Your take on calories posted by restaurants?

What do you guys think about the calories posted on menus and such? For example I order the pasta primavera in a tin pan (not bread bowl) and the online nutrition guide shows the whole thing as 540 calories. And I’m looking at all this penne pasta in a cream sauce and I’m just thinking how?? Am I fooling myself here??
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Replies

  • cpalumbo89
    cpalumbo89 Posts: 71 Member
    From Dominoes! Sorry I meant to say
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 9,266 Member
    Where are you eating this meal, and is the one listed in the database from the same place?
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,879 Member
    They are allowed some margin for error, but they legally can't be massively off.
  • Cassandraw3
    Cassandraw3 Posts: 1,214 Member
    It says 550 cal per 337 grams. I believe by law they are allowed to be up to 20% off (this would mean a calorie range of 440-660). If you want to be more accurate, you could verify with a scale how much you actually received. Based on the macros listed, it adds up to 551 calories. I would think it is fairly accurate.

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  • CSARdiver
    CSARdiver Posts: 6,257 Member
    edited January 2019
    If concerned I add a fudge factor to restaurants and insert 1.2 in MFP rather than 1 to account for the 20% margin of error.
  • Runaroundafieldx2
    Runaroundafieldx2 Posts: 233 Member
    I find them to be there or there abouts in the UK.

    I'd like to believe it's less as my favourite burger meal is 1900 calories :D
  • happytree923
    happytree923 Posts: 463 Member
    I've heard a theory that the calorie counts from massive chain restaurants probably are fairly accurate, because the recipes are strictly followed so the food is consistent at every location. Plus it adds up if chefs at many locations are randomly adding an extra 1/4 cup of sauce to a dish or whatever. Just make sure that you have the correct serving size (nutrition info may be for a partial dish) and if it's a meal with sides make sure you have the calories for everything (don't assume fries are included in the calorie count even if they come with the food automatically).
  • Editme12
    Editme12 Posts: 71 Member
    I work in a chain restaurant. I asked my head cook about this once, and he said "I've never met a cook who didn't use more oil than they need to." So now when I order stuff I request no or light oil/ butter etc to be safe, and count it the same. Many things get pre-weighed, like pasta and sauce, but it's still humans making recipes.

    I also used to work in a Domino's. The one I worked in, the employees had heavy hands and guesstimated.
  • Noreenmarie1234
    Noreenmarie1234 Posts: 7,493 Member
    I've worked at various chains and we never measured anything, we just eyeballed, so it is easy to be off. A lot of workers would even add extra cheese/meat/butter/etc hoping to please the customer. (Moes, chipotle, taco bell, corner bakery cafe are some of the places I worked at)
  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,443 Member
    It says 550 cal per 337 grams. I believe by law they are allowed to be up to 20% off (this would mean a calorie range of 440-660). If you want to be more accurate, you could verify with a scale how much you actually received. Based on the macros listed, it adds up to 551 calories. I would think it is fairly accurate.

    b3rm6n2wm9jy.png

    Seems like an easy way to verify - weigh your pasta.
  • mmapags
    mmapags Posts: 8,937 Member
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I've worked at various chains and we never measured anything, we just eyeballed, so it is easy to be off. A lot of workers would even add extra cheese/meat/butter/etc hoping to please the customer. (Moes, chipotle, taco bell, corner bakery cafe are some of the places I worked at)

    I've worked in a couple of kitchens and a pizza joint...not only did we measure, everything was weighed to the gram on digital scales for cost control.

    I agree. Every restaurant kitchen that I worked in did this and I also consulted/ sold a technology to chains like Outback, Chili's, Fridays etc. They all had development kitchens where the recipes were formulated and the specs were passed down to the store level. If portion control is not being managed, that reflects on the management of that location. Every kitchen I worked in managed this and every kitchen I ran did also.

    There could well be an issue of incorrect calorie estimates on the portions in some instances. But, based on many years of experience, I just don't buy the widespread over portioning happening.
  • hesn92
    hesn92 Posts: 5,967 Member
    edited January 2019
    I just trust them. I'm sure they're close enough. (Side note, I don't really eat out too often, maybe once a week) Also I find that sometimes I order meals that have garnishments and random things on the side that I don't eat, so the calories would be off because they include those things. Like i got a plate of nachos and then on the side of the platter it had a smear of sour cream, guacamole, and pico. I only used a little bit of each so the calories I logged was probably overstated.
  • mewickla
    mewickla Posts: 72 Member
    edited January 2019
    I've worked at Arby's, Pizza Ranch, Subway, Starbucks, Tom Thumb Donuts, and Pop Century Resort (Disney Dining). Things definitely weren't meticulously measured - we'd only pretend to care when a manager was around. I'd probably assume the extra 20%. :D
  • Noreenmarie1234
    Noreenmarie1234 Posts: 7,493 Member
    edited January 2019
    cwolfman13 wrote: »
    I've worked at various chains and we never measured anything, we just eyeballed, so it is easy to be off. A lot of workers would even add extra cheese/meat/butter/etc hoping to please the customer. (Moes, chipotle, taco bell, corner bakery cafe are some of the places I worked at)

    I've worked in a couple of kitchens and a pizza joint...not only did we measure, everything was weighed to the gram on digital scales for cost control.

    I am SO glad to hear this because I've always been wary of restaurant calories because of the places I worked at. I am so glad it is not the norm. We WERE "suppose" to be weighing and measuring and everyone did when the managers were around... but once they weren't around no one did. I think it was just the people at the restaurants I was at.
  • seltzermint555
    seltzermint555 Posts: 10,742 Member
    I assume it's just a rough estimate and although I do log restaurant food "as posted" calorie counts in MFP, I try to limit my restaurant meals anyway - so it's not every single day that I'm going over a bit in calories.

    OP, I completely understand your comment on the pasta primavera at Dominos! I have had the exact same thought with that. The last time I ate it, I had 900 calories left for dinner due to exercise and logged that 540 or whatever it is and just left it because I felt like it was around 700-800 probably.
  • seltzermint555
    seltzermint555 Posts: 10,742 Member
    edited January 2019
    hesn92 wrote: »
    I just trust them. I'm sure they're close enough. (Side note, I don't really eat out too often, maybe once a week) Also I find that sometimes I order meals that have garnishments and random things on the side that I don't eat, so the calories would be off because they include those things. Like i got a plate of nachos and then on the side of the platter it had a smear of sour cream, guacamole, and pico. I only used a little bit of each so the calories I logged was probably overstated.

    I agree with this. I am not a low carb dieter but I often leave behind my tortillas or half bun/bread and stuff like that. I wish there was an easy way to *accurately* know how much to subtract from the calorie count for those things. A large slice of wheat bread I eat at home has 60 calories but according to McDonald's their sad little bun on a McDouble is 150-ish calories. So I guess if I eat 1/2 bun, subtract 75 cal...but I'm not sure if that's accurate.

    I also hate the way some fast food restaurants list calorie counts for combo meals and it's like a 460-1550 calorie range, I think that would really throw some people off & most of it is assuming you get the large Coca-Cola for your beverage which has crazy calories.