Why It Pays To Read A Restaurant Menu Before Dining Out

Dining out at a new restaurant is typically an exciting experience for most of us foodies. But trying a new place can be tricky if you're indecisive on what to order, have food allergies, follow a specific diet, or are unsure of how much cash you need to pay the bill. When you get to the table, you want to enjoy a beverage and socialize with your friends and family, rather than inspect the menu and keep the waiter coming back to the table. That's why we think there are many perks to reading a restaurant's menu before you sit down at the restaurant.

These days, most restaurants have menus online, whether it's on their website or social media. If you can't pin down an updated menu, check out Google Reviews or Yelp because many diners post photos of the menu; you can cross-check to see when it was uploaded to know if it's an outdated version of the menu. There are also websites like MenuPages and Allmenus if you still can't find a restaurant's menu online. While there are sometimes seasonal changes and daily specials, you can still save a lot of time by checking out the menu beforehand.

Browsing a menu before dining out

It's not just about saving time and having the ability to engage in more conversation. It also helps you prepare for how much you're going to spend. Is it a hole in the wall or a fine dining establishment? Do they accept credit cards or is it a cash-only business? Checking out the menu or the restaurant's website will answer those questions so there are no surprises when the bill comes. Many eateries also include gratuity in the bill for large parties, charge other fees, or have a minimum per diner, which should be reflected on the menu.

The most important reason you're dining out is probably to enjoy the food. That's why it's imperative to check out the menu if you have food allergies or follow a specific diet. Luckily, many restaurants make it easy and list allergens on their menu. Some restaurants even use icons to pinpoint dishes that are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, or keto. Are you a picky eater? Some places don't like when you ask for substitutions — and others won't make any changes to dishes at all — because they want to protect the chef's culinary creations. So, look at the bottom of the online menu before you make a request at the restaurant.