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No drink prices on the menu?

tunapet Jul 27, 2007 02:50 PM

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. ajs228 RE: tunapet Jul 27, 2007 03:01 PM

    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
      tunapet RE: ajs228 Jul 27, 2007 03:24 PM

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

    2. m
      mojoeater RE: tunapet Jul 27, 2007 08:11 PM

      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
        jim1126 RE: mojoeater Jul 28, 2007 10:39 AM

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

      2. s
        sweetnspicy RE: tunapet Jul 28, 2007 10:47 AM

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

        1. c
          Clarkafella RE: tunapet Jul 28, 2007 11:01 AM

          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
            sweetnspicy RE: Clarkafella Jul 28, 2007 03:53 PM

            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
              Clarkafella RE: sweetnspicy Jul 28, 2007 07:04 PM

              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
                sweetnspicy RE: Clarkafella Jul 29, 2007 01:37 AM

                I think I get what you are saying.

                1. re: Clarkafella
                  Dee S RE: Clarkafella Apr 9, 2010 08:02 AM

                  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. duckdown RE: tunapet Jul 29, 2007 01:41 AM

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

              1. ccbweb RE: tunapet Jul 29, 2007 06:21 AM

                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. t
                  textex RE: tunapet Jul 29, 2007 12:38 PM

                  that bugs me alot TOO

                  1. l
                    Loren3 RE: tunapet Jul 30, 2007 10:41 AM

                    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
                      deibu RE: Loren3 Jul 30, 2007 11:46 AM

                      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. brekkie_fan RE: tunapet Aug 11, 2007 04:24 AM

                      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. c
                        CapinWinky RE: tunapet Mar 27, 2010 10:19 PM

                        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. s
                          smartie RE: tunapet Mar 28, 2010 07:32 AM

                          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. melpy RE: tunapet Apr 2, 2010 03:34 PM

                            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. h
                              heckonwheels RE: tunapet Apr 7, 2010 09:15 AM

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

                              1. c
                                Clams047 RE: tunapet Apr 7, 2010 01:45 PM

                                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. b
                                  Bl4ckC4t RE: tunapet Aug 2, 2010 09:55 AM

                                  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.

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