Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A question

And I ask this for a specific, marketing-related reason (although it has nothing to do with food): would you rather go to a restaurant that:

  • Has a huge menu (so big you can hardly get through the whole thing) that stays the same every time you visit, or
  • Has a one-page menu that changes every time you visit?
Assuming the quality is consistent, which would you choose? And why? Answer in the comments or e-mail me your thoughts. I'll 'splain later.

Photo: JonCaves on Flickr


Jon Swerens said...

This is what my boys would call a false dilemma.

But I would go for the second choice if there were some sort of theme the restaurant was following. I would hate to go in and have swordfish one day and then, next week, find on the menu only an assortment of grilled cheese sandwiches. Even if they are the best in town.

Mostly, though, its just that I hate facing a menu that I cannot completely read before ordering. I hate that!

Beth said...

I find that restaurants with too many offerings end up being a jack of all trades, master of none. I can think of a couple of restaurants in Fort Wayne that fall into this category, serving lots of very mediocre dishes. On the other hand, I've also been to restaurants with a small rotating menu. The one that I'm thinking of is a trattoria that will prepare special dishes if they have the ingredients on hand. So, chances are if you want the swordfish you may be able to have it again even if it's not on that evening's menu.

ScLoHo (Scott Howard) said...

I'll take the big fat menu and find a favorite item.

I'd be really upset if they stopped serving my favorite dish.

A good restaurant is a total sensory experience. I decided where to go by what I'm in the mood for. And if they don't have what I want, I won't be back.

John Good said...

I'll take the choices!

Business901 said...

One of my favorite restaurants in Denver does not even have that. They walk up and tell you the 3 choices you have. And..I have never went to Denver without eating there!

Without a doubt, bring me one page!

Anonymous said...

Just one page, please.

I agree with Beth in that a restaurant with many options does few very well.

I also love to try something new every time I dine out.

And I hate to spend 20 minutes reading a menu when I could instead be conversing with my guests and friends.

Most of all, I have talked to enough chefs to know that when they are able to choose the dishes for the day guided by the season or inspiration or fresh ingredients or a new wine on the list, and they can set the menu to express their talents and training, that they then bring enthusiasm and pride to this dish, and it's likely the best you'll ever taste.

Give a sommelier or a chef or a skilled server the opportunity to surprise you, offer them your trust, and they will go above and beyond to be sure you're not disappointed.

Anonymous said...

I think a place that has a one page menu must be one that changes their menu once a day or week, and I must say these are almost always the best places to dine because you explore something new. It shows a standard for excellent cuisine and sensitivity to those who enjoy trying news items, exploring their tastes, and an appreciation for chefs who live vicariously through the art of creating a unique menu and watching clients enjoy (or not) what they have created. On the other hand, it's not for every place...if you can't have a consistant perfection for every item on a constantly changing menu, then perfect what you have already (if your specialty is a black and bleu burger, then keep it, and get better at it, because you probably are not charging $25 for it). If your restaurant doesn't have the talent, then it shouldn't have the one pager. In addition, it's important to consider the places that have one pagers that NEVER change, like Cork and Cleaver. Yes, they are good at steak and taters. And that's what they have, and if that's what you want then that's what you get. But there's no variety and I'm big on variety and creativity in the kitchen. Ditch Applebees and start looking around for the hidden treasures...like Cerca Trova in Fort Wayne. You'll be amazed what happens when you ditch the 5 paged 18 different burgers place and get to know your taste buds:-) Of course, there's always room every now and then for some good 'ol hot wings and beer. Thank God for those places, they never need a menu change!

Heather said...

We have a little Italian dive in town whose menu is seasonal with our lovely Oregon fare.
It's good fun to see what the chef (Rodrigo!) has up his sleeve each time we go.
I always get intimidated with a too long menu, like I might miss THE special dish...because I couldn't find it!