The Likely Reason Fast Food Chains Hide Sauces Behind The Counter

Usually, fast food restaurants keep their dipping sauces tucked safely away from public view, perhaps underneath the ordering station or away in the kitchen. The likely reason is to control the human urge to bag free goodies that probably aren't even needed. If restaurants had sauce packets on show for people to pick up as they please, there would be a national shortage within about five minutes.

Restricting access to dips keeps a supply available for everyone and no extra costs are incurred by businesses. Restaurants still have to buy the sauces they give away, with ranch dressing and hot sauce being particularly expensive compared to ketchup. Controlling the number of dips customers can pick up also means that companies don't have to charge for the sauces they hand out — as is the case in some U.K. McDonald's stores, which is the choice of individual franchisees. Considering these benefits, is there anything wrong with fast food chains hiding sauces beneath the counter?

Customers have to pay for sauces at some restaurants

Controlling sauce distribution means there is enough for everyone and costs are kept to a minimum, but it could even enhance the eating experience of customers. Sauce might help to improve the taste of an average fast food burger, but if it's one of your favorites all it will do is mask the flavor in a salty sphere. Leading on from this, restaurant dips are packed full of salt, sugar, and fat — despite their deceivingly cute sizes.

However, a problem starts to arise when considering consumer choice. This is a big thing in the fast food market, with lots of emphasis put on allowing customers the freedom to customize the meals that they eat — but if that freedom is reduced by controlling the number of sauces offered, those customers could potentially choose to go to a less stringent restaurant, or even simply grab a quick meal from a supermarket.

In reality, this should be less of an issue if restaurants continue to accept reasonable requests, such as a couple of extra ketchup packs for finger-dipping children (or adults). So, even though it may be inconvenient at times, keeping sauces under the counter is probably beneficial for us all if it's going to keep prices, health, and overall enjoyment in check.