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"Specials" vs "Clearance"


palo
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Many restaurant menus feature "specials". Some are dishes made from unique and not usually available ingredients or a limited spin on a creative dish that isn't normally available. Others offer the diner a special price on an item because the chef was able to get a good price on an item and is passing the savings on to the diner. Finally the "special" might reflect that an ingredient is "going off" or while "good" today, might not be tomorrow and in the interests of economy must be used rather than be wasted.

Just a couple of clarifications, I'm not suggesting "bad" food be served. There should be minimal or no difference in taste between the"fresh" dish and the "not-so fresh" dish.

My question is, should menus indicate what defines these "specials" and how should they do this? I think any menu that included "Clearance Items" as a menu section would scare off many diners, although personally I would give them some honest consideration as I tend to consider value as well as cost in my menu choices.

Finally I believe that all the reasons I described in the first paragraph are legitimate, moral and ethical choices for restaurants to make.

Your thoughts/opinions.

P

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I don't think the restaurant has any obligation to explain the reasoning behind their specials. As long as the food is safe to eat it should not matter whether the dessert special was made because the pastry chef was bored and felt like experimenting or because that case of apricots had seen better days and needed to be used. Cooks all know the really sketchy stuff goes into staff meal, not specials!

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No I do not think that if the food is safe and well prepared and I trust health dept ratings  (mostly and my sense of smell and taste) .. no I do not think that I need to over-think what kind of special it i or the details of how and where it came from ..unless i want something specific prepared a specific way and that never happens for me so 

 

 

no I do not believe we need to know "it all" and really if the food is going off tomorrow that is not today so it is pointless to worry?

 

 it is not a moral or ethical thing unless you are serving like pork to a Muslim or meat to a vegan  something like that? 

 

I am a little confused by your questions and hope my answer is what you are looking for 

 

I do not want to know what I am eating comes of a clearance rack LOL (sorry but that bit was funny "clearance food" ) 

 

isnt that what bleach water is for LOL? …ok my son is an Executive chef that is an inside joke 

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
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why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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When my bother worked at a very upscale restaurant, he warned my off of the "specials". They were indeed made with ingredients they needed to move before they took a loss on them. Bonus, they upcharged for the specials.

 

I loved this resto (Cafe Giorgio's in Cary) which has many years since gone out of business including being padlocked by the IRS. This place had an absolutely gorgeous setting in a glass building next to a pond with swans, ducks and seasonally, geese, that were reflected in the building's glass. Woods around, outdoor seating on the patio, and creative, artistic lighting, also reflected in the pond and glass. Just beautiful!!!

 

I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest to an employee party that included much beautifully prepared food and live entertainment, but the most memorable was the Greek roast lemon chicken steaming hot from the oven.

 

I also paid for a dinner there that was really special. I was waited on by Diane, my brother's coworker and friend, and my friend as well. She pulled out all the stops to make our special occasion extraordinary. The bouillabaise and paella were amazing! I can't remember this many decades down the road how much I tipped Diane, but it was a lot. She deserved it.

 

Giorgio Bakatsias, the proprietor is still in business in the area, but I never get to Durham where his Parizade restaurant is operating to this day. http://parizadedurham.com/ and 

 

http://www.yelp.com/biz/parizade-durham

 

But I always followed my brother's advice and steered clear of the specials.

 

ETA: fixed the second link which didn't work at first.

Edited by Thanks for the Crepes (log)

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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First, I think calling what I'm selling as a 'Special' on the same level as something called 'Clearance', is the culinary equivalent of calling my mom a streetwalker? lol

 

I don't know where people eat where anything what kitchen specials is that close to being spoiled, but any decent place wouldn't be doing that. If it's still ok, technically speaking, it goes to family meal like pastrygirl said - or on the waste log if it's borderline. Let alone getting a paying guest sick, have you ever tried to pass off 'Sorta alright' chicken as something delicious? No amount of salt covers that up.

 

Do people run specials of food maybe re-purposed from other things? Sure. Doesn't mean they aren't so fresh, or of great quality. I think too many shitty chains and bad restaurant movies gave a lot of people the wrong impression. Most places put more effort into specials than menu items because, well, they're different. And special.

 

Bottom line unless you're eating at that place from the movie 'Waiting', you really shouldn't be worrying about what is being served on the specials list - nothing should need any special naming or requirements. And if you are, I think the more important thing to be doing is questioning your dining choices.

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Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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^^I understand what you're saying about specials - "everything on my menu is special", but at the same time if the restaurant managed to get a special deal on first rate steaks at say 50% off their regular cost, could they not offer these to their customers as a "special" at a lesser price than normal.

 

Would you see doing this compromising your values?

 

p

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Bourdain warned of eating the fish special or fish for that matter on certain days.  :unsure:

 

I think the "Special" is usually planned. As in: the Chef ordered a case of lobster for the Lobster FraDiablo that's one of the specials we're running this week. At some point it will be "hey we got 5 left so !@#$% move them tonight!" but that's not how it starts.

 

IMO any kitchen should structure their menu and prep so that little is wasted and clearance state of mind is avoided. Prizes for moving Specials works pretty well too.

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^^I understand what you're saying about specials - "everything on my menu is special", but at the same time if the restaurant managed to get a special deal on first rate steaks at say 50% off their regular cost, could they not offer these to their customers as a "special" at a lesser price than normal.

 

Would you see doing this compromising your values?

 

p

This is where I'm a little confused - What someone would be selling a dish for, should be reflected by what you're getting the product in for anyway: It scales, regardless of what the product is, special or no special item. If I get something in at a lower price, I can charge a lower price - sure I want to make money, but I don't want to rip people off.

 

Are you thinking that because it's a 'first rate' steak I'd be charging a high price, regardless of what I get it in for? My values are to make awesome food for people and not rip them off - i apologize if I'm missing the point, just in my experience, my specials are more geared towards what I want to be trying out and making, more than what deal I can get something in for as a deal. If I can get a lower price on something great, if not, that's fine too - you adjust everything according to what your cost is.

 

I don't really understand asking why adjusting the selling price of something based on cost would be related to compromising values?

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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^^Let's suppose your supplier is offering you an ingredient @ 20% off their regular price. This is a one-off. Would you go to the trouble of re-printing your menus, just for the week or would you just add a "Special" page to your menu? Additionally if a customer sees a menu item for $20 (because you adjusted your cost) and then comes back with some friends a week later and sees the same item for $30 (because your supplier is now charging his regular price), his first thought will probably be "Boy, did they ever raise their prices"

 

Regarding my use of "compromising values", I'm not sure where that phrase came from in reference to your post. I probably had a thought which is no longer with me nor relavent. I retract and apologize.

 

p

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If the 20% is a one-time-deal on an ingredient that is used on a daily basis--say, x virg olive oil, then why on earth would you change the pricing on the menu? It's a one-time-deal, and prices after that will only go up.   If a supplier gave me a one-time-deal of 20% on something I don't normally use in the menu, say, pork tenderloins, then I'd have pork tenderloins on the daily fresh sheet, price reflected.  Fresh sheets are printed off on the office printer, and changed out daily.  

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