BUYER BEWARE – 15 Chefs Reveal The Biggest Rip-Offs Their Restaurant Sells


When you go out for dinner, you expect nothing but the finest cuisine from your local Applebees.

But behind the scenes of your favorite restaurant are some industry secrets that may or may not be a total rip-off. For example, your mashed potatoes are cold in the middle because they’re microwaved, dipshit.

If you want to ruin date night, then look no further because these chefs are serving up some hot plates of reality.

1. kmrse95:

We buy tiny wine bottles for $7 and sell for $37. Spaghetti Factories house wine is Franzia box wine.

2. twopacktuesday:

I worked in a fancy country club ($25K initiation fee, then $7K/year in the 90s). A slice of “homemade” cheesecake was $7 each on the menu. One of the sous chefs stopped by the Giant Food grocery store every day on the way to work to pickup a whole cheesecake for about $5.

3. Scamperillium:

Not a chef but a baker.

They’re maybe 1 inch by 1 inch (rolled in a ball and dipped in icing) but we sell them for $1.65 each.

We sell a quarter sheet cake (most common size) for $20.

We sell 1 dozen cake balls, which is maybe 1/3rd the cake, for $19.8Cake balls.

via shutterstock

4. Back2Bach:

Not a chef, but our favorite restaurant now charges $16-$19 each for a regular “well” drink (i.e. “gin and tonic”) and over $20 each for a standard “call” drink, such as a “Beefeater martini.”

At those prices, the drinks often cost as much or more than the entrees.


I have a friend who works at an Italian restaurant, they sell something called a wedge salad. Iceberg lettuce, quartered. Dressing poured on top. Bacon bits. $11.50

6. dudecephus:

Most of our desserts are purchased from the Wal-Mart directly across the street then marked up 500%. For the price of a couple of pieces of cheesecake, you could just go across the street to Wal-Mart after your meal and buy a whole one.

We just drizzle a bit of chocolate or raspberry sauce on it so that it doesn’t look exactly like the one from Wal-Mart.

Also, a smoker outside the building doesn’t mean your barbecue is fresh. Most of it is frozen. Sometimes we just throw logs on there so it looks and smells like we’re barbecuing. Homey, we made that shit two days ago. That’s just wood you’re smelling.

7. ChizzMiss:

My ex use to work at Applebees. She told me that everything you eat there is pre-packaged and just microwaved once you order it, including the ribs and steak.

8. cde34rfv:

Short-rib flatbread pizza. We take leftover short rib from the previous night, shred it, put it on $0.05 worth of flatbread with a sprinkle of cheese and some diced red onion, and ship it out for $11.45. It’s literally $10 profit.

And people love it. We sell easily 20-25 every night as hot apps.

via shutterstock

9. Ronnylicious:


We bought that shit in for €12,50 (that’s $15) And we served it in these small cute dish/tray for €0,50.

We could do almost 500 of these servings.

That is €250 ($300) That’s 20 times the original value.

Thát is inappropriate and is the reason why I go against the system and eat my fries NO SAUCE

10. Thraell:

My husband used to work in a gastro-pub in a well-to-do area where it was the only option.

The baked Camembert. It was literally the Camembert from Aldi. £1 each. Baked and sold for £15 to share.

Everyone was convinced it was some really posh continental fine cheese with a special Camembert oven or some shit. Nope, they could do the exact same thing at home for a pittance of the price.

11. kwyjibo8:

We serve “hot fresh baked pretzels” for $8.95.

We get em by the case frozen. Roughly $75 per box. 100 per box. We get 33 orders per box and one to eat while figuring out math.

33 orders X $8.95 = 295.35.

So profit is 220.35 (minus the cost).

So with that 220.35 we pay the electric, gas, rent, taxes, staff, equipment, etc. And thats assuming we sell all 33 orders of pretzels. Stan my line cook eats an order. Boom, down to 32. Jose burned an order. Down to 31. Barb sneaks one home in her purse. 30 orders. 3 pretzels are broken in the box. Down to 29. So our 220.35 just went down to 184.55 pretty quickly…and very easily.

12. Maaark_Nuuutt:

Not a chef but, in the UK if your restaurant is licensed to serves alcohol you legally have to provided free drinking water, but what they can do is charge you for the glass.

13. swimbikerunman:

We used to sell a house-made drink with a ton of stuff we could make behind the bar for basically nothing. The cost to us, per pour, was $1.89. We sold it for $12.

Granted, that kind of thing allows us to sell expensive things for far less than other places, which actually pissed off the guys up the street from us who were selling the same products for a good deal more. So usually when you’re getting ripped off via a particular item, it’s letting you get something good for less. Take salad, for example. Nothing about mixed green should cost $11, but when everyone and their mother eats one, we can sell that ahi tuna steak for $24 instead of $28.

I love doing this with beer. Yes, Peroni on draft is going to cost you $6, even though our pour cost is about $1.25. But that means I can put up that log of Alesmith Speedway Stout and it will also cost you 6 bucks instead of 8 or 9. Basically – the cheap shit should cost a ton so the expensive stuff isn’t so bad.

14. AtomicSurf:

Soda Pop. $3 a glass for $0.10 of product.

via shutterstock


I used to work at a local taco shop in a college town. People went ape shit for the food there even after they graduated. The nostalgia was so strong, we shipped DIY boxes of the ingredients around the country to people that wanted it. It was just a box with bulk taco meat, cheese, lettuce, and the (very cheaply) restaurant-made hot sauce and “white sauce” (which people went berserk for, but it was literally just mayo, milk, salt, and pepper). You could also get hoagie buns because grinders were also really popular there.

You could make the same exact same food with grocery store ingredients for cheaper. There was seriously absolutely no reason to order the restaurant’s food to ship.


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