Consumer Trends

Consumers balk at paying for ketchup and mayo

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.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Restaurants have a hot opportunity to improve their reputation as employers

Reality Check: New mandates for protecting workers from dangerous on-the-job heat are about to be dropped on restaurants and other employers. The industry could greatly help its labor plight by acting first.


Some McDonald's customers are doubling up on the discounts

The Bottom Line: In some markets, customers can get the fast-food chain's $5 value meal for $4. The situation illustrates a key rule in the restaurant business: Customers are savvy and will find loopholes.


Ignore the Red Lobster problem. Sale-leasebacks are not all that bad

The decade-old sale-leaseback at the seafood chain has raised questions about the practice. But experts say it remains a legitimate financing option for operators when done correctly.


More from our partners