Ketchup Packets

Any theory as to why the ketchup packets that come with our food in fast food and take-out retaurants are so small? Does anybody ever use just one? Instead of giving each person 3 or 4 wouldn’t it be more cost efficiant to just make larger packets? And why are the minimum wagers behind the counter so stingy with them? What do they care? How much of a restaurant’s food costs do these little packets actually represent?

Aon Dia.
Aon Tir.
Aon Ite.

Of course you only use one, when you make those ketchup bombs that explode when they land on the floor :slight_smile:

Not really. You can use ketchup on small fries, medium fries, large fries, onion rings, and, if you want, more ketchup in your burger. Every one of these needs a different amount of ketchep. Therefore, many smaller packets would be more cost-efficient (I think that’s what it’s called) than one large packet.

Same thing as to why it costs $1.00 for a medium drink when you can get a 2-liter at the store for 75 cents. They shift the cost to their other products.

Just a guess… maybe to cut down on ketchup waste. Sometimes I use just one, as others do no doubt, why give someone a 4oz. packet (for example) when 1oz is all they want? I guess the thinking was if someone does want 4oz worth, give them (or they can help themselves) a few more packets. As for the stingy workers, it depends on the worker… sometimes I never ask for ketchup and end up with a dozen in the bag.

I once worked as a cook in a cafateria style setting. We kept a plastic bottle of Hershey’s chocolate syrup next to the milk dispenser, so people could make their own chocolate milk. I had to clean and refill these bottles from large, gallon sized metal cans. It wasn’t my favorite task.

As an experiment, I began closing the spouts, and replacing the clear plastic lids that snap on top of them, every time I happened to walk by. Chocolate syrup consumption was cut by about 30%. It was just too much trouble to juggle a tray of food, open the bottle, and dispense the milk.

This experiment demonstrates that:

  1. By making it a tiny bit more difficult, you can save dramatically on food costs (If you don’t think McD’s bean counters begrudge that ketchup, think again).

  2. I do wierd things when I’m bored, and

  3. I have no business working with the public.


“Oxen are slow, but the earth is patient.” – some Chinese guy

I know for a fact, that much like everything else in the corporate world, that those packets have been downsized over the years.This is not my imagination, the flashbacks stopped years ago.As a liberal ketchup user, this is an issue that has tortured me for a long time. Thank goodness I finally have an outlet for this. My protests for fast food franchises to stop linking wages to reduced packet distribution have fallen on deaf ears.Some time in the distant future our civilazations collapse will not be attributed to some cataclysmic event, but to the control over our everyday lives gradually given over to the bean counting wiennies

Many (perhaps all- I don’t go to the cholesterol castle that much) of the local fast food places in my area have pumps at a condiments counter, allowing me to splash a little on my burger, or pump out a half-pint for my fries, depending on my needs.

I suspect their employees give you an attitude (which we perceive as acting stingy) when you ask for more only because it’s one more thing they have to do (minimum wage = minimum effort). They’re already surely enough from having to wear those Star Trek uniforms.

I suppose I meant surly. Or possibly Shirley.

Another item to watch out for, I noticed in Utah (last time I was there) that the McD’s charged you for any “mcnugget” sauce past the usual ammount and they had a schart as to what orders got in amounts of dipping sauce rations. They explained too many people were using BBQ sauce for their fries instead of ketsup… god forbid!

To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

Far be it for me to stick up for fast-food places, but might there not be an issue related to durability of ketchup packages declining as they increase in size? It seems to me that in order to get the same degree of toughness in the package with a larger package, it would have to be thicker. I don’t know if this would take up more packaging material overall, and I suspect that this is one of those calculus problems that requires actual thought to find the optimal volume:package density ratio. However, it might be a factor in the sizing of ketchup packets.

(Of course, it still could be an issue of McGreed.)

I don’t know where you’re from, but 'round here, they are anything BUT stingy with their ketchup packets. Nine times out of ten I ask for a few packets, and the drone at the drive up window reaches into a bucket and comes out with an incredibly large handfull of the the damn things. I’m talking fifteen or twenty packets. I say “No! I want 3!” and they look at me like I’m nuts. But I’m the type of person who never cleans out her car, and the last thing I want is ten ketchup packets worming their way under a seat, waiting to explode during the next hot spell.

Nine times out of ten I ask for a few packets, and the drone at the drive up window reaches into a bucket and comes out with an incredibly large handfull of the the damn things.

–I bet it wasn’t at a McD’s. Unless they’ve changed. McDonald’s really drums the message of cost control. I remember the following sign (one of many)in the drive-up section.
"When a customer asks for extra ketchup ask how many packets–and give that many.