Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How to Avoid a Split Plate Charge


Here's an interesting marketing idea that I would have thought unnecessary.

In Texas, the 6th heaviest State in the United States, some restaurants are positioning themselves for the ever growing number of bariatric surgery patients.

Black-eyed Pea, Carrabba's, Chili's, CordĂșa, Macaroni Grill, McCormick & Schmick's in Uptown Park, Outback Steakhouse, P.F. Chang's, Pico's Mex-Mex, Red Lobster, The State Grille and T.G.I. Friday's are all now offering to honour bariatric surgical "cards" that entitle the bearer to be "allowed" to order a child's entree or a half-plated portion, without being charged a "split plate charge".

While I think it's great that these restaurants are helping out, I'm baffled by the concept of a split plate charge. A quick google search on split plate charge demonstrates that these charges, applied if you want less than the restaurants' standard portion plated, range between $2-$5.

Meaning that not only are portions astronomically larger than we need, but if you want to be served less, you'll get charged more than if you took the full order? That sure doesn't sound like a great way to inspire customer loyalty.

On the up side, I imagine that even if you don't live in Texas, if you've had bariatric surgery and had your surgeon fill out the card that many restaurants will honour it simply because there are many honourable folks out there. If you want to try it, just print out the card above (from ObesityHelp.com) and give it a go.

Or you can just ask to speak with the manager and explain that if he/she's going to charge you more money to be served less food that he/she's not getting any of your money in the first place.

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