Know When To Avoid The Restaurant Special

So you're seated at the restaurant of your choosing when the waiter approaches and asks if you'd like to hear the daily specials. Here's what you should know before plunking down for that filet mignon or other chef's special.

Photo by toyfoto.

Smart Money offers some cautionary advice for those prone to ordering items off the daily specials menu. Specifically, some restaurants reconfigure the day's surplus food into the next day's specials, so knowing how to distinguish a good special from a bad one can make the difference between an appetising meal and one less worthy of its "special" title.

According to Stephen Zagor, founder of consulting firm Hospitality & Culinary Resources, customers need to watch out for "an expensive item used in a way that's minimizing its flavor". Examples include lamb chops that have been cut, braised and put into dishes as "supporting players". Additionally, "pastas, stews, and soups containing expensive meats are also suspect".

As an additional clue, remember that sauces and gravy are often used as cover-ups, so think twice about meals that are heavily saturated with either.

Check out the full post for other restaurant don'ts, then chime in with any worthwhile food lessons you've learned from dining out in the comments.

10 Things Restaurants Won't Tell You [Smart Money]


    I'm impressed by the turn of conversation here to cookbooks as a segway.

    tips: depends on the country, some waiters get a good wage, some get half a wage (australia), and some get no wage (US). You wouldn't avoid paying a contractor just because they don't get an hourly salary, what's all this talk I keep hearing of letting US waiters get by on $2 an hour because you don't want to tip?

    Why tip the Matre De? They didn't do the work, tip the waiter.

    If you didn't get table on time, maybe complain to the people sitting at your table before you, who were told politely that there was another table coming at 7, but stayed till 8pm, and the other couple who took your table because they turned up an hour late and had to be sat at the table that was a backup for you.

    But finally, why do people feel they have the right to go off at the waiter, the retail assistant, and yes even the call centre worker?

    Would you cop the insults people give to these guys if they went into your work? I'm serious. If they came up to your desk, and told you that your report was sloppy, badly presented, and they had to wait too long for it. Would you cop it? And then you go and work your arse off, only to find that a couple of reports later, the next person complains about it being too long, doesn't like the new presentation? That's what I thought.

    If you wouldn't cop it, don't say it to the people that serve you.


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