There are some speculations on why restaurants serve bread before they give you food, and other reasons why. Here we will discuss the real reasons why restaurants serve bread before their meals, and talk about why the speculations just simply can’t be true.
Bread is a very common food, which is eaten with many other foods as something to use for a dip, a side, an appetizer, as toast, for sandwiches, and many other things. Of course, since it is made of flour, it doesn’t really amaze anyone no matter what type of restaurant it is, when bread in some form or fashion is offered on the menu.
So what is the real reason that restaurants serve bread before their meal?
The real reason that restaurants serve bread before their meal is really due to tradition and tactics. It is something that has been done for a long time at specific types of restaurants where individuals wait for a table and sit down and eat.
At these certain types of restaurants, the tradition has gone on so long that it would be weird or unnatural for bread to not be offered before the meal, and it helps the restaurant make their money.
At dine-in restaurants where the bread is offered first before the meal, usually a extended wait time for the real food is expected. Since this is the case and the restaurant knows that you came there hungry with an empty stomach, bread is given to temporarily hold off the affects of being hungry while you are waiting for your food.
It is just bad business and a memorable terrible experience for their guests to have to show up hungry and ready to eat at a dine-in restaurant, but still have to wait a decent amount of time before they can finally eat. Restaurants know this from some of the customer complaints they have experienced in the past from customers waiting too long for their food.
To avoid the irritation of the expected wait time, with the possible slight hunger pains their guest may be having while waiting, bread is given to the guests to eat before they get filled on their real meal 10 or 15 minutes (sometimes longer) later.
While their guests are eating the bread and their hunger is being temporarily satisfied for a few minutes, the restaurant can cook their ordered food without the guests leaving due to hunger.
If restaurants that take awhile to cook the food didn’t serve bread before the main course meal, then it increases the risk of their guests getting upset during the waiting time, since they are already hungry.
This could cause a memorable experience that makes the individuals choose another restaurant over that one the next time when they remember how hungry they were while they were waiting for their food.
Not only do the guests have to wait for awhile for their food to arrive, but they also have to sit and watch other people eat when those individuals’ food finally arrives. They can also smell the food in the restaurant. This can cause even more irritation, which may escalate in the guests that are waiting for their food eventually leaving to try to satisfy their hunger elsewhere.
If this happens, then the restaurant loses out on money and a customer because of the waiting time. Offering the bread before the meal gives the restaurant some time to cook and prepare the food before it finally arrives to the guest’s table.
The free bread is given to them to distract them or make them temporarily forget that they are really hungry.
Bread is inexpensive, so a well established restaurant doesn’t mind spending a little money on it to offer it for free to all their guests before their meal. They know that the bread isn’t the main reason that most of the people that come to their restaurant come there. Usually all of the rest of their food on the menu is better.
Also, it has already been set in us to want more than just bread, so usually no one wants to waste their appetite on just eating bread when they have more fulfilling food coming to them in the near future.
They will avoid the bread if they aren’t that hungry, or they will only eat a little bit and wait. Some individuals will eat the whole basket of bread, but still eat all of their food later on.
This is why restaurants don’t mind serving appetizers to the guests before their meal arrives. The appetizers are designed to hold off the hunger until the food arrives. This satisfies the customers that don’t want to wait awhile before their food is ready. This is what they are designed to do. They also pay the restaurant for their service, which is why restaurants offer them.
Myths About Why Restaurants Serve Bread
Some individuals are told that the reason why restaurants serve bread, is because it is cheaper for the restaurant to do so. It saves them money when their guests get full on bread and don’t eat the more expensive foods on the menu that the restaurant has to buy ingredients for; but this is not true.
In the case where a restaurant or cafe would let someone eat as much as they like for a one time small price; and serve bread first during the wait time, this could be the case; but not in the common day restaurant.
Restaurants don’t want you to get full off of their bread and then leave. They want you to stick around and buy the appetizers first, then eat the main course, then grab some dessert too, charging you more on your bill. This would be more profitable for them than getting you full on free bread.
The Hospitality Myth
Another myth is that restaurants offer bread for hospitality. Restaurants are a business that needs to profit in order to survive. Giving away free bread as hospitality may be what a few may do, but it isn’t what’s on the restaurants’ mind when they are offering the bread. Good restaurants have learned to offer good hospitality without spending unnecessary money.
Restaurants always try to save as much money as they possibly can, and use everything they prepare to cook and make meals from it. They usually keep track of all the food waste for everyday.
They are offering the bread to keep their guests from leaving before they actually order something that they will eventually pay for. Sometimes restaurants will even make their free bread taste really good so that they can encourage their guests to come back more often and try other things on their menu.
For some restaurants their free bread is a free (cheap for them free for you) down payment for their job security, and your new loyalty to their cooking cause.