The beef on that burger is costing restaurants more this year, but asking customers to pay for the ketchup or mayo they squirt on top is not the way to offset high prices. According to a recent survey by the Chicago-based NPD Group, over 80 percent of consumers said “no” when asked if they would be willing to pay a small additional fee for condiments. About 16 percent of respondents agreed that they would spend a little extra for a condiment, but 25 cents was about the limit.
“Charging for condiments carries more of a risk than any revenue benefit a restaurant operator would derive …,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. In fact, about half the consumers surveyed said they would go to another restaurant rather than pay for a condiment that has always been free.