Every health professional is encouraging Americans to eat less when dining out. One strategy is to split an entrée. For one thing most restaurant entrées are too many calories for a healthy meal. Many other sites are encouraging splitting meals to save money, but my passion is not putting restaurants out of business.
I still remember the night my family and I were seated near a frail-looking elderly couple at an Italian restaurant in West Bloomfield, and the man told the waiter he and his wife would like one entrée to share.
In a disapproving voice loud enough to be heard several tables away, the waiter said something like, "Well, you'll have to pay a $5 split plate charge."
From his tone, I didn't think the waiter thought they were hard of hearing. I thought he was trying to embarrass them.
"What we are seeing, rather than more shared plates, are more people ordering petite entrées" -- regular menu items offered in a reduced size, said owner Jim Kokas of Opus One in Detroit.
But if diners still want to share an entrée, there's a $10 charge, which is clearly stated on the menu, as it should be.
The fee exists, he says, because his kitchen gives each person a half portion of meat or fish but a full measure of vegetables and starch, so it's serving more food. And there are other, less-obvious costs in serving two people rather than one: bread and butter for two, washing china and glasses for two, laundering napkins for two and so on.
Most restaurants, including Opus One, don't charge extra if a waiter splits a dish such as a salad or appetizer for the guests at their table. more...