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Poll: Would You Pay the Same Price for Half the Food at Restaurants?

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/15/2012 10:00 AM   :  73 comments   :  9,892 Views

McDonald’s has begun posting calorie information on restaurant menu boards and highlighting items under 400-calories to help people make healthier choices when eating away from home. Other restaurants are choosing to wait for the FDA to set final guidelines before posting calorie information as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. 
 
With such a large number of high calorie choices available in restaurants, will any of this really make a difference? If you believe the information produced by a leading market research company that tracks consumer foodservice choices, calorie information availability on menu boards will likely not influence order selection on a long-term basis.
 
There is now a new way for diners to enjoy food in a correct portion size and limit calories while also helping others. But would you be willing to receive a smaller portion while paying the same price?

Halfsies developed an innovative “social initiative offering a choice to restaurant-goers that provides a healthier meal portion, reduces food waste and supports the fight against hunger.”  Their mission is admirable as they work to educate consumers on these topics while having half-portion options available hoping customers will choose to make a difference to benefit themselves and others.  
 
While the mission and vision are noble, there is a bigger question. Will consumers in these tough economic times be willing to “go halfsies” and receive a healthier portion size at full price if the other portion of the meal cost is used to fight hunger locally and globally.
 

What do you think about this innovative idea to help waistlines and the fight against hunger?


Would you pay the same price for half the food at restaurants?



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Comments

  • 73
    The portions are continuing to get smaller, and the prices go higher. The food companies are already trying to figure out how to give you less without you noticing. They don't want to raise the prices because they know we will not buy their product. We 're paying more everywhere as it is. We eat out once a week, but when we do, we choose restaurants that we feel give us fair portions compared to price - i.e good value for our money. Most of the time, we bring part of the meal home to eat in the next day or so. - 2/12/2014   12:09:25 AM
  • 72
    I might pay more than half, but not the same.
    $10 sandwich.
    maybe... $8 half sandwich

    The ONLY reason I'd EVER pay more for less if it was truly a one time meal (too many calories to justify leftovers) - 1/19/2014   6:14:15 PM
  • 71
    Eating out is my time to treat myself. Ordering pasta or some other food that I don't make at home. However, the platters (not plates) of food that they bring to the table is actually kind of disgusting. It is no wonder Europeans think we are horrendous overeaters. We are. I don't want to take it home and eat it a second, or third time. I really shouldn't eat it to begin with, but if I make it part of my plan, one small portion is okay. I hate to see three quarters of it thrown away, but I don't want to take it home either. Would I pay the same for less? Absolutely. Would I prefer to pay 20% less for half, again, Absolutely. If everyone on this site was as disciplined about eating out as they say they are, they probably wouldn't be here. We have to be honest with ourselves and realize that when that platter of food comes out, we probably eat 3 or 4 bites more than we originally intended. I would prefer that those extra bites weren't there at all. Even though my husband isn't overweight, pushing my plate over to him solves my dilemma regarding waste, but he doesn't need it either. Open a restaurant that serves right sized portions, and I would definitely be their customer. - 1/19/2014   1:46:11 PM
  • BMSCHMID1
    70
    I would definitely pay the same price for a smaller portion. Too much food on my plate will contribute to my overeating. How much is good health worth to me: a lot. - 10/28/2012   8:36:34 AM
  • KATEM200
    69
    I wouldn't pay the same amount for half the food. I agree with all of the comments about leftovers or splitting to make multiple "meals" out of one purchase. I would even like to see smaller portions for lower prices. However, I don't think it's reasonable to expect half of the food for half price. A large part of the cost to the business is NOT the food. They need to pay the people cooking and serving the food. We, the consumers, incorrectly think that we're paying for food when we dine out. We're not. We're paying for convenience. So when you spend $15 dollars, you expect to get a half pound burger and mountain of fries. In reality, most of the money went to paying someone else to do all of the work while you keep living your life (talking to dinner companions, texting, reading, etc.). You sit and wait to be served while someone else is standing in a kitchen - cooking and washing dishes. The cost to a restaurant to double the amount of food is nothing, and it makes us feel like we got a good deal because our $15 meal had a half pound burger instead of a quarter pound. - 10/21/2012   10:59:42 AM
  • 68
    I'm glad to see a lot of passionate responses to this question. I said "DEFINITELY NO!" Give me a recommended "HEALTHY portion and price it fairly! My wife & I always try to split meals. If we just can't come to a mutual agreement then we always bring home leftovers. THAT's the way we roll and THAT's how we lost over a combined 170 pounds! - 10/20/2012   8:15:49 AM
  • 67
    I am in the "DEFINITELY NO" category. Eating out is expensive; we even use coupons when we can or buy gift cards from Kroger for ourselves if we are going out just to get the fuel points. I am diligent about researching calorie and nutrition info before eating out and limit us to restaurants where this info is accessible (except on the very rare occasion). *I* know what I am eating and I don't need anyone's to babysit me or keep me in check with their "false" advocacy. Restaurants should be required to post nutritional info. But that's where it ends. The rest is free will. And if I want to eat an entire Maple Butter Blondie from Applebee's, I do so knowing the cost and consequences (and after planning from it). Most people aren't idiots and can think for themselves. - 10/19/2012   6:40:27 PM
  • 66
    Pay half for half the food, = yes, perfectly reasonable. Pay the same for half the food = makes zero financial sense. That's like taking a poll to see if your members would like to pay double for their car payments or clothing. Not too bright, SparkPeople!! I always get 2-4 meals out of a typical restaurant portion and I do not eat fast food so that's not even an issue for me. If one doesn't have willpower to stop eating once a reasonable portion has been consumed, as many others have pointed out, simply ask one's server to divide and box before serving. Huge portions and foods filled with sugar/salt are largely to blame for the obesity/diabetes 2 epidemic in this country. Move more, eat less, and don't eat it if you can't pronounce it or identify it--or if your grandparents would not recognize the ingredients (obviously this applies to additives, hormones, antibiotics and chemicals...I do not mean don't eat plain 0% Greek yogurt because your grandmother was Swedish and would not know what Greek yogurt was...the point is, eat whole food, not processed!) - 10/19/2012   6:21:42 PM
  • 65
    No, I would not pay the same for half the meal. Costs for eating out are already very high here and when you add in a tip of at least 15%, it is just too expensive to eat out anyway.
    We are becoming much more aware of the calorie and nutrition content of our foods and are thankful that soon this information will be easily available at many restaurants. It has certainly made us aware of the huge number of calories we are eating at fast food places and restaurants, along with the enormous amount of sodium! One hamburger has more than a normal day's allowance of calories at many places. Now my husband and I go "halfsies" on the entree or divide the portion in half and take the rest home for another meal. Sometimes we have to add a salad to our meal so we have enough vegetables, but it is still at a lower cost both in money and calories. Just have the dressing on the side and only dip the fork into it--still gets the flavor without the extra fats and calories. - 10/18/2012   12:02:36 PM
  • BAMAJAM
    64
    Information for Seniors--- Many restaurants will not permit adults to order the child's plate--however, Cracker Barrel, although they do not offer senior discounts, will allow seniors to order from the childrens menu. FYI--- - 10/17/2012   6:05:30 PM
  • 63
    Most restaurants will provide a take home box. Just ask for it at the beginning of the meal and split the meal yourself. I choose to fight hunger issues through charities of my choice - not someone else's. - 10/17/2012   2:33:11 PM
  • 62
    The portions continue to get smaller anyway, and the prices go higher. We get ripped off enough as it is. We eat out seldom, but when we do, we choose restaurants that we feel give us fair portions compared to price. I use self-control over my portions to not over-eat, and regularly bring part of my meal home for hubby to eat later. - 10/17/2012   9:00:22 AM
  • 61
    We pay the same price for less food at the grocery store. I remember a while back when companies first started making smaller packages but kept the same price. Haagin Daaz had some ice cream bars and they marketed the smaller size as "New Size, same price." Needless to say, since that technique implied consumers were not smart enough to realize they were getting a smaller size for the same price I no longer buy that brand. - 10/17/2012   6:33:01 AM
  • 60
    That just seems ridiculous. Charge less for less food and more for more. I understand that restaurants need to make a profit and could accept paying 3/4 for half a portion but not double. Until those type of changes happen, I'd rather pay full price for an outrageous portion, only eat half and either share the rest or take the other half home. - 10/17/2012   6:21:59 AM
  • 59
    A half-portion is misleading. A half-restaurant portion is more equitable to a realistic full portion meal size. Cutting restaurant-portions would be a step in the right direction, but first they need to own up to the rampant portion-inflation transgressions are they currently committing with accurate terminology. - 10/17/2012   2:06:23 AM
  • 58
    I eat out so rarely that if I knew for sure the money was going to a good cause, I would not have a problem spending full price for a smaller portion. - 10/16/2012   11:28:49 PM
  • 57
    I would not pay the full price for half a portion. I take home what is leftover because I can't afford to go out much anyway. If I could afford to pay fhe full price for something, I would still get the full portion and if someone needs something to eat I would give it to them instead of believe the restaurant would give the rest. - 10/16/2012   8:49:46 PM
  • 56
    I would however pay less for less food.
    - 10/16/2012   8:19:11 PM
  • 55
    I get at least 2 meals from a restaurant portion. - 10/16/2012   3:35:08 PM
  • 54
    I agree with a few earlier posts - I would rather pay less for less food in a restaurant, then donate money or groceries to a charity I have studied. That way you know the money is going to help hungry people directly and not to excessive administration costs.

    Note that I could find no information on how much of Halfsies proceeds to go administration versus helping people on their website. However, I found a Huffington Post article from earlier this year that states "The proceeds will be donated to both local (60 percent) and international non-profits (30 percent) to tackle hunger, notes Wired, with Halfsies taking 10 percent of the donations to cover operating costs." If the article is correct then the administrative costs are comparable to other organizations like the United Way, which is pretty good.

    The only other question I would ask is if Halfsies actually gets half of your meal price from the restaurant, or does the restaurant take some of the donated half to cover their costs for stuff like dishwashing, building maintenance and rent, etc that don't change when you order a half vs full portion of food? If Halfsies doesn't really get half of your meal price then there is a hidden administration cost, which would make admin costs greater than the 10% quoted above. - 10/16/2012   3:11:56 PM
  • JANUARYCOVER
    53
    I wouldn't pay full price for half a portion of lunch-sized fast food, like a basic hamburger or a sub. I would, however, pay full price for half a portion of pizza, pasta or other dishes that are only available in huge sizes. - 10/16/2012   2:34:17 PM
  • 52
    SMALLER PORTIONS, LOWER PRICES! I always ask for a take-away container, since only by taking half home can I afford to go out to eat. - 10/16/2012   2:00:02 PM
  • 51
    This article has some issues with flow - it starts out talking about McDonalds listing calories then jumps to the halfies concept. Those are two different topics in my opinion.

    Anyway, I appreciate what they're trying to do at "Halfies", but I would not make that choice.

    First of all, when I go out to eat, I look up the menu in advance and plan my order so that I know it falls within my calorie / nutrition goals for the day. I opt not to go to fast food restaurants, other than places like Subway, the majority of the time. I was traveling for business a week ago and I looked up the options in the airport so I knew what I could have for dinner (I had a long layover).

    If I choose to order a big entree, I will take half home and I do eat the leftovers. I'm trying not to do that as often these days, though. Because more on the plate does make it hard to stop!

    I prefer to support organizations dedicated to fighting hunger through donations of food or money. - 10/16/2012   12:54:05 PM
  • GR8FULLEE
    50
    No way, most restaurants already have the option to have a smaller portion (some offer 1/2 portions) for $1 less! It is just another way to fleece the customers and call it some other cliche name. I love to have the left overs and not have to plan or cook a future meal. - 10/16/2012   12:47:04 PM
  • 49
    It depends.... I've seen "halfsies" options at some restaurants, but they are mostly the same dish & just as bad as their original counterpart. The nutrients might be better in some areas and able to fit as part of your intake for the day, but it's still not the best selection.

    If restaurants had options that were healthy all around (i.e. not high in sodium, carbs, fat, actually utilized more fresh food), I would pay the same amount for less food, knowing that it is much more healthy. - 10/16/2012   11:14:28 AM
  • 48
    Halfsies? This should be called Europe ;)

    Kidding aside, I would go halfsies, if only because my economic situation is such that I could afford it at the moment and I normally throw away leftovers anyway (I tend to not want to eat the same thing twice in a row and my freezer is full of one-portion home-cooked meals). Most of my meals out I don't have to pay for myself at all as they're meetings of one kind or another, so I can't even really ask for a container (the office has just a tiny "beverages only" fridge, plus it's very unusual to ask to take leftovers home in Europe). If my privileged situation could benefit others, I'd love to help in another way. - 10/16/2012   10:55:59 AM
  • 47
    If I knew that the other half of what I was paying was going to a good cause to help reduce global hunger I would definitely pay full price for 1/2 a meal. - 10/16/2012   10:01:01 AM
  • 46
    Certainly not at most places where portion size is greatest--why would I eat there to pay less for the same cheap quality?

    But then, I don't eat at most restaurants: the industry as a whole has lost my confidence completely in the last 30 years. The few places that have been open about their ingredients and practices don't inspire me to change that, either.

    I definitely am willing to pay more for a quality meal made responsibly with high-quality ingredients, but that's not the question here. - 10/16/2012   9:58:54 AM
  • 45
    I would pay full price if the restaurant has the stamp of an M.S.R.D. on the portions with macronutrient breakdowns, and the food prepared under supervision of same.

    Otherwise, who are they trying to kid?

    On second thought, the restaurant should go green and recycle their children's menu - don't hold the spices or liqueurs or wines in the recipes for adults, tho' - for us grown-ups ... - 10/16/2012   9:50:51 AM
  • 44
    I agree the prices should be slashed for halfsies, but honestly, I'd pay full price for smaller portions. I wish everyone offered smaller portions. It's such a waste of food & I hate paying full price for a ton of food that's going to make me unhealthy.

    Honestly, I think it's crazy to pay full price for a massive portion. I don't want to pay to destroy my health...that seems silly to me. - 10/16/2012   9:30:06 AM
  • 43
    I would NOT pay full price for half the food. This is why we rarely go out, restaurants are a rip off. The lunch portions are perfect sizes and so are the items off the kids menu, but I am not allowed to order from these parts of the menu.

    My food choices do change when a calorie count is offered on the menu. My husband and I were recently back in my home of Southern California, where it is normal, as opposed to Northern England, our home, where it is seem as an alien concept. It keeps me accountable, I love it, can't wait for every restaurant, every where must do it! - 10/16/2012   7:54:28 AM
  • 42
    I would consider this an ABSOLUTE RIP OFF!!!!!!!!! On the rare occasions when I struggle financially to go to a restaurant now, I only go where I know the portions will be big enough to take A LOT home for at LEAST one or two more meals. If they give small portions, I feel totally cheated, so I will take WHATEVER I CAN (sweeteners, teabags, ANYTHING) to try to get my money's worth. Restaurants already overcharge terribly. I struggle to have enough money to eat every day. Food is not recreation, it is no more than necessary fuel for survival. WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANYONE PAY MORE TO GET LESS????? - 10/16/2012   7:39:06 AM
  • 41
    I would need to do my research before I went with "Halfsies." I'd want to know how they spend the money they get through this program -- how much of it actually went to fighting hunger, and what organizations/projects they're actually supporting. As a general rule, I am not a fan of "charity through shopping."

    I'd rather just use the money to eat at a higher-end restaurant that serves healthier portions and make donations to my own local food bank. - 10/16/2012   6:28:16 AM
  • 40
    My husband and I don't go out very often because of the cost savings. Our date nights consist mostly of dinner at Whole Foods (our Whole Foods has a wonderful cooked food bar) or wawa....and most times we save date night for date breakfast. Special Occasions are the one time we go out and that's when we really love to find a great spot....and we usually do a little internet investigation.

    I'd like them to post the nutritional value, however I know I can pretty much figure it out before I get there by looking at the menu on line and just going to a restaurant prepared.... - 10/16/2012   5:41:26 AM
  • 39
    I think how much one is willing to pay for what they receive depends on their individual situation. I don't go out as often as I used to, however, when I did there were many times I'd bring a portion of my meal home for a future meal. I also like the idea that the food will not be wasted & will be given to others who can really use some healthy food. - 10/16/2012   12:17:02 AM
  • 38
    Pay full for half food???? - 10/15/2012   11:35:12 PM
  • 37
    Is it really true that ALL restaurants will be required to have calorie information? I cannot wait. It is such a pain to try to agonize over what and how much I'm eating.

    I often request that restaurants box half of my portion before they bring it. My husband is always embarrassed by this for some reason. But I love leftovers. Why would I pay twice? And why can't restaurants serve real sized portions. - 10/15/2012   9:32:45 PM
  • 36
    No way. Just sell me half the food for half the price. It's not that hard. - 10/15/2012   9:13:36 PM
  • 35
    I don't think we should have to pay the same price for half the food. Why should McDonald's (or any other restaurant) profit by serving less food? We have to learn some self-control and not feel the need to eat everything that's put in front of us. I know it's really hard when you're eating out, another reason to either plan ahead when you know you're going to eat out by looking up the nutritional values of menus online or try to order as healthy as you can.
    - 10/15/2012   8:12:11 PM
  • 34
    I don't see why I should pay full whack for half the food - I might as well just eat half and throw it out or take it home- why should rotten Ronnie benefit TWICE by the way (they get to give a charitable donation and they make someone like ME pay for it). NO WAY. Oh and they can bring back the McLean Deluxe that was the best burger they ever got rid of. - 10/15/2012   7:45:59 PM
  • AMARANTHA_Q
    33
    I would rather the restaurant offered correct nutritional information and more choices as to portion size, as I do not care to take restaurant food home and eat it later so most of the meals I pay for in a restaurant are wasted food. - 10/15/2012   7:08:58 PM
  • 32
    I only go out every 4-6 weeks or less. I don't eat fast food or anything like it. Any left overs I have is usually thrown out. - 10/15/2012   6:07:53 PM
  • 31
    I don't think "halfsies" is anything but a way to spend more for less when you can eat more economically at home. I already donate to food drives, toy drives, Goodwill, Girl Scouts, hearing loss, diabetes assoc., so why do I want to spend even more for questionable value. They should donate their left=over food to organizations that can use it. No, bad idea and I won't participate. - 10/15/2012   4:15:29 PM
  • 30
    Nope. - 10/15/2012   4:05:35 PM
  • 29
    I just take home part of my meal. I don't usually eat most of it.
    Having a clean 'food container' in your car helps with take home waste- just keep one in your car and you are ready for whatever comes up. - 10/15/2012   3:51:02 PM
  • 28
    I already pay for half of the food. I practice cutting portions off the food and passing the rest on to someone else or throw it away. Since I don't think you can get anything healthy from a restaurant, I won't save things for later. It is bad enough that I am eating out. - 10/15/2012   2:28:59 PM
  • 27
    Simple answer - no.

    I actually was realizing the other day that part of the restaurant portion size IS the issue of consumers wanting what they've paid for. When the price is high, either the quality has to be very high (a hard standard to meet for chains) or the quantity has to be high (much easier, especially using cheap fillers).

    I do understand why restaurants wouldn't want to offer half-size meals for half the price. That doesn't tend to cover overhead and reduces the tips the wait-staff can hope for. But I'd rather take the second half home on those rare occasions I choose to eat out and give in other ways. - 10/15/2012   2:08:04 PM
  • 26
    I'd like to see smaller portion sizes but what about the kids meals? I took my toddler to BK today for a treat and asked for a substitution of double apples instead of fries, something I think should have been free but was an up-charge. - 10/15/2012   2:05:32 PM
  • 25
    This is ridiculous. If you want to, you can take the leftovers home for another meal later. And who gets all the tax credit for donating the food here in this scenario? I'm guessing the restaurant does. I'd rather donate to food banks via church or school drives, etc.. - 10/15/2012   2:03:08 PM
  • 24
    In this economy, no way. I take half home and have a second (and sometimes third or fourth) meal, saving money. Promoting this basically says "give 25 percent extra to the restaurant of your choice". Nope, not gonna happen. - 10/15/2012   1:02:42 PM

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