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No drink prices on the menu?

I have noticed that chains have the glossy drink menus but no prices listed anywhere. I rarely eat out at chains so I have no idea what to expect. I would just really like to have some idea what I am going to get charged. I was at a Texas Roadhouse recently and the house Margarita was $6.75.More than reasonable. Had I know that I probably would have upgraded the Tequila. It would feel like a cheap smuck to have to ask! How would you handle this?

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  1. I've noticed the same thing, and it does kind of bother me, but I don't like those sweet-and-sour soaked drinks very much anyway. I just assume they're all in the $5-$8 range. You could ask your server, but when I was waiting tables at a similar restaurant in college, I had no idea how much our drinks cost. I just entered their order.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ajs228

      Oddly enough the magarita at the Roadhouse was quite good. I hate the sweet and sour ones too.

    2. Most corporate chains make those tabletop menus in huge batches and then ship around the country. Since different markets charge different prices, it's cheaper not to print the prices. They'd probably do it for the food menus if they could get away with it!

      1 Reply
      1. re: mojoeater

        They do on a lot of online food menus! The PDF is often the same as the printed menu, just without the prices.

      2. I feel as though this is the case for chains and non-chains. Never really thought about it too much.

        1. Funny that you brought this up- just last night we ate at a Chili's- lot's of interesting choices on the drink menu, but not a price anywhere. We asked our server how much- as usual, she didn't have a clue, but went to check for us. Turned out that a Presidente Margarita was in the $6-7.00 range- certainly reasonable, but if we hadn't asked it probably would have been $30 each!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Clarkafella

            Just curious to why you would think the price would change if you hadn't asked. In every restaurant I've worked in the computer has pre-programmed buttons for drinks which charge the prices automatically, yes there are up-charges but those charges appear on the check as well.

            1. re: sweetnspicy

              Sorry, I didn't make myself clear. I didn't really mean that the price would change, just that it might have been more expensive than expected if I hadn't asked... That still isn't very clear, but I don't know how to say what I mean...

                1. re: Clarkafella

                  I think you mean to say that it usually works out that if you don't ask the price in advance, you've selected one of the highest priced items on the menu.


                  I agree with the other posters; the glossies are printed up en-masse and prices are left off due to regional price fluctuation/liquour taxes.

                  Food costs are easier to project and typically are not subject to different rules like booze.

            2. Noticed it and hate it... Nothing worse than ordering a few beers and getting hit with a whopping bill :(

              1. Ask. Period. Its not being cheap and its not being a schmuck. There really aren't many, if any, other circumstances where we'd buy something without knowing the price, or at least a range of prices. So, ask away!

                1. that bugs me alot TOO

                  1. I remember years ago, Friday's used to serve their regular margarita in a 16-oz tumbler, and for two bucks more you could upgrade to the fishbowl margarita served in (yep, you guessed it) a 16-oz stemmed goblet. So, in addition to prices maybe we should ask about sizes, too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Loren3

                      A couple of years ago when South Carolina still had the "minibottle" law I was at a Friday's and asked about one of the larger margaritas and how much alcohol was in it. The waiter told me that it was the exact same amount of alcohol as in the regular margarita - they just added more mix!

                    2. If I'm going to pay for something that's already so marked up, I figure it's usually going to run me $8-12 anyway b/c of the alcohol factor. Fortunately, I don't usually order more than one mixed drink. I'll ask if I want to, but I usually don't.

                      1. This is a uniquely American thing. Almost no sit down restaurant puts drink prices on anything but wine. Drinks (including non-alcoholic) are traditionally a huge source of profit for restaurants in the US, so the food is cheap and the coke is not and they don't exactly want you to notice. For instance, six years ago, I was a broke college student living in Hawaii for a summer. I splurged and went to Friday's and asked about the price of a coke. It was $5.50, my meal was $8.00. Needless to say, I just got water. Go anywhere in Europe or the Caribbean and you will see the price of every beer, and spirit clearly printed. Eastern Europe goes a step further and marks measurement line on every glass so you know you got what you paid for.

                        1. they don't have to pay for reprinting of the drinks menu I guess. They can put prices up without having to say.

                          I have seen it happen at individual restaurants too - drinks menu on the table with a list of cocktails and no prices at all.

                          1. I feel that the reason (coming from a rural area where chains are considered to be special occasion birthday food while a cheap buffet is a normal night on the town), is that many people wouldn't spend the $8 on on some of the drinks if they knew how much they were. $2 bottles with the occasional mixed drink at a bar topping out around $7 MAX, tends to be the norm. Sometimes I ask myself why I live in this food forsaken area :(

                            1. One of my biggest pet peeves. If you can price the food, why not the drinks?

                              1. I make it a point never to return. I should NOT have to ask the price. Ordering without a price is like giving them a blank check. They should NOT be rewarded for hiding what will most likely be an very marked up price.

                                1. Simply ask. They do this to sucker you into ordering a drink that they know is going to be an exorbitant price. The only way you know the prices is if you are a regular that orders it a lot or you work for them.