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Secret Menus?

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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 March 2013 at 07:02
There was a report on The Today show, this morning, about off-the-menu items available at fast food restaurants. Things that, if you're part of the in-group, you can order.

I knew there were some casual dining places that do this. I didn't understand it with those places, and I understand it even less with the squat & gobble joints.

I mean, what is the point? If it's not on the menu, how do you expect people to order it?

Anybody want to offer a guess as to why any restaurant manager with the brains God gave a turnip, would have secret menu items?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2013 at 08:45
I offer this guess.

People like to feel special. So the manager is offering more than food, he or she is offering hopefully repeat customers another layer of reasoning to return to the restaurant. Like this.

1. Identify what appears to be a cliquey and shallow customer or customers.
2. Offer said customer/s something "special."
3. "Oooh! My! Thank you. I am special! Thanks for noticing. All these other common idiots never do." Says the shallow, cliquey customer/s.
4. Make a little private show upon service, y'know, just for them, the cool peeps that are in the know. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Say no more.
$.
6. The rumor mill grinds on as it always does and other cool peeps come to know what only the cool peeps know.
7. Feed 'em all! Food, AND bullshit.
$$$.
9. Repeat step $$$ until the cool peeps figure out that too many idiots know what they know, and they don't feel special anymore.
10. Put the special item on the menu and come up with something else that only you and I know about. Shhh, don't tell anyone.
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2013 at 08:59
I can see that working in the casual dining places, maybe.

But in a fast-food joint? You'd have to be shallow, indeed, to get off over being treated special at McDonalds.

Even in the casual dining places I question the efficacy of such a program. How many people who might otherwise order X aren't, because they don't know it's available? And does that loss make up for the in-group?

I know a lot of people, for instance, who were disappointed when Sonny's dropped its hot dogs and beans item from the menu. At least one of them doesn't go to Sonny's at all, anymore, because that was his favorite lunch item there.

He was shocked when I told him he could still order it. They sell it, it's just not on the menu.

IMO, that whole secret-menu thing is just stupid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2013 at 09:13
Mac-D's has off menu choices? I didn't know that.

OK, I'll make another guess. It's either mass restaurant management hysteria, like lemmings off a cliff, or they are doing it because it makes them more money. I'll guess the latter. 
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HistoricFoodie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 March 2013 at 11:30
Yeah, Micky D's. Also, according to the report, Wendys and Arbys.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 March 2013 at 02:30
Well, since I avoid those places like the plague I really can't give you an "insider's" opinion, but those places are about one thing and one thing only....the bottom line.

Somewhere along the line this has to be profit-driven, so I have to agree with Brook and say that if it were on the friggin menu...you'd probably make more money?Confused
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MarkR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 March 2013 at 06:47
All those places have to run in compliance with the Corporate "model". The manager will have little or no say in what is or is not on the menu or available. I used to date a girl that managed a MCyDees, went to "Hamburger U" and all. Specials and everything are dictated from Corp.
What is "secret" and why???? I dunno, I no go there ever!
Maybe not enough room on the "menu" or to make some folks feel "special"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2013 at 11:57
I can think of two local examples -
 
The local SubWay offers a "pizza sub" that is a spin-off of their Italian and BMT, with pizza sauce etc. Nothing too exotic, but it's not on the menu.
 
Also, the local Taco Johns used to offer "Indian Tacos," basically a loaded tostada on fry bread rather than on a tostada. I don't know if they still offer this.
 
But, to answer the question as to why? I have no idea - the only thing I can think of is that the "local favourites" would not go well in the structured, full-franchise menu?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 April 2013 at 15:26
I can verify that at least McDonalds has a hidden menu. It seems to be very popular with the high-school crowd, of which my daughter is a part. High school has always been very clique-y to begin with and I suppose this is just another way for the teens to feel superior to others. If you know the secret menu, you can be part of the "cool crowd" kind of thing. I can understand it from McDonalds  point of view. It appeals to the high school students and therefor they sell more, and also it keeps really stupid things off their menu so old people like me won't go "what the *$#^ is that!?"

The one my daughter orders all the time is a McDank, and it's apparently an entire McChicken sandwich stuffed inside a Double cheeseburger.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=McDank
Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 September 2014 at 06:32
Originally posted by HistoricFoodie HistoricFoodie wrote:

There was a report on The Today show, this morning, about off-the-menu items available at fast food restaurants. Things that, if you're part of the in-group, you can order.

I knew there were some casual dining places that do this. I didn't understand it with those places, and I understand it even less with the squat & gobble joints.

I mean, what is the point? If it's not on the menu, how do you expect people to order it?

Anybody want to offer a guess as to why any restaurant manager with the brains God gave a turnip, would have secret menu items?


   It looks like some items are more naturally put together than others.  Like requesting ice cream on top of rootbeer.  Every person isn't going to order their rootbeer like this, but those hankering for a root beer float may enjoy it.  I can see some of the other ones as well, like replacing the smaller patties, on a big mac, with 1/4lb patties.  Other ones just seem to be structured to be fun, playful and just a little silly.

   Five guys will make the fries extra-crispy if requested, sounds reasonable...I can see why they may not put it on the menu, same with cheese fries.  Both McDonalds and 5 guys seems to offer a couple of meatless sandwiches out there...another reasonable offer, I think.  Adding a little chocolate shake with a mint shake seems perfectly reasonable upon request too.  But I could see how they may not want to make it a menu item.  If someone is compelled enough to ask, they shall receive.


    

clique

< ="" ="au" title="Listen to the pronunciation of clique" style="border: 0px; cursor: pointer; height: 17px; margin: 0px 10px 4px 4px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: bottom; width: 18px; font-size: 13px; -: http://www.merriam-webster.coms/default/s/reference/audio-pron-hw.gif; -attachment: initial; -size: initial; -origin: initial; -clip: initial; -: 0% 0%; -repeat: no-repeat;"> noun \ˈklēk, ˈklik\

: a small group of people who spend time together and who are not friendly to other people

 

   
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 October 2014 at 23:18
Interesting post. While travelling from Manhattan to Charleston, South Carolina many many years ago, my former husband and I had gone to a small well known local Bar, in Charleston, run by a former Manhattaner Italian Chef. At this bar, he had a very tiny bar menú.

He also told us, that he has several off the menú dishes, that were Italian which was not the typical fare served.

It was amazing. I wish I could remember the name of the Chef and Bar however, at moment, I would have to go through some Conde Nast Magazines, which I wrote for to find the article I had written about Charleston.

Wonderful experience.

Have a nice weekend.

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Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

WEBSITE: www.visionsgourmandes.com
www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..
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