Choice on the menu

We have a limited choice menu, which changes every day. So if a guest is staying for a week or more, then they will get a different choice every day. Each day the choice is between a meat option and a fish option - everything is freah. As any discerning restaurant eater knows, unless you are paying a king's ransom for the privilege of a long menu, then the only way a restaurant can offer a wide choice is by serving "convenience" food. That is bought in, ready prepared, probably frozen meals, that are then popped in the ubiquitous microwave for a brief period to frazzle them before being presented super-heated to the customer.

Unfortunately every so often we get a guest who wants more "choice", and who equates choice with what they are paying for when they eat out. Never mind the quality, give me choice. The interesting thing is that it is never choice the guest really wants, it is "steak". For some obscure reason the British masses still believe that steak is a luxury item, whereas it is in fact very much a middle cost item. Furthermore it is a really easy dish to cook at home, so why steak and chips should be favoured by so many people beats me, but I only run a restaurant.

One evening I was summoned over by a guest who was staring blankly at the menu. Gesticulating in a fraught manner, he says to me

"I am very disappointed by this menu".

"What is the problem with it?" I reply knowing  what his problem really was.

"There is not enough choice"

"Do you mean there is no steak on offer?"

"Well yes, but how did you know I meant that?"

"Call it intuition"

Anyway, we do him a steak (well done, aren't I a snob!) and after the meal he calls me over to tell me that it wasn't a bad meal after all, but that we should offer more choice on the menu. I couldn't help observing that if we had offered him a ten page menu written in Japanese, with steak as the only recognisable words, then that would have been all he really required.

How do you explain to a customer that choice does not mean choice, it means they want steak. The "standard" top rated eating out meal among Britons continues to be - Prawn Cocktail, Steak and Chips, Black Forest Gateau. Perhaps that tells the world something about our nation.

  And if you want to stay in a really nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall

Corisande Manor Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

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