Here's Exactly How Much Restaurants Mark Up Dishes You Can Easily Make At Home

We all know that one of the easiest ways to reduce your spending is to dine out less, but how much exactly will it save you?

To get a better sense of how much more restaurants charge you for the same dish you could make at home, we interviewed the owner of an upscale Italian restaurant in Northern California.

“Our whole objective was to make good food at prices where people feel they didn’t have to take a mortgage to come here and eat … but if you want, you could buy a bottle of wine for $US950, and you can eat the most expensive dishes and spend much more,” said the owner, who preferred to remain anonymous.

Remember, the markup covers the cost of preparation and running a restaurant, as well as payment for the owner and employees.

Here are some pictures of real dishes at the restaurant along with the raw price and menu price:

Spaghetti with tomato sauce

Raw price: $US6.00

Menu price: $US14.00

This one is pretty darn easy to cook at home, and you’d save yourself $US8.00. Still, the pasta you’ll get at this restaurant has a superior homemade sauce with fresh tomatoes, which can cost a lot in the winter.


Risotto with seafood

Raw price: $US16.00

Menu price: $US24.00

Again, you’d save another $US8.00 making this at home. However, it is a more expensive and complicated meal, with a lower per cent markup.



Raw price: $US3.00

Menu price: $US8.00

Here, you’d save yourself $US5.00 with a trip to the grocery store and a little preparation time.



Raw price: $US2.50

Menu price: $US8.00

Potatoes are one of the only vegetables that grow year-round, so their prices don’t vary much, and the home chef saves $US5.50.


Bottle of wine

Retail price: $US19.50

Menu price: $US29.00

Wine is easy to mark up because people will always pay for it to go with their meal. But markups do depend on the discount the restaurant owner gets from the vendor. In this case, you’d save $US9.50 by drinking at home.



Raw price: $US3.00

Menu price: $US8.00

Gelato is bought in packs of five pounds at this restaurant, costing them $US37.50 per purchase. This markup costs you $US5.00.



Raw price: $US1.50

Menu price: $US4.00

It’s delicious, but you could afford a second cup with the $US2.50 you’d save.



Retail price: $US1.00

Menu Price: $US4.00

Tea is one of the cheapest things you can buy at the grocery store. But this is one of the highest markups on most menus, at four times the retail price. The brands used at this restaurant are Novus and Mighty Leaf.


At least the bread, which costs the restaurant $US2.50 per pound, is provided free for diners.

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