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


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  97 comments   :  22,681 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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  • 97
    I would rather pay full price and take home leftovers for a healthy meal the next day. Not paying same price for halfies. - 6/26/2017   12:36:06 PM
  • 96
    Money is tight for my family, so if I still had to pay full price for half the food, I'd just say never mind. - 6/11/2017   8:18:35 AM
  • 95
    I would be tempted if I knew for sure they were donating the extra proceeds in a responsible way. - 4/7/2017   7:51:03 AM
  • 94
    I would not at all want to pay full price for a halfies. A part of my liking to go to a restaurant is because I do divide my food (And I am very choosy on what I get !) so that I can later have an easy, tasty meal. - 4/7/2017   1:52:42 AM
  • 93
    There's no way I'd pay the same price for half of the food. I'd rather take home leftovers. - 4/6/2017   7:48:37 PM
  • 92
    I would not pay full price for half the amount, even though half the amount is all I want to eat. Restaurant food is overpriced as it is, as is just about everything else! - 4/6/2017   7:08:12 PM
  • 91
    I would pay full price, restaunt plates are always way too much for me and I end up leaving half on the plate anyway...this way I don't force myself to eat more because I don't want to be wasteful and I help a good cause. There was a time when I could not buy food for myself or my son and I cried when even a small portion of food was given to me, I now help feed the hungry when I get the chance - 4/6/2017   11:03:25 AM
    I would not pay full price for 1/2....I would be willing to pay..an extra dollar or so to help fight hunger.. - 4/6/2017   10:40:56 AM
  • 89
    I would be willing to pay given that I was certain that the foods purchased were of the highest nutritional value, and not merely "goverment staples" such as processed cheese, refined sugars & carbs, institutional peanut butter, etc...
    - 4/6/2017   9:43:17 AM
    Depends on food. - 4/6/2017   9:26:37 AM
    I'm willing to pay more for less food IF the food is good quality and prepared in a healthy manner. I would also want evidence that the other "half" of my food is actually going to feed the hungry. - 4/6/2017   8:20:03 AM
  • 86
    My husband and I were just talking about this. I would love to see restaurants decreasing the portions to single serving. I mean to consume 1200+ calories in one meal is crazy! - 4/6/2017   8:05:56 AM
  • 85
    Why can't the restaurant just serve a normal portion size? Here in the Netherlands eating out is expensive, and you get normal portions, with no free refills on drinks. - 4/6/2017   4:38:27 AM
  • 84
    If the extra money was being donated to fight hunger I'd do it. I just don't want the rest lining some corporation's pocket because I'm trying to make healthy choices.
    - 3/14/2017   11:06:34 PM
  • 83
    And this is why we Americans are obese. People who want to be healthy, who want to eat better pay more for their food. I can get a double cheeseburger for $2, but have to pay $7 for a salad? Does it really cost that much more for healthy food? I mean really? For some reason, I'm highly doubting it.

    When I go out to eat at a sit down restaurant like Outback or Texas Roadhouse, I take 1/2 of my meal home. At least half. and then I make 2-3 meals out of it. - 2/6/2017   12:16:22 PM
  • 82
    When eating out at home, I want the whole meal. I'll take the leftovers home to reheat the next day. If I'm on vacation with no means to store or reheat leftovers, then I would be willing to pay a little more for half a portion. Usually my husband and I decide on what we want to eat, for example a hamburger and salad. Then I order the salad and he orders the hamburger and we share. (He eats the fries.) - 9/22/2016   8:25:12 AM
  • 81
    I am sorry but no I would not -- I would be willing to pay slightly more than half -- if the portion size is half then the cost for the supplies would be half with the exception of the production costs which would likely remain close to the same (with some reduction in preparation time). Portions are too large in the US and I would prefer that they were reduced however the prices should reflect the reduction fairly as well - 8/28/2016   12:14:07 AM
  • 80
    I remember back in the 70's when many restaurants were posting calories and some nutrition info; I specifically remember McDonalds & Wendy's. Not sure why it was discontinued.
    Because of the 'lawyers' restaurants cannot give already-served food to the homeless or anyone else. Years ago I heard of a restaurant that boxed the food & set it outside -- a guy got sick, got a lawyer & sued the restaurant. So now the only way homeless can leftover restaurant food is by dumpster-diving; the restaurant is not liable if someone gets sick eating their 'trash'.
    Shakespeare had it right.... - 4/5/2016   6:24:46 PM
    I don't think it would be right to charge more for less. I take home left overs for the following day. - 4/5/2016   1:09:53 PM
  • 78
    No but only because when I eat out I know I am going to have at least half of that meal on the following day as another meal, sometimes two more meals. It justifies eating out. A meal at my favorite Mexican place is about $15 factoring in the tip but I get two more meals from my leftovers which makes each meal bout $5--cheaper than a burger! - 10/21/2015   7:43:23 PM
  • 77
    Nope. Normally, I'll eat half and box up the other half anyway. If I wanted to be charitable, I could take the money that I save from the second meal that I get for the same price and donate it to my church's hunger fund. - 6/28/2015   6:05:09 PM
  • WHOVIAN140
    No. For half the food, I would expect a lower price. If my portion is too big, then wrap it up and I've got a meal for tomorrow's lunch. - 6/28/2015   12:43:56 PM
  • 75
    By ordering a healthy meal to begin with, I can box the leftovers.
    "Halfsies" translated in my world means a 100% increase in the cost of dining out...so the restaurateur can have the luxury of a 50% tax credit.
    Who will suffer the effects of such philanthropy? The servers!
    If you want to give me LESS of BETTER QUALITY ingredients for double the price, I might be okay with it. - 6/28/2015   12:39:51 PM
  • 74
    I think it is a good idea if the money was going to help starving kids -
    often my sister and I will share a meal because there is just too much food anyway (who needs a 1/2 lb burger :-) - 2/27/2015   7:58:57 AM
  • 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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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

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