Author Topic: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)  (Read 3287 times)

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WolfWay

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Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« on: June 06, 2014, 02:19:13 AM »
A friend mentioned something to me that I had never heard of and I was just wondeirng how common this might be.

She said that her Dad took her (and her family) to a restaurant where when you book, they ask who is going to be paying. When you get there, the person who is paying is given a menu that lists all the prices. Everyone else at the table is given a menu with no prices on it.

She said it made ordering funny because she'd go "Oh X looks good!" only to be given a stern look from her dad and thus divining it was too expensive and she would have to pick something else (despite not being able to see what anything cost). That seems a terribly inconveniant way to order food. (Mind you, if you're going to a restaurant with that menu system, you shouldn't be on a budget).

I can't afford to eat in fancy restaurants, nevermind treat an entire table of people, so I've never encountered the idea before

Has anyone here heard of this system? How common is it in fancy restaurants?
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amandaelizabeth

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2014, 03:34:31 AM »
Goodness what a blast from the past.  It used to be common before WW2', and was called a ladies menu.  Your date impressed you with it (!) so you could order without embarrassing him by ordering the cheapest item wondering if he could afford to pay.   

Margo

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2014, 03:50:50 AM »
Yes,  it's very old fashioned - used to be a 'Ladies menu'. It would annoy me no end if I went somewhere and found I was given a menu with no prices.
Even if someone else is paying, I would prefer to know what the prices are.

I have *never* been anywhere that has a menu like this, and I have eaten at some fairly high end places and at some very old-fashioned ones.

Ceallach

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2014, 04:43:02 AM »
It is an absurd concept.   The only time it's appropriate to not have pricing is for an actual *hosted* meal, e.g. at a reception venue you'd expect the menus not to have pricing.   I guess in some circumstances a smaller group might like to utilize the hosting concept in which case it's a nice thing for the restaurant to be able to offer (for example, a business meeting), but I imagine arrangements could be made for that.   Many restaurants have a set menu option that could be offered. 

But having this "standard" seems rude, and if they asked me who was paying I would tell them to mind their own business.  Honestly I'd wonder if they were questioning our ability to pay the bill!   It seems like an offensive thing to enquire about upfront IMHO.
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camlan

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2014, 06:18:17 AM »
I've heard of this, but not for decades.

Back in the 1980s, a friend of mine was taken to such a restaurant by her boyfriend. That was the night he proposed, so he had planned a very special evening. He didn't choose the restaurant because they had the ladies' menu, but because it was one of the highest rated, most popular restaurants in the city at the time. And expensive.

My mother had been taken to a few such restaurants when she was dating. Her advice to me, for when I was similarly treated (never happened, though), was to choose a simple-sounding chicken dish, not the chef's specialty. That would most likely put my meal in the low-to-middle range of the menu. The goal was to enjoy your meal, but not put too great a burden on your date's wallet.
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shhh its me

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2014, 06:51:32 AM »
It is an absurd concept.   The only time it's appropriate to not have pricing is for an actual *hosted* meal, e.g. at a reception venue you'd expect the menus not to have pricing.   I guess in some circumstances a smaller group might like to utilize the hosting concept in which case it's a nice thing for the restaurant to be able to offer (for example, a business meeting), but I imagine arrangements could be made for that.   Many restaurants have a set menu option that could be offered. 

But having this "standard" seems rude, and if they asked me who was paying I would tell them to mind their own business.  Honestly I'd wonder if they were questioning our ability to pay the bill!   It seems like an offensive thing to enquire about upfront IMHO.

But the person paying picked the restaurant so they should know about the menus and not be offended when asked whose paying. I would have thought they would have come up with a better way to ask like " ..and is the gentleman hosting this evening?" the host menu going to the person with the reservation  or some such.  I don't think as a guest you have the right to know what a meal costs , so I don't think its rude but in any situation then one person is paying for the meal it simply wouldn't work. I think the bigger issue is when the restaurants used to automatically hand the host menu to a man in the group/party of 2...it makes some sense if they gave it to the person who made the reservation but I think asking "would you prefer your guests to receive blind menus?"      I've heard of the concept but didn't know they were still around, I had to look up what they were called to refresh my memory.

Runningstar

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2014, 07:00:33 AM »
Wow!!  This brings back memories - can anyone remember a movie where the girl orders a grilled cheese sandwich because it is the cheapest thing on the menu?  Or something like that? 
The only time I was in a restaurant that did this, I already knew that it was very expensive but that was where the host wanted to go.  My mother told me to ask the host what they would suggest I'd like and to take that as my guideline. 

Two Ravens

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2014, 08:01:26 AM »
I remember I read a book where this was a relevant plot point. Something about a note slipped into a "Ladies menu." Sadly I can't remember  anything else about it.

The only time I have actually seen it IRL is at private clubs, where they have a "member's menu" and a guest menu. These clubs don't allow non-members to dine there by themselves, so if you are the guest of a member, by default they are paying.

Hillia

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2014, 08:51:37 AM »
In 1980 or 81, my best friend was dating a man whose father was a local bank president.  This would have been senior year of high school, or maybe first year of college.  The bank was housed in the first skyscraper in our small city, and there was a fancy club located on the top floor.  Boyfriend's father gave him permission to take her to dinner there and have it charged to father's account.  She was very nervous when she received a ladies' menu - she was trying to make a good impression on the parents and didn't want to look greedy by ordering the most expensive thing!

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nrb80

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2014, 09:02:24 AM »
It's still very typical on club menus.  I wish this was done more often - at least when the reservation makes it clear who is the host and who is the guest. 

Twik

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2014, 09:16:48 AM »
It seems silly to have a menu like that nowadays. But even sillier for her father to be annoyed that she was ordering food that he considered too expensive. If he doesn't like the prices at that restaurant, he should have chosen somewhere less expensive.
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Two Ravens

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2014, 09:20:09 AM »
She was very nervous when she received a ladies' menu - she was trying to make a good impression on the parents and didn't want to look greedy by ordering the most expensive thing!

I think the whole "order from the middle of the menu" tip would still apply in these cases if if she was worried about avoiding anything too expensive.

Twik

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2014, 09:21:56 AM »
She was very nervous when she received a ladies' menu - she was trying to make a good impression on the parents and didn't want to look greedy by ordering the most expensive thing!

I think the whole "order from the middle of the menu" tip would still apply in these cases if if she was worried about avoiding anything too expensive.

That's assuming that they have helpfully arranged it in order of cost, rather than, say, by type of entrée.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Two Ravens

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2014, 09:29:07 AM »
She was very nervous when she received a ladies' menu - she was trying to make a good impression on the parents and didn't want to look greedy by ordering the most expensive thing!

I think the whole "order from the middle of the menu" tip would still apply in these cases if if she was worried about avoiding anything too expensive.

That's assuming that they have helpfully arranged it in order of cost, rather than, say, by type of entrée.

In my experience, even if it is arranged by entree type, it's also arranged by cost. The baked sole is usually before the Lobster Newburg...

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Prices only on one menu (never heard of this)
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2014, 09:32:38 AM »
I prefer a courses menu to be honest, when they charge you for how many dishes you're having. Then you can order what you like.