whip it up yourself in 20 minutes with stuff from your kitchen cupboard -- do that."

In other words, go hard or go home. And we think that especially applies to the next item on our list.