Monday, August 4, 2008

Distubing Trend in Restaurant Menus

I don't know if it's because of the economy, or the steady flow of political ads stating how each candidate is going to help me be better off, but this weekend I noticed a particularly disturbing trend in dinner menus - no drink prices.

We visited two chain restaurants this weekend. Maybe that was my mistake, in tough times you should eat local so that more revenue goes into the local economy right? I'll even call them out by name, one was Applebees®, the other was Bailey's. On both menus, there wasn't a single price listed for drinks. I'm not just talking alcoholic drinks, I mean ALL drinks. Not soda, tea, beer, wine or hard liquor. And ask my friends, I'm not trying to be cheap, I love a $10-15 martini if it's made right, or a specialty beer in the tallest (non-frosted) glass.

The manager at Applebees® explained that in an effort to reduce costs, they are printing menus to cover a larger region, and with separate liquor taxes in each state, not printing prices allows them to save costs. So I followed up with why not at least print non-alcoholic prices. He went on that even their soda prices had been fluctuating in the latest economy, and this way each store could set their prices. Fine - I understand the cost savings, and corporate reasoning. I definitely do not have to like it.

Due to other issues, I didn't even bother to ask at Bailey's. The manager there couldn't make a good argument for switching off the 'Skins game to go with Karaoke, I didn't even want to ask about the drink prices. They also seem to fall more into the bar category, what I was really surprised at was the family establishments that have deleted these prices.

In an economy where some experts are suggesting the population needs to learn how to save once again, doesn't it seem counter productive to remove vital ordering information from menus? There must be some law stating that food prices are on there, I can only imaging the next bean counter figuring out that they could just print a menu with titles and pictures - take your best guess on the price...

BTW - the food at Applebees® was as expected, and the staff and management was great. Thanks to the manager that took the time to talk about this with us. The Dominion Oak Barrel Stout and bacon cheese fries (total health food kick) at Bailey's was also wonderful, its a shame their management wasn't.


COD said...

It's because they are jacking up the price of drinks to pad margins. Nobody ever factors in the cost of 3 iced teas when thinking of eating out, but when they are nailing you $2.49 each for them, it impacts the eating out budget quickly.

I had a problem when Famous Dave's charged me $5.99 for a Yuengling draft. (No prices on the menu) Apparently they think Yuenling is an import.

kcw said...

I've encountered many restaurants with Yuengling as an import..and this was both BEFORE and AFTER Yuengling went mainstream.

This occurred even in Philadelphia, the defacto home town of Yuengling (which is just ordered by asking for a lager...though Yuengling isn't exactly a lager).

Bryan said...

Yet one more reason to visit your local establishments, they are usually very upfront on costs, and usually know the specialties better than any chain restaurant. Imagine walking into Kybecca and not knowing what a glass of red would cost. One more reason for taking by business local whenever possible.

Stories From Other Blogs