We’ve all done it. And if you say you haven’t, you’re fibbing or you are the boss and you pay someone else to do it. To what crime am I referring?
Menu stealing. That’s right, you heard me.. the pinching of your competitors’ menus.
I hate stealing menus, but sometimes, you just gotta. You want to see what the competition is doing, what they are charging in your markets, what offerings they are focusing on.
You need to see what their market research has yielded in terms of pricing, or do they even list prices or what size vessel or branded or not.
Who made their wine list...is it eclectic or a sell-out to a single producer/broker/distributor? How many listings? How many bottles, drafts, signature cocktails, alc-frees? Free refills or no?
Don’t tell me you haven’t cased a room to see where your server is or if anyone is paying attention and crammed a full-on menu into your obscenely large purse. Or hied on into the restroom, only to totter out stiffly with a 2 foot-long tri-fold jammed down the back of your pants.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel terrible and guilty doing it, but how else to get the info you need to compete?
Well, there’s lying. I’ve heard of people calling up a restaurant with some false pretense..
‘Hello...Tiffany, is it? Hey Tiffany, I’m considering having a bridal shower/birthday/happy hour/team celebration at your restaurant and I was wondering if you could tell me about your happy hour offerings/prices/discounts... yeah, great, so is that a regular sized jack and coke for a buck or a smaller version? And what time do you run your Happy Hour? Is that weekends, too? Does the dollar discount apply to all sizes of beer and, by the way, what sizes do you offer? No, no, don’t get your manager.. I just, well, yeah, I think I have enough here. I’ll call back later to make my reservation.”
Not that I’VE ever done that. I, of course, pay people....
But it’s not just my idea to do it.. the bosses are always saying go to so and so’s and get a menu. OK, so now I have to walk into a restaurant with the intention of leaving with something that does not belong to me, something that cost the establishment a couple of bucks and do something I don’t want MY competitors to do to me. But they do, because they have to.
Now, one could say, just get the ‘to-go’ menu and that would be a good solution for a purloiner bent on dissecting food menus. But that doesn’t help your friendly neighborhood Goddess, as, unless you are in Vegas or N’awlins’, there ain’t no ‘booze to go’.
So we steal menus.
But let’s not. I say, we should be able to call our comestible comrades, our beverage bro’s, our cocktail cousins and just ask them to send us a PDF of their menus. And why not? It’s cheaper than constantly having them walk out the door shoved down someone’s back-side and we’re going to get them anyway...
And, while there IS the intellectual property thingy, well, that’s moot, because we’re STEALING THE MENU. There it all is, in print. So you can give it to us or we can take it...either way, we end up with your information and you end up with ours when YOUR boss sends you on a reconnaissance mission to my place with your thieving sticky fingers..
I say we, as operators, make a pact that we will send out our menus to anyone who makes a request, so that we can all get right with the laws of man and the Universe and stop having to pinch the menus.
It would save us all a lot of money and hell-fire and damnation. After all, some religious philosophies claim that any sin is as bad as all sin and I sure don’t want to have to fry in Hades because of your Kiddy Kocktail menu.
So, Operators, I make this vow to you... you can call me up any time and just ask me for my menus. I will email you the PDF forthwith and save myself $5 per menu for the effort.
Er, well, I would, if you knew who I was in my other, non-Goddessy life...but, in theory....I’m just sayin’...
So, let’s stop stealing each others menus and cooperate. After all, in this climate of mergers and acquisitions, we may be working together tomorrow at Chilibee’s or MacLobster’s or Montana Grilligan’s or The Cracker Factory...so let’s work together today, share our menus and avoid eternal damnation.