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Short Menus vs. Long Menus

What's Worse: A Menu That's Too Short or Too Long?

It's been said that haute cuisine is true art, but I'd argue that composing a menu takes some serious skill, too. First off, the food has to read like it's appetizing. Then there's the issue of how many items should be offered. Everyone's got a different number: when I dine out at a restaurant that offers less than 10 menu items, my guy complains that there's not enough selection on the menu. Yet if I open a menu to find 100 offerings, I'll almost certainly be overwhelmed. As someone who has a tough time making decisions both big and small, I'd rather be faced with a terse menu than a paralyzingly long one. Getting the length just right, it seems, is quite a tough line to toe. Which do you consider the greater of two evils? And what's the magic number when it comes to menus?

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bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 6 years
I'm super picky, and I find things on short menus all the time. :shrug: I guess it just depends on what places you go to. I also find that shorter menus have better prepared dishes.
chow chow 6 years
i'm really picky about my foods so i'd rather have a long menu so i can have plenty of choices to reject
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Both can be a pain, but I'd rather have a long menu than a short. I'm a vegetarian and often the "short" versions have absolutely nothing or 1 item for me. I work at a restaurant with a huge menu, it can be nice to have a huge selection.
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
Snarky, Not to mention Applebees, Fridays, and the generic like. Give me a good old Mom and Pop place that does what they do and they "do do" it up well in a relatively healthy manner. :)
snarkypants snarkypants 6 years
i agree with those who say that a big menu usually means not fantastically prepared food. i find that the more concise the menu, the better the food. case-in-point, the cheesecake factory. ENORMOUS MENU. mediocre food that is horribly unhealthy and filled with preservatives.
myhousemd myhousemd 6 years
Even if there are a ton of options on the menu, I can usually ignore half of it because of the headings. I have an idea of what sort of food I'm craving, so I ignore the parts of the menu that don't pertain to me. (I also looove reading menus. If the menu is too short, it's like reading a book with a promising plot that ended far too soon.)
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 6 years
I agree with fuzzles, a short concise menu is usually best. Offering more than 20 entrees can be nice if you eat at a place a lot. But a restaurant that offers less can concentrate on those items and make them spectacular.
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
This thread has me thinking about the long gone, but best g-damn burger place ever. (It was consistently named in the nation's to 50 burgers.) Hilltop Tavern in Mankato, Minnesota. A little hole-in-the-wall place that sat 20 people max. The menu--burgers, slaw, potato salad and baked beans. The elderly silver-haired owner didn't screw around with fries. Oh, and she always has a ciggy dangling from her lips as she flipped those burgers from heaven. *sigh*
fuzzles fuzzles 6 years
I've usually found it to be the case that when the menu is short, the food tends to be consistently prepared better. A long menu tends to breed mediocrity in that few, if any, specialty dishes shine through.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I am super picky and if the menu is too short it's highly unlikely I'll be able to find anything I want.
SusanTeufel SusanTeufel 6 years
I have a hard time deciding with a menu that is too long, so I say too long.
opentypeA opentypeA 6 years
I was just going to say exactly what Auntie May May said!
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
I've been to some restaurants where I just did not find anything that I liked at all, mostly because everything sounded ridiculously unhealthy. If it's a super long menu, you don't have to read it all. Just go to one category (like chicken) and if you find something you like, stop reading. No need to feel like you're missing out if you don't comb through it all.
savorytv savorytv 6 years
That one required some thought! Both are annoying, but I detest a minimal menu, especially one that does not ever change, ie with the seasons. I do wonder how a restaurant can be financially efficient though when hundreds of items are offered. Seriously how could all of the ingredients possibly be fresh? Cheers and have a great weekend! xo
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