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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  1. OR get the full plate, eat a smaller portion and take the rest home.

    I do this often and have never had stomach surgery.

  2. You can also ask that half the portion be plated and half immediately placed in a take-away bag.

    Can anyone out there comment if they've come across split-plate charges in Canada?

    I've never seen one before.

    My wife's ordered off the kids' menu plenty of times before and we've asked for smaller portions to be plated without incident.

    Could this be relegated to South of our border?

  3. Anonymous11:22 am

    I have seen split-plate charges before but they usually apply to two or more people who want to share one plate.

    I know that Chinese food restaurants usually charge 3/4 of the price for a 1/2 portion of the order, which may be something similar as they do there.

  4. theresa12:44 pm

    In Alberta I have not seen a split plate charge, but if you order a half order it is almost the same price as a full order. Usually $2.00 less.

  5. Anonymous7:58 pm

    There is an expense to the business for splitting that is not covered in the base plate cost. An additional set of silverware, a plate, the linen, the labor, the icewater you drink(yes it costs the restaurant money) the bread you consume while you are waiting for your food, the washing-water chemicals; the restroom tht you use, the toothpick, the mint etc.. The establishment could build this cost into all plates, but why should everyone be charged based on your request?
    A restaurant is a business like any other oddly enough, a restaurant has one of the smallest percents of profit. A $2.00 charge is nominal, considering.