1/2 Full or 1/2 Empty?

Ben the Blogger posts a question for the Bubba Gump Corporation. After ordering a juice spritzer without ice at the movie-based restaurant he was surprised to receive a glass that was half full.

I’m an eternal optimist, but in this case I think his glass was half empty.

You can read about his "interaction" here.

I have a question for Bubba Gump, too:  why?

So readers, we all dine out and some of us even work in the service industry. I’m interested in your opinion on this. What do you think?


  1. says

    I think in this case, the company probably has a policy that was intended for alcoholic drinks, which I can understand. Liquor costs a lot of money, and if you were to order a rum and Coke with ice, then pour the liquid contents out into another glass, it would be half full but with the same amount of liquor and Coke. Fair enough.

    Unfortunately the company has failed to make ammendments to its blanket policy, IMHO, and because they are a corporation, individual servers and managers may not be allowed to deviate from the policy. At a mom and pop place, the managers tend to have more freedom.

    I used to work at Haagen Dazs and we had to scoop out exactly 4-ounce scoops. Customers would get angry about the small size and demand more, but I had to say no. When I went to work at a mom/pop cafe in San Francisco, the owner was more lenient about the ice cream scoop sizes and nearly everything else.

    The bottom line is that this sucks, and corporate companies like this one need to review their policies. But be careful not to shoot the messenger.

  2. Steve says

    Wow. That’s so messed up. I was a counter server at California Pizza Kitchen for a while and the only time we measured out drinks was with wine. We had a glass behind the counter that was measured to exactly the proper amount and we were always supposed to set it next to the glass we were pouring and make sure that it was at the same level — but never with any other drink.

    This is just stupid. The drink doesn’t involve any top-shelf alcohol or anything of significant expense, so just fill the damn thing to the top. It’s not like he’s asking for free refills on it. Good Christ. Stupid.

  3. says

    There’s a new practice out there (Ruth Reichel wrote about it but I couldn’t find the link) about restaurants charging extra for cocktails without ice since presumbly they pour in more liquor.

    I guess no one thinks about how expensive it is to maintain an ice machine and the power to run it.

    It’s stupid.
    People wonder why restaurants go out of business so fast and so often and that’s why. They make dumb decisions all the time. Some restaurant a few years back served a man an omelette that he said was too salty. They refused to make him another one so he refused to pay and left. They called the police and had him arrested. He ended up being a lawyer. Oops.

    Needless the say, the restaurant got a lot of bad pr and eventually closed. And how much do 3 eggs cost?

    While it’s interesting blog reading, that fellow should write to the restaurant to let the higher-ups know, since the waitress is most likely just doing what she’s told following some insane cost-per-drink formula that some consulatant was paid thousands of dollars to provide them. A well-run restaurant, or any business, listens to its customers.

    Except in France where they don’t have to.

    (And there’s no ice anyways.)

  4. says

    Maybe I give people too much credit, but I’m hoping this is a misintrepretation of policy. I can’t even imagine any corporation would have such a policy on non-alcoholic beverages.

    I pray (and strongly suspect) the server was misinformed and unwilling to investigate and/or question her understanding of the policy. If that is indeed the policy of Bubba Gump and they stand behind it–they deserve to go out of business from stupidity.

  5. says

    i could only laugh at that one…i haven’t seen that before, and i get a lot of issues come up regarding the beverage thing, as lots of drinks cause my asthma to kick in.

  6. Paul says

    This is a comical situation.

    I would like to take the opportunity to correct a misconception expressed by some of these other comments.

    “Liquor costs a lot of money”

    Let’s take the example of a Rum & Coke – I’m currently looking at the wholesale price list of the distributor in my state that sells Bacardi.
    A 750mL (roughly 25 onces) bottle of 80 proof Bacardi Gold costs a restaurant $10.80 – that breaks down to approximately $0.43 an ounce.

    Even if the bartender pours a little heavy, a rocks glass of Rum & Coke will only have about 2 ounces of rum – so the cost for the liquor is $0.86…
    Typically a cocktail in a restaurant will cost between $6 – $10.

    So, if you order a Rum & Coke for $6, the net profit is upwards of $5 per drink.

    This assumes that restaurant even paid full price for the bottle in the first place… Often liquor wholesalers will comp restaurant and bars bottles of liquor in exchange for buying larger quantities of beer or wine, or for agreeing to work predominantly with the distributor, not to mention quantity discounts.

    Still think liquor is expensive?

    Another example – a 750 mL botle of Stoli costs $17.58, coming out to $0.70 an ounce. The three ounces of vodka in that $10 martini you had with dinner last night cost a whopping $2.10!

  7. says

    I almost always order my drink without ice, no matter what it is.

    I’ve never had to pay half-price for a drink half-filled with ice.

    Should I really pay more for half the drink?

  8. says

    I almost always order my drink without ice, no matter what it is.

    I’ve never had to pay half-price for a drink half-filled with ice.

    Should I really pay more for half the drink?

  9. says

    Hi Matt,

    I am shopping for a camera for food and travel photography. Can you please share what camera you used? I am doing a survey of my favorite blogs…thanks. :)

  10. says

    I agree that it’s lame, and that the majority of people order drinks WITH ice (especially in Florida) and therefore their overall cost for fillin’ her up wouldn’t be astronomical.

    However: This is a perception issue. It’s the very same amount of drink as he had with the ice. It’s just that it looks like it’s less because of the glass it was in. The fact is, he paid for the same drink as the schmuck at the next table who had ice, but was asking for more.

    BUT-he’s the customer and was upset about it, there was no alcohol (and even if there was) so…give it to him. The energy wasted on arguing about it is worth 100 drinks without ice.


  11. says

    regardless of the perception vs. the reality, *my* reality is that i’d be pissed and feel cheated and slighted. and this coming from someone who can’t remember ever ordering a drink (other than wine) without copious ice.

    i’m an aries, so it’s all about me.

  12. says

    Someone commented on the original post about glass size, and I’d like to expand on that idea. It sounds to me like the annoyance initially was due to the perception of paying full price for half a portion. I understand that – it gives the feeling of being cheated. But if he had been served with a smaller glass that was full to the brim, without ever seeing the original glass size, perhaps he’d only chide himself for ordering (and paying for!) such a really small and expensive drink.

    The rest of the experience – the server’s refusal to bend the policy to accommodate a customer’s wishes, the follow-up free drink, etc – that’s borderline hilarious, albeit unintentionally so.

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