Ketchup Cups Fan Out For Easier Dipping. Try It Yourself

If you've ever been to a McDonald's or a Burger King, you're probably familiar with those little tiny paper ketchup cups. You know, the ones located right next to the soda machine and the stacks of napkins and plastic straws? While this little paper cup offers you a way to dip your fries into ketchup without making a mess of your tray, the problem is, since those cups are so very small, they can't hold a whole lot of ketchup. If you're sharing your meal with friends, you have to fill up more than a few of the tiny cups just so everyone has enough ketchup to go around. 

If you've ever thought "I'm a grown adult. I can have as much ketchup as I want, so why do these fast-food restaurants try to ration how much I get?", then you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that these little ketchup cups can actually "unfold" or unwrap to a much larger size. What do we mean by "unfold?" Similar to how you flatten out a sheet of crumpled-up paper, tugging and pulling at the edges of the paper until it smooths back out, the process of "fanning out" your ketchup cups will have you collapsing the cup into a flat, circular sheet.

Fortunately, the process is much easier than it sounds. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find yourself skating around the meager rationing of the ketchup cup no matter what fast-food restaurant you're visiting.

Expanded ketchup cups offer more surface area

The idea behind ketchup cups being so small makes sense from a business standpoint. Everyone likes ketchup with their fries, so everyone would want to get a lot of ketchup when they come in. By rationing the ketchup in tiny cups, you won't run out of ketchup so fast. But, with this trick, you can not only get more bang for your buck but also be able to dip more than just your fries into your ketchup.

To expand your ketchup cup, simply pull on the sides, or the mouth, of the cup very gently. As you do so, you'll notice the pleated sides of the cup start to smoothen out, making it easy for you to fan it out into a wider radius. This method not only increases the surface area of the ketchup cup so that you can add more ketchup, it also makes it easier for you to dip more foods into it. With a wider surface area covered in ketchup, you can dip your burger into it if you so want– something almost impossible with a regular, unexpanded ketchup cup.

Of course, it's best not to flatten your ketchup cup too much, or else you'll make it too thin to hold any ketchup without the paper giving out. You should expand it out so that resembles a wide bowl rather than a flat piece of paper, which will ensure the ketchup cup won't give out when it's holding ketchup.

You could also use a lid to hold your ketchup

Right next to the ketchup cup dispenser, you'll find a stack of plastic lids for your drink cup. While you ordinarily would use these to cover your cup of soda, you can also use these lids as an impromptu ketchup holder, should you not want to take the time to expand your ketchup cups.

To do this, simply take the plastic lid of your choice and put it under the ketchup dispenser, filling the underside of the lid with as much ketchup as it can hold. This drink lid method accomplishes the same goal as expanding a ketchup cup without having to expand or unfold your ketchup cup. This, however, should be saved if there are no other ketchup cups to use, as you're not only using up a perfectly good plastic lid, but it may also be a bit messier than just using a regular paper cup. If you do decide to use a plastic lid as a ketchup holder, use two lids on top of the other, as the ketchup may drip through the hole where your straw ought to be.

Whether you use your paper-folding skills to expand your ketchup cup into a ketchup bowl or you use a plain plastic lid to get a pool of ketchup, you can enjoy your burgers and fries knowing that you managed to beat the fast-food system at its own condiment game.