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Are the US [and Canada] the only countries that understand free refills?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jason L., Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Jason L.

    Jason L. Well-Known Member

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    I've been in Argentina and Chile the past few months. Not being able to get a Diet Coke large enough to wash a small child in and a mountain of ice has been quite disappointing.

    I was in a Tony Roma's yesterday in Santiago, Chile. They gave me a glass the size of a small, highball, cocktail glass. I could have finished it in one gulp. No refill, as usual.

    I ran into a guy in the restaurant industry that said it costs 1 cent to produce a fountain soda and is the most profitable item on the menu.

    So why has the rest of the world not followed our lead and embraced the free refill?
     
  2. Jimi C

    Jimi C Well-Known Member

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    Didnt you answer your own question?

    "I ran into a guy in the restaurant industry that said it costs 1 cent to produce a fountain soda and is the most profitable item on the menu."
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Not really. His point is since the fountain sodas are so cheap to produce and have such a huge mark-up to begin with...the US (and Canadian) stores use them as loss-leaders to entice people to dine there and also buy some food. They are still making huge profits when giving free refills of the beverages. By giving away something so cheap, they can then make further big profits by getting you to spend more there.

    Honestly, free soda refills are a big deal to my wife and I who are quite fond of our diet sodas. "No free refills" means we are not probably going to be returning to an eatery.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    That wouldn't be considered a loss-leader. You actually have to lose money on the item for it to be a loss-leader. But you are right, the restaurants figure they can give free refills as an incentive to get the customer to buy more food and in doing so they still make a profit on the soda since it's so cheap. Plus since it has become the norm here, very few restaurants would want to buck the trend and possibly lose business.
     
  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Yeah. That would fall into the category of brain fart. Let's, instead, think of soda refills as the "anti-lossleader." [​IMG]
     
  6. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    Jason, out of curiosity. How much soda do you and your wife drink per day?
     
  7. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I'm not Jason,...but I'm the one who mentioned my wife. So, in case you were asking me, I'll give you the answer of upwards of a couple liters a day apiece at the high end of the scale. Possibly more certain days.
     
  8. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    Oops. Got the names mixed up again. Sorry! [​IMG]

    But a couple of litres per day at the top? Each? Yikes! Even if you limit yourself to only one litre per day on average, that's still a lot!

    I say this because three years ago, I quit drinking soft drinks cold turkey. I didn't have much of a choice. My system was starting to scream bloody murder, and I felt I had to stop before I started to have serious health issues.

    Six months later, with all the fizz flushed out of my system, I couldn't drink any more soft drinks at all! Even a six ounce glass would give me a splitting headache for the rest of the day!

    Since then, I've become a bit of a crusader against all forms of soft drinks. The stuff is simply too hazardous for your health. And I'm not ready to trust the artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas either.

    So what I'm asking to all of you who complain about the lack of refills is simply:

    What if you quit?
     
  9. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. Scott McGillivray

    Scott McGillivray Well-Known Member

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    I have been burned on the no free refills before. It ensures that I will never go back to that restaurant. I mean, I understand if that is all I am having, but if I am eating a dinner and want 2 or 3 glasses of coke, I should not have to pay $1.50 x 3. I notice that the places that do offer free refills really gouge you on the price. I have seen $2.00 to $3.50 for a "bottomless" pop.
    I remember asking at one place back in my hometown if they had free refills...the waitress actually burst out laughing at me and walked away. I looked at my friends and said, "I guess that means no." Never went back there.

    Oh...and I agree that the stuff is evil. I have cut way back on how much I drink, but I am still addicted.

    P.S. Where did you find that picture of the baby and coke?!?! [​IMG]
     
  11. drobbins

    drobbins Well-Known Member

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    I get water all the time. They have money tied up in the water, making ice, labor and the cleaning cost of that glass. And FREE refills!! [​IMG] Total cost $0.00.

    Oh Yea... Sticking it to the man!! [​IMG]
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    We are at risk of derailing this thread...but while I respect your decision to avoid carbonated beverages, the question I have had over the years as I've heard people like yourself crusade against them is: where is your evidence? I have yet to read a single reputable report or medical judgment that says diet soda is bad for you. While I understand the lack of nutritional value, whenever anyone tells me it's no good and I ask "how do you know that?" they are usually at a loss to explain any further.

    Can you, Francois?

    I have also asked a number of doctors and while they advise moderation, they have never been able to detail any specifics about problems with the consumption of diet soda.
     
  13. ThomasC

    ThomasC Well-Known Member

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    All my doctor could say about diet soda is that it may cause starvation syndrome, which could cause you to eat more than you normally would and is likely linked to the lack of calories. Your body is expecting calories from everything that it consumes, and since diet soda has negligible calorie content, the body thinks it's that you're not eating anything and thinks you still need to eat.

    Here is the Wikipedia article on aspartame, the controversial ingredient in some diet sodas: Aspartame controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    As for non-diet sodas, their sugar content is very high. Drinking one 20oz bottle of Coke is like eating a little more than 15 teaspoons of sugar. There are 65 grams of sugar in a 20oz bottle, and there are about 4.2 grams of sugar in a teaspoon.
     
  14. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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  15. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Well-Known Member

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    What really irks me are the nanny-state busybodies who are attempting to ban all-you-can-drink beer happy-hours around here. One place will serve you all the (cheap) draft beer you can drink for a flat $5 charge. They call it "drinkin' with Lincoln" in honor of the portrait on the $5 bill.

    http://media.www.arbiteronline.com/m...-3199748.shtml

     
  16. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Well-Known Member

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    here in Mexico, the only resturants that offer free refills on soda are:

    Costco Cafe
    Carls Jr (Hardees to us southerners)
    Burger King
    Tony Romas (I guess the one in Chile isn't under the same mgmt)
    Chilis (although there is a 3 refill max, and 2 refill max on the "bottomless" chips and salsa - I spent 5 minutes trying to explain bottomless to the server with no avail)

    So i would add a postulation that at least in Mexico, restaurants that originated in the US can give free refills. However, having to pay per soda still doesn't offset the fact that I can eat freshly cooked, extremely tasty food here for much much less than an entree costs in the US. The blue plate special at the neighborhood restaurant is $2.75 USD for an appetizer, soup, main course, dessert, and all you can drink fruit juice - sanitary and yummy. Not to mention a cold bottled beer in a restaurant here is between $1-2 USD.

    Did you get to try Quilmes beer in Argentina? Its pretty good stuff.
     
  17. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I'm like you, Dave. We order water when eating out. Soda for $2.00-$3.00 multiplied by a family of four. I'll take the free water thank-you.
     
  18. DavidJ

    DavidJ Premium
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    We've also moved to only drinking water most of the time unless we just feel like being big spenders. I used to drink way too much Diet Coke and even though I drink less, it is still too much. My wife also drinks more than she probably should, but she's not looking to cut back. So passing on the drinks when eating out helps with that a bit. Of course, the main reason is that it just seems ridiculous to pay $3.00 for a Coke. I was ok with is at $1.99, but they have now past my threshold. You know it is bad when they don't even put the prices on the menu.

    Now in the last decade when I was in Europe for 3+ months with out decent iced tea, it was a different matter. We heard about a Mexican restaurant in Budapest that had real iced tea and decided to seek it out. I spent $20 on iced tea that day and that was in the early 90s. [​IMG]
     
  19. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Well-Known Member

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    You almost sound like a lobbyist! [​IMG]

    I'm aware the health risks of artificial sweeteners haven't been properly researched over the years. But I still prefer to avoid them just in case. Besides, my biggest problem with soft drinks, diet or not, is the headaches they now produce. I'll only drink a soft drink if I have no other option, and only a non-cola one at that.

    And don't get me started on bottled water! Give me the tap water instead! Gallons of it! Even London and Paris tap water! I drank plenty of that stuff with no side-effects whatsoever bloody bordel de merde! [​IMG]

    To be honest, I trust beer and wine a whole lot more than soft drinks even though I can't touch any alcoholic drinks at all because of my family history.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go smoke a joint. [​IMG]
     
  20. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Well-Known Member

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    I used to drink a lot of Cokes but decided to cut back for health reasons--nothing specific, I just always had heard it was bad for you, so I gave it a try. I noticed no change. I went a couple or three months drinking only Sprites (sweetner, yeah, but no caffeine) and only then at meals. Then, I discovered real sugar Dr Peppers and I drink that quite a bit, so I guess I'm sort of back at square one.

    My concern was the idea some have floated that drinking too many soft drinks can lead to diabetes. I've not seen anything to confirm that, but I figured maybe it was due to flooding your body with sugar. The only connection I've seen a doctor make, however, is that too many soft drinks can lead to obesity which can lead to diabetes. Well, I'm thin as a rail, so if the sugar quantity isn't a problem, I figure it's not a real concern for me. I do like the idea of cutting out caffeine, though. But, those devil Dr Peppers say otherwise.

    I've got to go right now, but I just saw Francois' new post. I get headaches all the time and that was part of my reason for cutting out caffeine. A couple of months off the stuff didn't change a thing. If anything, drinking it helps with my headaches. And, I drink plenty of bottled water. I've done a taste test, and there's no comparison between it and tap water. Brands make a difference. I don't like the Coke brand of water (can't think of the name right now), but Ozarka is good and really does come from a natural spring. And, in spite of that idiotic Brita ad, my drinking bottled water doesn't mean "a lifetime in the landfill." That's what the old recycle bin is for. Not that I'm under any illusion that I'm "SAVING THE PLANET!!!" by doing that. It just means my trash can isn't overflowing by the end of the week like it used to be (between water bottles, laundry detergent bottles, etc.) and there's a little more room to fit more permanent junk at the landfill. [​IMG]
     

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