It was a while ago that I had gone to Pollo Tropical and ordered my usual, with a large drink. The cashier replied, “We only have one size of drink now.” Ok. But that is a medium cup. Right. That change, which I considered kind of significant, made me think about the whys of such an unannounced change.
For the company, the change would mean reducing the number of items they had to stock and order, which has benefit. Also, it’s less drink walking out the door, because who wouldn’t refill before leaving? So, there’s that savings. And finally, I assume it’s a preemptive move when the pressure comes on for the death of soft drinks. Kind of, “Hey, we’re not even allowing people to buy more than 20 ounces here.”
Although I was pretty displeased with the change, I accepted it and moved on. Then, yesterday, I went to Firehouse Subs and got a meal combo. I was given a 20 oz cup. Wait, didn’t this used to include a 32oz drink? I looked around and saw 32oz cups on other tables, so I don’t know what I did wrong. Oh well, I don’t eat here that often anymore, so I sucked it up and got on with my day.
Today, I go to Sweet Tomatoes. I get to the cashier and ask for a large drink. She hands me a 20oz cup. No, I want the large size. “We only have these now.” WTF. Just like Pollo. But, Sweet Tomatoes only ever had 32oz to-go cups, not the 20oz. So something’s afoot here. It’s not simplifying stock items, it’s shrinking things.
Fountain drinks are the biggest profit makers for a restaurant. It’s under a quarter for a cup, lid, straw and the drink itself. Considering many places I go charge $3 for a drink, you better believe I get refills and to-go cups whenever I can. And now, they’re shrinking the available cup sizes so you can’t leave with an extra 10 cents of drink?
For future reference, Boston Market still only has one drink cup – a 32oz cup. They’ve recently changed from a plastic cup to a paper cup. Let’s see if they shrink it down to a 20oz.