Graphic: Nicole Antonuccio | Photo: Teri Dixon/Getty Images
The Salty WaitressSalty Waitress is The Takeout’s advice column from a real-life waitress that will teach you how not to behave like a garbage person while dining out—and maybe in real life.  

Dear Salty,

Why do the majority of servers not tell me the price of daily specials? Is it tacky to ask the price if they don’t mention it?

Thanks,

Not Tacky Just Curious


Dear Curious,

Generally when someone describes themselves as “not tacky,” entirely the opposite is true. (Looking at you, Cousin Joanne with the rhinestone jeans.)

But I don’t think wanting to know the price of something you’re considering paying for is tacky. “How much is that BMW? You know what, I don’t need to know!”

Servers, especially at some nicer restaurants, have been trained not to mention the prices of specials. It’s not to upsell you. It’s to maintain one of the illusions of dining out: That everyone can afford everything! Another illusion is that your grandma isn’t swiping Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits into her purse. I can see that shit plain as day.

I wish more restaurants would just be up front about the pricing of specials. What are they trying to hide, right? Yes, often specials can be a bit pricier than items on the regular menu, but that can usually be explained by their luxury, seasonal ingredients like truffles or those ramps you hipsters seem to like so much. It would save everyone a lot of guessing if the server ended their special spiel with: “And that is priced at $25.”

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If a server doesn’t tell you the price of a special, just ask politely. We have seen so much weird shit in our day, Curious, that this will hardly make us bat an eye. We’re not going to think you’re destitute or treat you worse or ignore your table. It’s my goal to make my guests comfortable, and part of being comfortable is knowing what you’re spending.

No one wins when a guest suffers sticker shock. You walk out the door feeling taken advantage of, when you should walk out the door feeling full, fabulous, and not tacky.


Got a question about dining out etiquette? Or just a general question about life we can help you with? Email us: salty@thetakeout.com

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