Poll: À la Carte Burgers at Restaurants: Way or No Way?
One of my biggest pet peeves with restaurant menus is when burgers are listed à la carte, and to get fries (or another starchy side), you need to order them separately. A few extra bucks for a "grab" of fries doesn't bug me, but when the only option is to get an appetizer-sized portion that's often big enough for two, it feels like a bait and switch (at best) and price-gouging (at worst).
Take the burger at Southpaw Social Club as an example, which, I should mention, is one of my favorites in San Diego. At $11, it's priced reasonably, considering the size and the fact that it's made in house, but add a side of fries, and the total jumps up to $18, which is nuts. Luckily, you don't need fries with this burger since it's huge, but I'd be much happier if they would just increase the price to $14, include a handful of fries, and be done with it.
Who's with me? Should all burgers come with fries, or are you ok with ordering them separately and paying extra? To keep the options straight-forward, I've limited the answers to yes and no. If there are any special considerations you think could prove an exception to the rule, let us know in the comments.
Results from last week's poll
à la carte burgers. White buns with sesame seeds snagged second place with 18 percent of votes, while brioche squeeked into third place, capturing 17 percent of votes. Less popular choices were as follows: plain white bun (10 percent), pretzel roll (9 percent), English muffin (7 percent), ciabatta (4 percent), challah roll (2 percentaht), torta roll (1 percent). Only two percent of AHT'ers said they'd rather have a lettuce wrap than a bun.
Here's what a few of you had to say:
I like it when you are able to order fries a la carte. Hubby and I will each order a burger and an order of fries to share. Some of the restaurants in our area serve a ridiculous amount of fries with each burger, so one order to share is quite enough.
I expect a side with my burger. If there are options, fantastic, but a side should exist. It's not an issue of too much food (there's no such thing) but rather expectations. I'd understand if the burger was, let's say, $6-8, but $12 burger and no fries? Steep.
Once the price is into the double digits, I expect a burger to be a meal, and that means a side of some sort.
About the author: Erin Jackson is a food writer and photographer who is obsessed with discovering the best eats in San Diego. You can find all of her discoveries on her San Diego food blog EJeats.com. On Twitter, she's @ErinJax