No, someone didn’t steal the silverware. It’s the breadbasket. During the economic downtown, an increasing number of eateries have excised free bread in order to cut costs, while others have begun charging for it.
Restaurateurs may want to rethink this move though, because a good bread program can help set an establishment apart from its competitors and help form its identity.
There are plenty of practical reasons why proprietors originally began offering a crusty kickoff to meals, which are still worthwhile incentives to keep it today.
A small high glycemic index snack like a roll can get the salivary glands working, which makes customers hungrier and likely to order more food than they originally intended.
It can also soothe an irritable patron before they take their dissatisfaction out on the waitstaff.
The hit of salt in the butter can make diners thirsty, so they might order high mark-up drinks from the bar.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, starting off a meal with a free item can help create a halo effect around the entire dining experience, which leads to a more positive overall impression of the restaurant.
Photo of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits courtesy of Red Lobster.