How Hollywood Sees Us: The Old ‘96er

The Restaurant Industry According to Hollywood #20

If you follow our newsletter you may remember a hack we provided that suggested smaller portions of entrées to allow people with smaller appetites to enjoy your best dishes. Well, this clip from The Great Outdoors is the complete opposite. The Old ‘96er is an obscene cut of beef delivered to your table with a challenge: One person finishes it and the whole table eats for free. The seemingly Herculean task isn’t completed unless every scrap of meat and fat and gristle are consumed.

Believe it or not these challenges actually exist all over this country with the largest known portion topping out at 120 ounces of steak (7.5 lbs). The thought of that much meat might make you less than hungry, but several people a year per restaurant give it a try.

The movie clip is entertaining mostly for John Candy’s perfect comedic timing, but it also reflects an ugly truth in our business. These types of enormous portions are more the rule than exceptions. Whether it’s an obscene plate of pasta or bloomin’ onion, the plate sizes in the US keep expanding along with our waste lines. While you have to compete by giving guests what they want, it is clear Hollywood thinks that this is at least worthy of laughing about.