10 Budget Busters on Everyday Restaurant Menus


Breakfast Foods

Breakfast is a favorite pastime, especially on the weekends. But, unless you order the omelet stuffed with crab and lobster, you're probably spending too much.

How do most people begin their breakfast? With a cup of joe. The mark-up is about 300 percent and a profitable item for a restaurant, regardless of refills. And, we're not even discussing the skinny, soy-milk, and whipped cream specialty coffees. Orange juice isn't much different. Imagine a 64 ounce (1.89 liter) container from a grocery store, costing around $3 and assume restaurants buy cheaper in bulk. Dining out, a 16 ounce (473 milliliter) glass costs you between $1.50 and $2.50. You don't have to be a math genius to know this is a triple digit markup.

On to the food: The majority of breakfast items like pancakes and egg dishes are highly profitable and cheap to make. So, that $9 stack of pancakes that you could make at home for a dollar or two is making the restaurateur very happy. Syrup, especially if it's a fancy specialty, may be the costliest part of your meal. Omelets are no different. Bacon, ham, turkey, peppers, tomatoes -- regardless of the type or style are still very inexpensive ingredients and unless specified, fairly generic and purchased in bulk. In other words, don't expect gourmet mushrooms or organic tomatoes in that omelet.