5 Most Irritating Things About Restaurant Menus

Categories: Saria

cheesecake-factory-menu.jpg
Marcin Wichary/Flickr
Excessively large menus lead to "The Cheesecake Factory Effect."
When it's well-written, a menu is your map to a restaurant experience. It tells you what kind of food to expect and how much it's going to cost. It might even give you a little insight into the chef and his or her vision for the restaurant. When it's poorly put together, a menu can be incredibly frustrating, annoying, and eye-roll inducing. Here are the five most irritating things about restaurant menus

May you never have to experience them yourself.

See also: 9 Words We All Really Need to Stop Using When Talking About Food and Drinks. Please.

Excessively Long

Menus that offer too many options lead to a phenomenon I like to call "The Cheesecake Factory Effect," an occurrence named after the restaurant famous for offering more than 200 options. The Cheesecake Factory Effect is when you spend half an hour reading through a restaurant's 15-page menu only to become paralyzed with indecision when the waiter returns -- for the third time -- to take your order. You panic, open to a random page and end up ordering something completely out of left field. Usually, this means you end up eating a $15 meatloaf or pork chop or some other generic dish you hate while salivating over your dining companion's much more sensible meal of choice.

Also irritating: Complicated build-your-own menus that require a nonexistent key to decipher.

Lacking Prices

This is one of the most offensive things a restaurant can do. Not having prices listed on your menu essentially tells the diner, "If you have to ask, you shouldn't be eating here." It's alienating and makes for one incredibly stressful dining experience during which you spend the whole meal dreading the moment you open the check to find out that -- surprise! -- your entrée cost $35. This is especially common with cocktail menus these days, and considering how much "craft" cocktails can cost, it's just as annoying.

Also irritating: When a server spends a half-hour explaining the evening's specials but fails to mention the price.

Vague

In the worst cases, vague menus list ingredients but fail to specify how the dish is actually cooked. Sorry, chef, but I don't know what you mean by "white fish | greens | butter sauce | sesame." I know I'm supposed to trust that you're going to make an amazing culinary creation with said ingredients -- which I'm sure you sourced from a nearby body of water or farm or whatever -- but the information you provided doesn't actually tell me anything about what you have planned for my dinner.

Also irritating: When only five ingredients are listed and your plate arrives with a half-dozen additional ingredients you spend your whole meal trying to identify.

Written on a Chalkboard

Don't get me wrong, I love chalkboards. I have a few in my house. That does not, however, mean I want to spend 10 minutes trying to decipher what your adorable multicolored chalkboard menu says from across the room. Who decided that it was such a great idea to have an employee hand-write your whole menu on chalkboards and then decorate it with little pictures of the food? At least have some printed versions to help me out. I am not a cyber-human with magnifying vision powers.

Also irritating: Printed menus with stupid, fancy fonts I can't read. If that's the alternative, I'd rather have a chalkboard.

Useless Adjectives

As someone who writes about food, I totally understand how hard it is to resist the temptation to use adjectives that don't actually mean anything. But, really, why would you want to describe one of your dishes as "fresh"? Isn't everything on the menu fresh? The same goes for words including by not limited to: handmade, housemade, artisan . . . actually, just any of the words on this list. Also, when a menu item is named after some one or made "just like so-and-so did." I don't know your Aunt Jenny, and for all I know, her pie really sucks.

Also irritating: A restaurant's "world famous" anything. Next time I see that, I'm going to ask for their world-fame credentials.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
81 comments
David Harjo
David Harjo

Food that looks good on the menu pictures but when served its not the same and its awful tasting.

Lora Iwg
Lora Iwg

Just because you have to ask for a price doesn't mean you can't afford it. What an ignorant statement! Some people like to be frugal. Many rich people stay rich because they don't blow their money on wasteful things just because they have it to spend.

Lora Iwg
Lora Iwg

So funny. It drives me nuts when menus add an apostrophe before the S on everything like "pizza's" and you did it in the post with "menu's"!!! I thought it was done on purpose to be funny but the story didn't mention obvious typos so I guess not. Just because a word has an S at the end doesn't mean it needs an apostrophe!!

Han Lin
Han Lin

No price is super annoying and insulting! Do they forget most of the rich people are rich because they know how their money are spent?! The dumb and over spender are the ones that don't care and not having a price on the menu make me feel like one!

Louis Williams
Louis Williams

The Cheesecake Factory menus are horrible for many reasons, but the advertising is horrible.

Steve Garcia
Steve Garcia

Or maybe we just want to know the price, like ever other purchase I make.

Steve Garcia
Steve Garcia

Say's the guy who restaurant just closed down.

Melissa Roland
Melissa Roland

I work in restaurants and eat at a lot of them too. That being said, I would really not be interested in items that were blandly described. The use of adjectives are not pointless when describing food!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

There should be  calorie information next to every meal AND especially every dessert.


The really classy places should have how much exercise is required to burn the exorbitant calories just ingested.  


Here's and example:  you weigh 175 pounds and just consumed 1500 calories (easy in a restaurant) you would need to walk (2.5 mi./hr.) for over six hours to burn it off.  (You would only need to swim continuously for three hours.)


Want to know why  the majority of the population is fat?   They love the first part  (eating) and completely ignore the second (exercise).

Melanie Huegel Lopez
Melanie Huegel Lopez

I've only ever seen a few kids truly misbehave while out eating and the parents not do anything to correct them. Enjoy your fancy, adult-only restaurants.

Mike Hodkinson
Mike Hodkinson

If you need to ask a price you are in the wrong place, only thing that annoy's me are kids in restaurants

Nick Nance
Nick Nance

Mushrooms are worth a million dollars.

Jennifer Potapa
Jennifer Potapa

Overly sophisticated terminology. Especially as a server. Why put sultanas when golden raisins would suffice? I know it sounds so much cooler but I don't want to get in the weeds describing overly simple things with fancy titles.

Maggie Romero
Maggie Romero

Two seperate menus?? I never even heard of that. That's going back.

Jennifer Salazar
Jennifer Salazar

Right. I'm SURE you were at a Maserati dealership. But even if you were and the prices were NOT "pasted", you would have complained that they weren't or asked , "how much?"

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

I'm old enough to remember when fancy restaurants had separate menus for the ladies that had no prices. Only the men's did.

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

Weird. I was just at the Maserati dealership and every car had the price clearly pasted in the window.

Jimmy Green
Jimmy Green

I thought I'd dislike this but I was wrong. Lol.

Stephanie Studer
Stephanie Studer

Poor quality images should be on there. As a food photographer, I can't tell you how many ugly images there are and the business does not budget or see any value in hiring a photographer who knows about styling food

Marshall Wilmot
Marshall Wilmot

I totally agree that it is unacceptable for a server to sell you the "special" and not tell you how much it costs. The Persian Garden Cafe on Thomas and 15th Ave sells some kind of stew as their "special". I thought, "that sounds good" and ordered it. Imagine my surprise when a bowl of gamey sheep soup cost $35. I will never, ever, eat there again. No wonder the place was empty.

Deanna Rees
Deanna Rees

I also had how Cheesecake Factory has ADs in their menus!

Peg Wolfe
Peg Wolfe

Ummmmm. . .what? Incomprehensible posts bother me.

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues Interesting idea, but probably not realistic for most sole proprietors.  People can use common sense (or not) to make choices. Hmmmmmmmmm... do I think the grilled white fish with steamed broccoli and rice pilaf is a better choice than a double bacon cheeseburger and fries and onion rings?  While having it - in print - in front of you makes it impossible to say "I didn't know", most people know without having it in print.


It's more a matter of personal responsibility than a menu problem, in my opinion.

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

You must eat at Denny's a lot. I don't think I've ever seen pictures on a menu for a non-chain restaurant.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi "personal responsibility"?  Wow!  That is a fine conservative and, of course, Libertarian concept.  I agree completely.


I know my post was impractical.  I was simply having a go at the fatties.  

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues   So... You were just trying to stir a pot?  I would NEVER have guessed that about you!


Okay. I Lied. Yes I would...

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues  Hey FB.  You haven't been harrassing me for quite a while. Have you been sicker than usual lately?  Or just obsessed with stalking a certain mentally ill person with a well-known family member?


No, actually I'm not much into Mexican food. Some of my more recent dining experiences have been at The Parlor, Christo' s, Capital Grille, Sa Bia, Hillstone and Dick' s Hide-away.  Uh... wait a second. You're not the Dick of Dick's Hide-away, are you?

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi @fishingblues


I have little tolerance for liberals (parasites) AND people who don't take care of themselves (fatties).


Don't like it?  Don't care!



fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi  


"Dick's Hide-away"  I think you are looking for spotted (rotted) dick (aka the donkey boy). 


Mexican Restaurants love large colored pictures of their meals.  It comes in handy because they are typically quite creative in naming some of their dishes.


I only harass (but never harrass - unless you meant harry-ass, which I believe would be hairy-ass) loopy loony liberals.  You have obviously been presenting sane  postings of late.  


The other whack-job, who you mention, has  a very bad habit of posting her pathetic personal life in nearly every post.  She is really too sick to be on these pages.  As a purely magnanimous gesture, I have been encouraging her to seek better professional care,  

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues    And I'm guessing nobody cares what you like or want. I sure don't...

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues  I find it unfortunate that you think it is fun to trash her. That says more about you than it does her.  I do not engage with her, but I certainly would never be cruel enough to taunt her the way you do. There is clearly something wrong with you if you think it is fun to push the buttons of someone who has mental health issues. I believe it is called cyber-bullying. You should be ashamed of yourself, Dick... or what ever your name is.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi 


FB ===> "Don't like it?  Don't care!"


wherewasi  ===>nobody cares what you like or want. I sure don't...



Damn, I believe I just said that. Are you having difficulty forming your own thoughts?  Typical mindless liberal.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi 


So, I suspect you are claiming to be professionally schooled and trained in the mental health field?  

No?  Then you are just a typical liberal with a big mouth pretending to be smarter than everyone else while lecturing and telling others what to do.


You should be ashamed of yourself for being smug, pretentious, judgmental, ill-informed, priggish and bitchy.    

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues   No, not at all. I merely pointed out that what started as a reasonable discussion turned into you insulting people and your acknowledgement that it was your intention to insult.  And that does NOT surprise me.  

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues  No, I am not trained in mental health. I just happen to have a family member who is mentally ill that I have dealt with for almost 30 years. I know that assholes like you are a poblem.


YOU SHOULD be ashamed of YOURSELF for being a smug, pretentious, judgemental, ill-informed, priggish and bitch Dick.


There is something seriously WRONG with you.  Explain to us HOW YOU JUSTIFY picking on someone who is mentally ill.


You are (supposedly) an ADULT. Why do you act and post like a snot-nosed little brat?


You make me want to throw up. YOU are what is wrong with the USA.  Narcissistic Assholes.





fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi @fishingblues


"insulting people"?  

No, just liberals and people with no self control (fatties).


If you are a fat-assed liberal, who also happens to be sensitive, that is your problem. 

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi 


More food or thought.


Too blind to see.


Here is the irony. You sit there all smug and self-righteous believing yourself superior to Miz Baboo, me and likely everyone else. But the reality is, YOU are the sick one.


Here is an axiom, which you are no doubt too obtuse to comprehend: everyone is screwed up. It is just a matter of degree. In your ridiculous delusion of self-importance, you think you can judge that degree in others all the while blatantly ignoring it in yourself. You stick your stinky little finger at others and judge them, not based on education, but pure prejudice. So, when I call you a pretentious prig, it is based on your behavior and trained observation. (I'm the one with the degree in psychology – ha!)


Your very serious problem is driven by self-delusion or, if you prefer, delusions of grandeur. You will not seek help because you mistakenly believe yourself superior.

Miz Baboo's neurosis is driven by anger and vindictiveness. She recognizes this but is not yet ready to let it go. The people who are destructive to her are those who encourage (or ignore) her destructive behavior.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi 


Stupid pretentious bitch.


"No, I am not trained in mental health."


"...someone who is mentally ill."


Tell me something stupid, how would you know if someone is "mentally ill" if, by your own admission, you have no education or training?  Oh that's right, you have that 4th cousin twice removed who wasn't quite right. 


Typical liberal--- makes ostentatious claims of great knowledge and importance, but in actuality is an ignorant, ill-informed, self-righteous twit.  

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues  Well, I will grant you the title of "expert" when it comes to ridiculous delusions of self-importance and mistakenly believing one's self superior. 


Have a nice day!

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@wherewasi 


Reality is a bitch babe.


Your "Have a nice day!", in this context, would constitute passive aggressive behavior.


Damn, liberals sure hate it when I expose the ugliness in themselves.  

wherewasi
wherewasi topcommenter

@fishingblues   No, actually it constitutes my expressing my desire that you enjoy your Sunday, as will I.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...