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Diners shocked to discover real reason restaurants share bread for free

Diners shocked to discover real reason restaurants share bread for free

It's free food in a place that is designed to make you pay to eat there, so what gives?

I'm sure that you, dear reader, are well acquainted with how restaurants work but just in case there are those among us who haven't been since the pandemic and rather forgotten how it works, they often give you some complimentary bread at the start.

Getting a roll and some butter that's so cold and hard it shreds your bread helps tide you over until your actual food arrives, as everyone knows the worst part of going out for a meal is that awful dead space between ordering and eating.

It's nice of a restaurant to provide you with a bit of a snack to keep you going, but on the other hand there's other reasons why a place that exists to sell you meals would give some food away for free.

The latest person to talk about this is a TikToker who goes by the name of @cowgirl.crystal.

"Yum, it's free." (Getty Stock Photo)
"Yum, it's free." (Getty Stock Photo)

She explained that eating the bread means 'your glucose spikes so you get really hungry'.

A bigger appetite might help tip the scales between your decision whether to order a starter or not, and the social pressure not to all sit around a table while one person tucks into their antipasto could prompt the rest of the diners to order more courses than they expected.

If you want to avoid this then you ought to eat your damn vegetables, by which we mean fill up on foods with fibre instead.

The TikToker has not been the only person to explain the science-y bit behind why restaurants give you free bread.

Over on Food Republic, they explained that filling up on bread and salty butter could also help make you more thirsty and lead to you ordering an extra drink.

Meanwhile, they added that even if you fill up on bread beforehand and feel like you've prematurely stuffed yourself, that feeling will wear off in about an hour 'just in time for you to feel hungry again by dessert'.

There's been many a meal where the table has collectively agreed not to have dessert only for that second pang of hunger to creep in and lead you to decide that yes, you will have the sticky toffee pudding with a scoop of ice cream on the side after all.

"Hey, you ever wonder why they're giving out free food?" "Shut up and pass the butter." (Getty Stock Photo)
"Hey, you ever wonder why they're giving out free food?" "Shut up and pass the butter." (Getty Stock Photo)

Of course, there's more to this than simple biology, as a restaurant giving you something for free is more likely to make you feel happy and think well of the place.

It's been a much discussed topic over the years, and one person who used to work in a restaurant said it was because customers were 'a bit cranky' when they were hungry, and it just helped soothe things over.

Someone else who'd worked in the industry said people eating the bread were likely to 'throw some wine in on top of it', and the profit margins on wine were greater than on a bread roll.

However, plenty of people commenting on the TikTok video insisted that the idea really didn't work for them as it made them feel 'full' and 'can barely eat my meal' if they fill up beforehand.

Do you buy the claimed science and psychology behind restaurants giving out free bread, or do you believe there's really no such thing as a free lunch?

Featured Image Credit: TikTok/@cowgirl.crystal/Getty Stock Photo

Topics: Food And Drink, Science, Business