An image of a basic takeaway Thai meal has left hundreds of people divided after it was shared online by a Brisbane man.
The man said he paid $40 for his take away meal which consisted of garlic prawns, a Tom Yum soup and seafood salad.
Seemingly perplexed by the price he took the matter to Reddit on Sunday, asking others what they thought of the cost.
“40 dollars worth of takeaway. Is this ridiculous?” he wrote.
Hundreds chimed in with their thoughts on the matter, some arguing the man should expect to pay those kinds of prices if he was ordering meals using food delivery services.
“Yes it is [ridiculous], but if you used UberEats I would not be surprised by the price,” one responded.
Another agreed and said they were “not shocked” at the high price for a seemingly small portion of food.
Others said high food and delivery prices, which some argued had increased since COVID-19, had kept them from ordering through Deliveroo, Menulog, DoorDash and UberEats.
“I’ve been wanting Chinese takeaway for months now, but every time I go to order some the price just makes me choose not to,” one person wrote.
Someone argued the price wasn’t the least bit “ridiculous” due to the current position of the industry.
“No, frankly a lot of hospitality is on their last legs and margins in that industry are incredibly narrow to begin with,” they wrote.
Price dependent on ‘multitude of factors’
Dr Gary Mortimer, a Professor of Marketing and Consumer Behaviour, said there were a multitude of factors that needed to be considered when assessing whether a price for a delivered meal was justified or not.
“Ultimately in a free market economy, restaurants and bistros can charge whatever they would like for their meals, and we often see a large variation across pricing even for the same product,” he told Yahoo News Australia.
Dr Mortimer said this was evident in a meal like fish and chips which was often priced differently at a cafe, compared to a pub and five star restaurant - the dish can be anywhere between $12 and $43.
“It depends where people are sourcing their meals from, that is what will influence the price,” he said.
Diners should watch out for delivery service fees
When it came to food delivery services, customers might notice higher prices as a result of the service taking up to 30 per cent from each order, Dr Mortimer said.
“Diners need to be conscious that if they’re ordering a $40 meal from a restaurant, 30 per cent of that could be going to the food delivery organisation.
“It’s not unreasonable to think that restaurants when facing exorbitant fees charged by these delivery services might be forced to push up their prices to continue to maintain a profitable business.”
Consumers needed to understand all of the costs associated with creating each of their meals including inventory, rent, staff wages, preparation and packaging, Dr Mortimer said.
“We all know it’s cheaper to simply go to the supermarket and cook our own meals, but if we want somebody to do that for us, there’s certainly going to be some added costs involved.”
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.