Why are restaurants in the Philippines such a ripoff?! | Food and Drinks | PinoyExchange

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  1. #1

    Why are restaurants in the Philippines such a ripoff?!

    Today at Shakey's, a pizza chain in the Philippines, my gf ordered a meal consisting of fish sticks, fries and calamari rings. It turned out to be a small portion spread out over a big plate. Sheesh. Yet the cost of it was 317p. That's like $7, sheesh. In the US, for $7 you can get a buffet lunch special at Pizza Hut with all you can eat salad and pizza. Sheesh. Even at Olive Garden, you can get lunch specials for around that price, which includes unlimited refills on salad and breadsticks. Yet amazingly, Shakey's is usually crowded!

    Why are restaurants in the Philippines such a ripoff? Why do they charge higher prices in America and give you smaller portions and lower quality food? Sheesh. Eating out is often such a disappointment in the Philippines!

    Another big ripoff is the Italiannis fine dining chain in the Philippines. These restaurants are decorated inside like a wanna-be Olive Garden, but their prices are the most ridiculous I've ever seen. Anything you order under 300p will be baby size. To get a medium sized meal (by Filipino standards, not American), you gotta spend at least 400 or 500p. Sheesh, for that price you can eat at a nice restaurant in Carmel, CA or Fishermen's Wharf in Monterey, CA, which has some of the best seafood in the world. Compared to such places, Italiannis is a total joke. What a total ripoff.

    Why do middle/upper class Filipinos keep such places in business that are total ripoffs, as though the prices were worth the value to them, when they are clearly not?

    Why would a third world country charge more in restaurants than a first world country? I don't get it. Expats retire in the Philippines for the cheaper cost of living supposedly, but when you see the restaurant prices in the Philippines for what you get, you shake your head and doubt whether that is true or not.

    It's so ridiculous to think that if you wanna eat well in the Philippines, you gotta pay MORE than you would in the US! Dang!

    Most of the cheap food in the Philippines is not even edible to foreigners, unlike other Asian countries.

    Electronics are also a ripoff in the Philippines. Cameras and laptops are usually 30 or 40 percent more expensive than in the US.

  2. #2
    An expat friend in the Philippines told me this. Do you all agree with it?

    http://www.happierabroad.com/forum/v...ic.php?t=10396

    They raise the prices because they know middle class and above Filipinos won't go to cheaper options usually. So when there is a lesser market share of people that can actually afford the food plus nice environment to eat in away from the "common" dregs of Filipino society, wealthy locals and foreigners will more than be happy to pay inflated food prices in exchange for inferior food quality and service.

    As you know there are limited decent eating establishments anywhere in the Philippines, as long as it is a chain store that is Filipino owned, as long it has a fake enough cheap atmosphere of decency than it will attract locals. Most don't know the difference between what is mediocre and decent anyways.

    Every large Filipino chain place sucks, but Filipinos are brainwashed into thinking they are great! I.e: Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Deli France, Gilligan's, Gerry's, Shakey's, Italiannis, Mang Inasal, etc.

    The only places that are tolerable for take out is Andoks chicken and some other one called Baliwag something or other. But they are mainly just roasted chicken or pork for take out, not sit in.

    I almost never patronize Filipino owned chains unless I absolutely have no other choice, you should boycott them too.

  3. #3
    Fully agree with this thread ....... like most industries here in the country, the food business is mostly made up of conglomerates & monopolies.

    As stated by the TS, one has to pay a heavy premium if you want to eat something really nice here in the Phillipines ..... ex. so-called gourmet burgers (which is really the norm in most other countries) are quite expensive here.

    I recall a story from years ago ...... someone had noticed that the size of Dunkin' donuts served near a famous hotel frequented by expats, was way bigger compared to those served in malls (at the same price point).

    It was concluded that the bigger size is the normal/regular size that Filipinos should've been getting all along ..... it's just we've been conditioned for so long a time by these greedy corporations.


    OT: Very similar to the way the few ISP providers run the business here in the Philippines ..... we've long been conditioned to accept the P1,000 per 1mbps pricing scheme.

    Whereas in most other countries, it's way cheaper at much greater speeds.

  4. #4
    Your idol is a has been balthier's Avatar
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    I agree.
    Isama mo na rin yung false advertisement. Akala mo ang laki sa commercial pero kapag inorder mo na, akala mo napakalaki mong ***** at naniwala ka na ganun nga kalaki ang ine-expect mo na nakita mo sa commercial. Tapos mahal pa.

    We have been brainwashed long time ago. Kapag expensive and lugar na kinainan mo, feeling mo sosyal ka at masarap nga ang kinain mo. Mahal kasi.

    Third world country tayo but our fast food chains will compete with the prices abroad and yet the portion of their servings is pathetic. Kapag may nabasa kang 'good for 2 people' - ibig sabihin nun good for 2 people ang price.

    Some restaurants will give fair servings but with a price.

    Kapag sinabi na malaki ang serving, you better prepare for the bill. Your mommy better give you your allowance asap.

  5. #5
    @TS: I haven't been to the US in a long time but from my travels to other countries, food in the Philippines isn't very expensive. For example, a good meal at a non-fine dining restaurant would cost me at least AU$20 in Australia, EU20 in Western Europe, 40RMB in China. Fine-dining would cost several times more.

    In the Philippines, I can get a decent meal for around P200 at one of those fastfood chicken places. If Filipino food is your thing, you can eat at one of those grills for P300.

    An 8-course degustation menu at a high-end fine dining french restaurant in the Philippines only costs P2000 - a bargain compared to other countries which would charge at least $100. Our Japanese food at Little Tokyo is also very good and prices are reasonable. We also have japanese buffets at Yakaimix or Saisaki for P600. Something similar in Shanghai would cost at least P800.

    So what I'm saying is the Philippines isn't cheap but isn't that expensive. It's just that the US is the cheapest place in the world for many things including cars, electronics, internet and sometimes food.

    But I agree we lack high quality mid range food in the Philippines. We either get crap fast food or we have to shell out a lot of money for high end food. I think the our restaurant scene will improves as the number of Filipinos continue to travel abroad and experience better quality food abroad.

    PS. Italiannis and Shakeys suck. For fastfood, I prefer Sbarro. For really good (but expensive) italian go to Va Bene at the Petron on Pasay Road Makati.

  6. #6
    The economies of both countries are world's apart. What is just par for the course there is considered a luxury here (ever remember a time when M&M's was a luxury here in the Philippines? Same holds for most food services). Given such a rift and the local's desire for access to such, restaurant owners capitalize on such opportunity, therefore requiring you to pay a premium.

    Also, the post above me is correct when it comes to price of food in the US. If you are not aware of yet, the largest exporter of food (I say this generally because if we go to specific type of food, it would be a different country per type) in the world is the United States. Mechanized farming methods assure of high yield at low cost.

    Going back to price you pay for restaurant food, the same probably holds true with other third world countries struggling for economic stability. I think with proper awareness and some restaurant owner actually having the guts to lower their price point while offering better taste, then market forces will force everyone else to compete by either increasing serving size or lowering price.

  7. #7
    Just something on the side, I checked the link to the forum where it was posted, and the links inside the website itself. I do not understand why the site owner got some pics of girls in the Philippines where some of them were lifted from personal sites (Facebook/Friendster) of friends and claiming he dated these girls, although I never got to meet the site starter himself.

  8. #8
    One of the biggest factor of them all ... BIR

  9. #9
    Let's see...
    In the Philippines, Hershey's/Snickers are called chocolates.
    While in the US, these are called candy bars.
    You can see that us Filipinos consider these as luxury items (which are usually bought at Duty Free Shops) while in the US, even school children can easily buy them.

  10. #10
    Hi, Winston.

    I've avoided Itallianis because of rumors such as this. Yeah it's highway robbery. You know, the next time you visit here, please do PM me so I can recommend you to places worth eating, or PM my account at Happier Abroad. Thanks!

  11. #11
    I agree with TS lalo na yung sa Italiannis, ang mahal, 1 time lang ako kumain dun para itry lang... imagine medium size na bake mac for 400-500 pesos ata tas shake na 200, P700 agad, hinding hindi na makaka-ulit sa resto na yan...tsk tsk, eto lang yung resto na pinagisisihan ko after ko kumain, sabi ko sana nag Jollibee na lang ako marami pa ako nakain sa P700 na bill ko...tsk tsk, kaya pang nakakakita ako ng Italiannis, nasusuklam ako iniisp ko daming pa ring kumakain dun eh ang konti naman ng servings nila...masarap pero hindi mo rin naman masasabi na sobrang sarap talaga...pagkamahal...sory can't help but to rant

  12. #12
    Yes, I think it's a ripoff for italian but not for others.

    For chinese, in Hongkong, I paid 250 HKD for two set meal whereas sa President Tea House I paid 2000 pesos for my entire family meal, 5 of us, drinks/desserts included..

    A 3 piece chicken in Dubai will cost you around 20 Dhs (230 pesos) whereas a two-piece meal in KFC Phils is around 140 pesos, big difference.

    However, if you will try to look around, marami rin maayos and affordable like KKK in SM North. Treffpunk along EDSA near Cubao. I love Gerry's Grill..

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by wazdog View Post
    @TS: I haven't been to the US in a long time but from my travels to other countries, food in the Philippines isn't very expensive. For example, a good meal at a non-fine dining restaurant would cost me at least AU$20 in Australia, EU20 in Western Europe, 40RMB in China. Fine-dining would cost several times more.

    In the Philippines, I can get a decent meal for around P200 at one of those fastfood chicken places. If Filipino food is your thing, you can eat at one of those grills for P300.

    An 8-course degustation menu at a high-end fine dining french restaurant in the Philippines only costs P2000 - a bargain compared to other countries which would charge at least $100. Our Japanese food at Little Tokyo is also very good and prices are reasonable. We also have japanese buffets at Yakaimix or Saisaki for P600. Something similar in Shanghai would cost at least P800.

    So what I'm saying is the Philippines isn't cheap but isn't that expensive. It's just that the US is the cheapest place in the world for many things including cars, electronics, internet and sometimes food.

    But I agree we lack high quality mid range food in the Philippines. We either get crap fast food or we have to shell out a lot of money for high end food. I think the our restaurant scene will improves as the number of Filipinos continue to travel abroad and experience better quality food abroad.

    PS. Italiannis and Shakeys suck. For fastfood, I prefer Sbarro. For really good (but expensive) italian go to Va Bene at the Petron on Pasay Road Makati.
    I'm glad that you guys here see the obvious too regarding ripoff prices in Philippines restaurants. But then again, why are Shakeys and Italiannis so crowded with middle/upper class Filipinos? Why do they go there? If something is a ripoff, shouldn't it go out of business, logically speaking?

    wazdog, I agree with you to a point. You can get good deals on food in the Philippines, but you have to be informed to get them, and very selective of where you go to eat. The point is, you can't just walk into a random restaurant in the Philippines and get a good deal most of the time.

    Thus, you can't assume things when it comes to Philippines restaurant chains. You have to know where you're going. So I have to become picky and can't relax about my choices more, cause if I do, then most of the time, I will be disappointed.

    Also, since I'm a vegetarian, my food choices are quite limited too.

    There is one good chain in the Philippines with great deals on great food - Mexicalis. I eat there often when I can. You can get a burrito with chips for 145p and it is filling and tasty. There are many items for vegetarians too. That is one of the few good deals that I know of. Sbarro is another good deal too. It's not cheap but it's filling and more reasonably priced than Shakeys. They have vegetarian choices as well.

    I still don't get why Shakeys is so crowded. Since they give you such small portions (their spaghetti plates look like toddler size!) at high prices, shouldn't they have gone out of business long ago? How can they rip people off and continue to thrive? That's bizarro world! lol

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by crocopie View Post
    Hi, Winston.

    I've avoided Itallianis because of rumors such as this. Yeah it's highway robbery. You know, the next time you visit here, please do PM me so I can recommend you to places worth eating, or PM my account at Happier Abroad. Thanks!
    You're on HappierAbroad? How can I PM you there if I don't know your user name there? What is your user name there?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by WWu777 View Post
    I still don't get why Shakeys is so crowded. Since they give you such small portions (their spaghetti plates look like toddler size!) at high prices, shouldn't they have gone out of business long ago? How can they rip people off and continue to thrive? That's bizarro world! lol
    I'm no fan of Shakey's, and I haven't eaten there in years, but at the risk of oversimplifying, their fried chicken is pretty tasty. I reckon most tables at Shakey's will have a basket of fried chicken instead of a pizza. Any place with good accessible fried chicken will most likely draw crowds. See: KFC and Jollibee's Chickenjoy.

    Italianni's...I can't justify that, because I don't like their food or their prices either. It's a foreign franchise, so I'm guessing they also pay for the franchise fees, as with the other overpriced Bistro Group restaurants with forgettable food (TGI Friday's, Fish & Co.).

    I used to go to Amici di Don Bosco for decent mid-range Italian, when they still had "di Don Bosco". These days, if I want a good Italian meal, I've accepted that I'll have to splurge a little.

    Interesting topic raised by the TS, but what I'd really like to know is, why are Filipino restaurants abroad such a ripoff?

  16. #16
    ^ I also find Bistro Group Restaurants overpriced. A platter for around 1k?!? Ridiculous!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by WWu777 View Post
    You're on HappierAbroad? How can I PM you there if I don't know your user name there? What is your user name there?
    baletetree, ynwa

  18. #18
    Your idol is a has been balthier's Avatar
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    Buy a regular hamburger here and compare it from a regular hamburger abroad. Ours is as thin as carbon paper and as small as it can get. Kapag kinakain mo na, kelangan dagdagan mo ng imagination na malaki ang kinakain mo and count your blessings na lang sa buhay.

  19. #19
    availability and nature of ingredients..
    franchising fee..
    tax rates..
    our culture that we don't give tips..
    high electricity rates..

    I agree with illumina.. if you consider the situation the other way around, its all the same..
    at walang calamansi sa Jolibee sa US.

    @bogus123 - some items are considered luxury items when manufactured/branded abroad, which ever country you go..
    parang yung tuyo sa US, luxury item sa kanila (fil-ams/pinoy) kase asa kang may magbenta nun dun.

    don't get me wrong guys.. I also find the food servings here in the Phils smaller than advertised, i just don't care anymore..

    sa baranggay na lang ako magreklamo

  20. #20
    I agree with your points about Italiannis, never dined there, really a riff-off. I was once treated by a friend there and I ordered a salad for 400++, really ridiculous and to think that the taste was forgettable! I would have been much satisfied with KFC's Asian Salad @ 100php! too much hype over this resto. I agree that some just dine here to pretend they're classy and can afford. duh. as for Shakey's, I eat there for their spaghetti and chicken not for their pizza.

    IMHO, I think you also have to factor in personal preferences on food taste that's why some still eat at Shakey's or pinoy fast food chains. I for myself love Jollibee (their spaghetti and chickenjoy) and I hate Sbarro just because I don't like my pasta on the sour side - their baked zitti is ok though. before I eat out and shell out some money, I usually get reviews from the net so I'm sure to get my money's worth.

    Quote Originally Posted by WWu777 View Post

    Electronics are also a ripoff in the Philippines. Cameras and laptops are usually 30 or 40 percent more expensive than in the US.
    you have to remember that these electronic products mostly come from abroad, so taxes are way up. Most Pinoys opt to have their gadgets bought by their relatives or friends in the US because it's cheaper.

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