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Genuine question about restaurants/cafes

  • 06-12-2021 1:35pm
    Registered Users Posts: 36 mortis43

    When down in the local cafe the other day with the niece and nephew I glanced into the kitchen (which is open style in full view of the customers) and saw a few packets of Tesco Finest beef burgers in their usual packaging just beside the fridge. Exact same burgers / packaging the average customer would buy when popping into Tesco.

    The cafe has 'Beef burger (100% Irish)' as a menu item - it doesn't state that it's homemade or anything. Clearly they are serving Tesco burgers as the beef burger. (FYI price is 11.95 inc chips)

    This just got me thinking how common this is? There's clearly no deception here as the menu description doesn't say that the burgers are homemade but still....I can't help but feel a bit surprised (disappointed?) that supermarket burgers are being served up in cafes at such high mark-ups.

    maybe I'm naive or my expectations are too high. is this common?



  • Registered Users Posts: 22,033 ✭✭✭✭endacl

    ‘Finest’? Ooh la la...

    Lucky you!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,653 ✭✭✭Patsy167

    Very common. I know plenty restaurants and cafe's that used to orient their entire menu around the Aldi and Lidl Super 6 veg offers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,462 ✭✭✭✭Muahahaha

    Probably common enough in cafes that they buy stuff in rather than make it themselves. Though I am surprised they buy burgers from Tesco when they could get high fat mince wholesale for about 3 euro a kilo and quickly make way more burgers for the price Tesco charge for their Finest range. They could make much nicer burgers for cheaper so it doesnt make business sense for them to be buying a more expensive product in Tesco, theyd have better profit margins if they just made their own.

    Had lasagne at the weekend in my own local cafe and you could tell it was bought in rather than homemade as it was just a layer of mince then pasta then cheese. It wasnt very good either but was 9.75 served with chips. Would personally prefer to pay more for something homemade that tastes nice.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,222 ✭✭✭tscul32

    A lot of coffee shops don't make their own baked goods either. I find it very disappointing to order a pastry or cake only for it to have that taste that I associate with long shelf life bakes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,535 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    That would require a prep area and segregation of raw/cooked food, if the place isn't big they may not have the space/time or they just couldn't be bothered when their customers will buy what they are selling.

    Over in France a few times I've got lasagne in restaurants still frozen in the middle they took them back and tried to nuke them again, 1st place it was still frozen and I refused it( they where nice enough not to charge me for it!!) 2nd place managed to get it hot. From what I've heard if a place has more than 2 or 3 options on the menu it'll most likely be frozen/bought in food, too much prep work for them to be made fresh when you order.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,143 ✭✭✭✭Peregrinus

    This is extremely common at the price range you are paying; it's normal. And, while you talk about a high mark-up, what you're paying for is the premises, the preparation, the service of the food - the cost of the ingredients is a tiny, tiny part of restaurant economics. If they did offer home-made burgers the price would be higher, not because the cost of the ingredients would be higher (it wouldn't) but because they would have substantial extra labour costs, the cost of providing and equipping premises for working with raw meat, etc,

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭Esse85

    It's why I rarely eat out anymore, you just don't know what your getting and more often than not you feel disappointed and overcharged.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 15,949 ✭✭✭✭the beer revolu

    I've come across this kind of realisation before where someone was lambasting a kebab shop for using Lidl frozen chips.

    Now, taking into account that I don't know of a single kebab shop in Ireland that makes fresh cut chips, my question was, "why are Lidl chips considered worse that some random, unknown wholesale brand of chips?"

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,273 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    My mates food truck used Aldi frozen chips (they've left the trade so I can reveal this dirty secret). Worked wonderfully.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,462 ✭✭✭✭Muahahaha

    Whats the difference though between them buying in Tesco burgers and buying in mince and prepping themselves? AFAIK under HACCP they need one fridge for cooked meats and another for raw meats anyway so they're going to need that to store the Tesco burgers regardless. They'd need a prep area for raw food but presumably that consists of a hand washing sink and a steel bench. Some cafes might not have that space but some do, my local would anyway as they've two kitchens.

    I can understand them buying in something like lasagne as its time consuming to make and if homemade it would likely break the 10 euro barrier. But burgers take 10-15 seconds to ball up and weigh from raw, they are probably the quickest thing you could prep on a cafes menu. After that they still have to be cooked just like the Tesco ones.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,639 ✭✭✭sporina

    have seen restaurant staff (dressed in uniforms) in supermarkets buying supplies plenty of times over the years..

  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭TheKBizzle

    I’d say it’s common enough. I’ve worked in smaller kitchens and I’d look at special offers and try and come up with dishes with veg on offer for example. Never bought prepackaged burgers though but I know lots of places that use them either made up like that from a supermarket or from a butchers.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,203 ✭✭✭✭igCorcaigh

    "the cost of the ingredients is a tiny, tiny part of restaurant economics"

    If so, than why do so many "cheap" cafes and restaurants skip on the quality of certain items? Tea bags, sausages, bread, etc. It seems that it would be a reasonable thing to do to have decent basics, to attract customers, but a lot don't seem to.

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 64,273 Mod ✭✭✭✭L1011

    In a cheap cafe, the food cost is a much higher % of price than it is in a high end restaurant. You're paying ~8 for a meal not ~30; the food cost could be ~4 for the cafe and ~10 for the restaurant.

  • I once met the owner of my local chinese takeaway in Tesco. He had a trolley full to the brim with chickens.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,317 Mod ✭✭✭✭riffmongous

    Would 12 quid still not be a bit steep for that? Genuine question, haven't lived in Ireland for a while now

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,203 ✭✭✭✭igCorcaigh

    Burger and chips for €12? Depends. Cheap for a hipster establishment in a big city centre, expensive or your local cafe/greasy spoon. Depends on location though. Maybe OP lives on Oxford Street, London? But I don't think so. It's expensive sounding to me. I would expect maybe €7/8.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,203 ✭✭✭✭igCorcaigh

    Most chain places in this city would be around €7 for burger, €3 for chips, I think. Thereabouts.

  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭TheKBizzle

    I worked in a hipster burger place few years back and in costing each burger worked out around €1.10 to make and I suggested we sell it for €6.50. It’s now €10. No chips. They’re an extra €3

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,833 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!

    You might know this.

    Given that most burger officianados say you should use 20% fat beef in your patty. How do gourmet burger joints deal with all the leftover fat? 🥴

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,430 ✭✭✭✭retalivity

    There are 2 hotels near me in dublin city centre with attached pubs/restaurants, both have burger and chips on the menu for €16 and €16.50 respectively, which i thought was scandalous. Was in and got the 16.50, was standard enough, little metal trolley with about 20 chips in it.

    Bunsen, bobo's and the like, burger alone is generally 9-12€ i think, and are muxh better quality.

  • Registered Users Posts: 435 ✭✭TheKBizzle

    Most burger joints buy in their burgers unless they grind their own which is rare. Otherwise you just order 20% mince from supplier or local butcher and portion them out. Problem with buying bought in burgers is that they are preseasoned which dries out the end product.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,949 ✭✭✭✭the beer revolu

    Bunsen is only €7.85 for a burger. I think they are excellent value.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15 Smyl

    Not any different then Pallas or Musgrave supplied food. Budget for kitchen is often a set percentage of turnover.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,833 ✭✭✭Gloomtastic!

    But what do they do with all the fat? I know how much comes off a kilo or so of mince. It must be bucket loads in a burger joint. Straight down the drain? 🤢

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,462 ✭✭✭✭Muahahaha

    Hotel food prices are a joke at this stage, 17-19 euro for a burger and chips is common enough now and that will likely be the cheapest main course on the menu. And paying that amount wont even guarantee you a good burger either. They're also not far off breaking the 10 euro barrier for a bowl of soup and a bit of bread, Id say some have already.

    yeah they are very good value, especially as all their locations are in high rent areas. They could easily have taken advantage of the success theyve had and jacked their prices way up but they didnt, its still very reasonable for what you get.