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Do you get the special?

How frequently do you order the verbal special at a restaurant? What about special desserts? Are you worried that you're getting the clean-out-the-fridge or the leftovers from the big party the night before? Or do you forget what they are as soon as the server leaves the table?

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  1. I order the specials fairly frequently. One local place in town has fantastic specials and I usually go this route >75% of the time. The part of the OP that changes the picture is the "verbal". I truly dislike this practice. What is so hard about using a computer and printer to leave with the patrons. I still receive that "whay are you asking?" look from the waiter when I ask "How much?" for the specials my DW and I are interested in.

    No I do not consider the specials as the gumbo from the past.

    3 Replies
    1. re: jfood

      Don't know about other restaurants, but the reason we do specials as a "verbal" is because there is a limited amount and the don't want to print it on the menu just to have disappointing guests order it and be told it isn't available, or by starting service with a negative ("tonight we DON'T have...) Personally, I have a hard time remembering a verbal special when I'm a customer, but I'm not shy about asking for a repeat if it seems like something I'd be interested in.

      And for the record, never once have our specials been leftovers. Leftovers are for staff meal. Specials are truly something special that the chef comes up with.

      1. re: Kbee

        Boy I'm tired and my grammar stinks tonight...hopefully you understand what I'm trying to say. I meant we don't want to have disappointed guests try to order something that isn't there... oh, never mind. You get it.

        1. re: Kbee

          your grammar and mine are equal tonight. To be clear I do NOT believe the Specials are leftovers from the previous night.

          Blackboards are a good idea or just use the little white boards on each table that can be adjusted on the fly. Agree that it is a bad way to start the meal by elling people what is not avaialble. For some reason all of a sudden everyone at the table was going to order it.

    2. i'll order the special usually if i'm at a place i frequent often, just to try something new the kitchen's come up with. if i'm at a new place, i tend to try what's on the menu, especially if i've "heard" about a certain dish from friends or fellow chowhounds.

      but i'll listen to a waiter spill the specials regardless. however, i will say the selling and communication skills of the waiter do play a part in whether or not i order the special. if he/she speaks clearly and slowly enough and shows some passion in announcing the special, i'm more apt to consider it. it's also a nice if the waiter discloses the price in his spiel.

      i don't worry about specials being leftovers, so long as it's fresh or not being recycled. many restaurants have a dish and subsequent ingredient that doesn't sell as well and for these restaurants, the chef's creativity can really shine through. i mean, how many of us have made a fabulous meal out of extra veggies or meat we didn't use earlier in the week?

      1. At all of my favorite restaurants, the menu changes daily.

        Other places, in my experience, if the specials are the best thing to order there's usually a chalkboard.

        If a friendly server gives me a tip that there's only one order left of something particularly good, I'll always bite.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          Actually, thinking more about it, maybe I get the impression that specials are better when there's a chalkboard simply because I'm far more likely to order them.

        2. I'm more likely to get the special if the server lists the ingredients, and something I like jumps out at me. But just listing dishes with no extra info, I don't usually order those.

          1. If something on the special list sounds interesting to me, I'll order it. My husband once had an amazing special at a restaurant we love. It was unlike anything else on the menu and just the way the waitress described it made it almost a given that we'd order it.

            A few things I hate when it comes to specials (and what usually keep me from ordering one): when the waiter doesn't tell you how much it costs, the descriptions are way too long and you forget what they were even saying halfway through, the waiter sounds like he's reading from a cue card or he/she can't pronounce the ingredients.