I Bought Whole Foods Takeout For Two! Here's What It Cost....

Foodies,

This evening, I agreed to spend the evening making my homemade granola for a friend which I have previously posted about on these forums to show her how much better and easier it would be to make her own customized granola as opposed to buying the expensive pre-packaged organic granola at Whole Foods.

In a perhaps slightly ironic twist, I ended up running behind and in the interest of saving time offered to pick up some takeout at the Whole Foods near us of which I have previously posted about that opened recently.

Now I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited. It’s one thing to peruse the takeout section but once you’re actually committed to buying it becomes a much more enticing experience. So what did I pay and what did I get for my hard-earned sadly below $1 US in value Canadian dollars?
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Actually, it was pretty reasonable and I’d even go so far as to say a very good value given both the very high quality of the food and the convenience provided. The total damage was $36.31. Broken down specifically, the salad cost $8.36, the sides cost $9.73 and the mains cost the most at 18.32. It was also quite a fair amount of food. As you can see in the pic, I got three single person recyclable meal containers worth to make a decent meal for 2 persons. One was from the cold salad bar and the other two were from the hot plate stations.

The salad I managed to put together was quite substantive: fresh spinach leaves, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, tomato quinoa tabouleh, mushrooms, red onions, chick peas, mint, coriander, crumbled blue cheese and balsamic dressing.

For the main courses, I chose the pot roast casserole and two pieces of BBQ chicken. For the sides, I chose some roasted herb root vegetables and macaroni and cheese. Fortunately, everything was freshly loaded for the dinner rush. So how much was the damage?
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So actually it wasn’t too bad and I’d even say a pretty good deal overall when considering the high quality of the food and the convenience provided. The overall price for all hot bar and salad bar items is $22.90 per kg. I’d say the salad and sides were the best deals considering what you get for the price whereas the mains were the least value given how much less food you see in the top left container in my photo.

However, the real value in the entire meal came when I arrived at my friend’s house at 7 PM. I went to work on the granola right away and had it in the oven at 7:28. At 7:30, we were downstairs in her TV room watching Jeopardy with two TV trays full of food and two glasses of wine. The only reason it took us so long to get from the kitchen to the TV room is that I had to spend one of those two minutes in between gently nuking the food in her microwave to warm it up a bit more again.

I think $40 for a pretty good takeout meal and a nice evening in with the telly was worth it. However, I can see how people could easily get sucked into making a regular habit out of this and losing their entire paycheck to the place. One thing I should mention: I deliberately skipped the fresh bread and soup stations which would have substantially altered the cost and value of the meal. As it was, there was a fair amount of leftovers my friend’s professor boyfriend who had to teach late at York University and would be coming home well after I had already departed for the evening.

So Whole Foods, you have sucked me in to the paycheck sapping void that is your ready to go foods section. Like all addictions, it always starts with the very first time… $$$$$… Ka-Ching. I think a weed habit might be less expensive to have. [cheers.gif]

There’s a reason it’s known as “Whole Paycheck”

Whole Foods, where we get food to eat in, but pay like we’re eating out.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/19/whole-foods-salad-bar-win-it-you-can_n_5844160.html

Gotta put it in the right perspective, as you have here. Compared to a grocery store, the food is pricey. Compared to a cheapo buffet, the food is pricey. But compared to most of your take out options? It’s a great value. The inputs are just way better.
And win for whole foods. The organic carrots that are piling up too high in the produce aisle wind up in carrot soup and carrot salad.

We shop at WF, but are pretty careful about buying “prepared” foods at $8+ per pound. Some light salads are an OK deal, but avoid buying mashed potatoes :wink:

We get sliced meat to make sandwiches at WF… the selection, and freshness is pretty awesome…
so what it costs 5-10 bucks more a week…

Also buy the veggies to make baby food… i can get 3 different types of green beans, purple beans, yellow beans etc… beats crappy selection from local grocery store…

With meat/cheese/veggies/etc it comes out to about 60-70 bucks each weekend… not cheap but not bank breaking…

Yep, I’ve bought more than one $12 salad from the by the pound self-serve bar. Always good, but hard to justify.

Alan is spot on as usual. Focus on the value items that involve laborious prep with spendy ingredients. Us deviants with a chef’s knife and minimal skill can make quick work of a delicious meal with these bits on our mise en place.

I don’t think I’ve ever bought take out from a grocery store – doesn’t sound super appetizing to me. I dread buffets and avoid whenever possible. Would probably rather get really great Thai or Vietnamese takeout for half that cost.

I don’t get it. For forty bones there are bound to be better options. Some with delivery.

the problem is that most cheap restaurants use really cheap ingredients. if that doesn’t bother you, then have at it =)

with the regards to the Whole Foods by-the-pound buffet deli. I’ve done it a few times, however I find I’d rather just buy one burrito or a roast chicken from their normal deli counter.

@Markus: You are correct in that the cost turned out to be pretty much the same as an eat-out cost for two at a decently priced restaurant serving similar quality food. Live and learn.

@Tim: Honestly, I’ve never had takeout from a grocery store either before! To their credit, and it shows in some of the photos I posted on the thread, the quality of the food is very high. And I can’t fully call it a buffet seeing as how you paid for every bit you got as opposed to one price and limitless plates. I’m sure that model would drive the quality of the food right down.

@Jason: You’re correct in that there were certainly better options for the money. To be fair, I’d never done it before and had no idea what the cost would come out to. Would I do it again? Rarely, due to the very reason you mentioned – I could’ve gotten Vietnamese or Korean or Greek food nearby with similar high quality and sizable portions for the same amount of money. Just had to get the monkey off my back.

Just needed to see this again. May I post this in other threads as well? [wow.gif]

With my name on it an indemnity is required. If left off, make sure to refer to yourself in the third person.

One of my tricks at WF is to grab one of their fresh asian vegetable soups from the refrigerated section. With some sundries from the cabinets I can turn this base into a delicious dashi broth and take it further into various styles of ramen using different stocks and sauces. That is something I can’t get anywhere, let alone for $8.

The salad bar can work pretty well. We usually have lettuce in the house, but can pick up extras to throw on it, like already sliced mushrooms, cut up veggies, etc.

Our WF has its own bakery where they make fresh bread continuously. We buy almost all our bread there these days.

I guess it doesn’t. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten has been at “cheap” restaurants. I’ve never paid much more than $10 for Penang Curry and it’s one of my favorite things to eat in the world. Same goes for a $4 bahn mi.

As of his morning, my WF now has a $12 flat rate bowl for the salad and (I think) hot food line. Bigger than a soup bowl but smaller than a family sized serving bowl. Fit whatever you want/can and it’s $12. Not yet sure about value, need to try it out. If I needed a big bowl of diced chicken, tuna, etc I think it would be great. If a big salad, then likely about the same as by-the-pound.

That’s certainly true. One of he greatest banh Mis I’ve ever had was on a street cart in ho chi Minh city and it was 50 cents. But I wonder if the ingredients were even better in the same dishes and at the same restaurant that you enjoyed, would the dish be even tastier?

WF is short for whatha fuk since you don’t have any money left after shopping to buy a proper ‘the.’ :angry: