Price-Margins Are Literal Garbage

consider the extra money you spend when you buy something at a food chain

To quote one of the most influential movies of our time, Clueless. AS IF! These days, my patience for food and price-margins is wearing thin. Everything else is wearing me, because I spill a lot. But that's beside the point. Can someone please help me to understand why companies can charge what they charge? I mean, I think I know a few of the main reasons why.

  1. We continue to pay for it

  2. Because they have people to pay

  3. We continue to pay for it

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

When it hits you, it usually hits you square in the nose holes

This morning, during a lovely little family walk, we decided to pop into our favourite coffee shop. To be honest, I hadn't been in a while due to, well, being a mom (and also because I had been hitting up Starbucks for the rewards points).

When we took a look at the food menu and prices, we were shocked to see how much prices had increased over the summer. An egg bagel was $8, a single macaroon was $3, and a small muffin was $4. After feeling super silly to spend any of this money considering we could have most of these options at home, we decided not to buy anything.

During the walk home, we started talking about how much some restaurants must make. A prime example of this is salad rolls. One of my favourite buys, when we dine out, are salad rolls from literally any Vietnamese restaurant. Two weeks ago, I bought all of the supplies I needed to make them at home for <$10. That's how much it would cost me for 3 salad rolls in a restaurant. With the supplies I bought, I've already made 20 salad rolls and still have enough for 20 more.

My salad rolls = $0.17 Their salad rolls = $3.33 The profit margin for restaurant = 95%

nick kroll what GIF

Which brings me to my thesis: Price margins suck — or do they?

We overspend on nearly every menu item we buy when we eat out

This isn't news to anyone. Although, maybe it's news to you? People choose to dine out for the convenience, deliciousness, and also, the pure enjoyment.

No one is opting to go out for dinner to save money. Unless they only eat off the dollar menu. Because then you might have a shot.

I can't stand how many times I've thought to myself "I can make this at home for so much less," but then continued on to buy the item anyways. Typical me. Typical we.

How much do restaurants make in profit margins?

Type of restaurant | Profit

Full-service | 3-5%

Fast-food | 6-9%

Food trucks | 6-9%

Grocery stores | 1%

Meal kits (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron) | 20-60%

I'm watching you, Hello Fresh.

im watching you GIF

It's always been important to me to support local businesses, especially since those small business owners are definitely not hitting the double digits for price-margins. However, it's also always been important to me to save money and focus on my financial success.

We all spend a hella-lot-of-money-on-food

In fact, food is pretty much all of our first, second and third loves. It's literally impossible for me to control myself when I have a craving for a fast-food restaurant or particular dish that I don't make at home. However, this stops NOW.

Say it with me. "I will consider price-margins before spending an excessive amount of money on an item." 

I've done it with salad rolls, I've done it with my favourite breakfast from a local cafe, and you can too. For those of you interested in saving money, paying off debt, or locking down a financial goal — remember to consider the extra money you spend when you buy something at a food chain or establishment.

Am I saying you can never eat out again? Of course not. Particularly because if I tell you not to do something, you'll do it anyways. All I'm saying is that if we work together (internet BFF powers, unite), we can only purchase things we can not replicate at home for a lower cost dish.

Am I a sucker for food from my favourite restaurants? Yes. Am I lazy when it comes to cooking? Absolutely.

But am I big into saving money above all else? You bet your pickled pepper I am, baby. 

Next time you're looking over a restaurant menu and choosing between the caesar salad or the butternut squash ravioli with goat cheese crumble — please consider the fact that you could make that caesar salad for $2 and in less than 2 minutes. Order the food whose price-margin isn't going to have you kicking yourself in the morning when you log into your online banking.

What is one price-margin you always regret missing after buying something? Let me know in the comments.