One of the most important concepts on this blog is that a restaurant is a business – it exists to make money.
Duh, that’s what businesses do. It just so happens that I think they provide a valuable product/service!
Touche. But how valuable is the service they provide? What if they provide both, as is the case for restaurants?
See, you’re not just “paying for someone else to make your food”. You’re paying for the cost of the food (EVERY OUNCE OF IT BELIEVE ME), the labor of the people who make the food, bring it to your table, clean your dishes, and the people who manage all of those people. You’re also paying for the rent, electricity (are restaurants with a bunch of huge flat screens more expensive because of all the TV’s?), water, sewage, gas, waste management, maintenance, insurance, pest control, cleaning supplies and financial services.
Wait, don’t you already pay for most of that for your own life? And now you have to pay it for someone else, too?
Subtracting the cost of food, the rest is what I like to call the “Restaurant Fee” – it’s the difference between eating a hamburger at a restaurant and eating a hamburger at home.
What if you only eat a hamburger once a month, so it’s cheaper to eat out when you want one?
Bullshit, mostly. Don’t claim it’s cheaper – it’s not. It might be more convenient to not have to keep the ingredients around for something you’ll only have once a month, but it’s definitely not cheaper. Unless you eat wildly different things for every meal every single day. In which case I found another way to reduce your food spending.
Remember, the purpose of eating out should be to have an enjoyable experience. If you can’t cut costs, you have to learn to accept them (link). I prefer to live in moderation – when I want to eat out, I accept that I’m paying a premium for something I could potentially make myself. I don’t like paying that premium often – I’ve accepted it as only “worth it” when it’s a special occasion or it’s something I can’t replicate at home. Besides, life is already expensive enough.