Pet Peeve #68: When Restaurants Don’t Update Their Online Menus

I rarely post pet peeves anymore, as I’d much rather talk about things I love or am fascinated by than things that annoy me, but I’m going to make an exception for this one.

Recently I visited not one, but two restaurants over the course of a few weeks where the online menus–like, the official menus on their website–were revealed to be out of date as soon as I arrived at the restaurants.

Normally this wouldn’t be all that noticeable, but in one of those instances, the entire reason we went to the reason was for a specific dish. The Scottish Arms had a delicious-looking duck dish on their lunch menu as listed online, but when we arrived at the restaurant–a birthday lunch for my friend–it turned out that the duck is only available for dinner. I could tell my friend was quite disappointed, but fortunately the dishes we tried instead were delicious.

The second example was a work-related lunch. I can be quite indecisive when ordering at a restaurant, so when I have a lunch meeting, I make my food choice in advance so I can focus on the conversation at the table. So that morning I looked at my go-to St. Louis food blog, Whiskey & Soba, to select a cajun pasta dish (which was, of course, listed on Schlafly Bottleworks’ online menu).

When I opened up the menu at the restaurant, I was dismayed to find that menu item was no longer there. Fortunately I had a backup in mind, thanks to Whiskey & Soba, but it wasn’t ideal (it was, however, delicious).

I understand that it’s tough to keep your digital presence synced up with the real world. I’ve been guilty of that many times. And I like that restaurants keep their menus fresh.

It makes me wonder why there isn’t a service that centralizes the menu creation and editing process so whenever a restaurant edits their menu, they can print the paper version and update the online version at the same time. And if that does exist–I’m sure I’m not the first to think of it–why don’t all restaurants use it?

Have you ever encountered this problem?

4 Responses to “Pet Peeve #68: When Restaurants Don’t Update Their Online Menus”

  1. Not exactly, but I’d add it to my Pet Peeve List if I had one, especially if I’d experienced it in relation to a duck dish—which I recently relished at my birthday dinner, after choosing it in advance from an online menu.

    If the service doesn’t exist, Shark Tank Wannabes should read this blog!

  2. Sara says:

    Very annoying. I experienced that myself with one of my favorite restaurants. I decided to make a lunch run for work and had invited the executives to tell me their order. One of the directors ordered something that ended up not being on the menu. I called her, and she gave me another choice, which also ended up not being on the menu. Third time was a charm, but that was embarrassing since I’d talked the place up so much. The food is always delicious – this was the first time I’d had a menu conflict there.

  3. T-Mac says:

    This reminds me of a related pet peeve–restaurants who list only some of their ingredients on the menu. Example – Mexican restaurants will list something like “fajitas are served on a bed of red peppers, green peppers, and onions, with side of rice, shredded cheese, fresh guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, and refried beans.” They literally list everything that comes on the plate except for the fact that they’re going to throw half of the side items onto lettuce, inextricably intertwining the lettuce with said items and making half of each of those items unusable if you do not want or cannot eat lettuce. It boggles my mind. If you’re going to mix lettuce into everything, I’d appreciate a heads up. Burger places often do the same thing. “Oh yeah, we listed the bacon, onion straws, bbq sauce, and squishy cheddar we’re putting on that burger, but we just take it for granted that you’re always going to want the chopped lettuce integrated into everything, so we leave that off the menu description”. That’s my personal issue, but I know I don’t stand alone here–I’ve been with people who are miffed that a certain item is cooked with lots of garlic or spice (when other items aren’t, but that isn’t listed anywhere).

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Ah, that does make sense. I agree that they should list lettuce on any menu items where lettuce is included.

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