It’s been just over 24 hours since we posted our interview with Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker, and in it, the chef made his case for not serving free rice: “You’re keeping your food cost below 30 percent, so if you’re charging $7 for a giant plate of food, something has to give: labor, rent, or food,” he told us. “Most places aren’t going to be buying natural meats, organic vegetables, top-grade seafood, or even top-grade rice. We don’t make a big deal about it, but we use all-natural meat and high-quality ingredients, and we pay a fair living wage to employees. High-quality jasmine rice from Thailand costs more than $1 a pound, and you have to be careful in how you prepare it. We don’t charge that much money for our food, so I don’t feel bad about charging $2 or $3 for rice. And to top it off, in Asia, you pay for rice. Free rice is an American invention.”
But it didn’t take long for someone to take issue with that line of reasoning.
livemyfantasy isn’t buying it:
“High-quality jasmine rice from Thailand costs more than $1 a pound, and you have to be careful in how you prepare it. We don’t charge that much money for our food, so I don’t feel bad about charging $2 or $3 for rice. ”
Worst. Argument. Ever.
1lb of rice makes 6-10 servings and costs you a WHOLE dollar! Awwww, poor baby. So you’re willing to have disgruntled customers feel nickel and dimed over 15 cents a serving? For something every other place gives away for free, from the cheapest take-out to the highest rated can’t-get-a-reservation hotness of the moment?
Get off your high horse and roll the 15 cents per serving into your entree prices like every other damn restaurant instead of leaving your customers feeling taken advantage of.
Can’t wait for you to open your next hip Italian restaurant where you’ll charge for the table side olive oil and butter because the good stuff is “expensive”. wtf.
What’s your take on free rice? Is it within the diner’s bill of rights to expect it? Join the conversation in the comments.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 24, 2013