Consumer Trends

Brits increasingly embracing ‘menu hacking’

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Brits increasingly 'menu hacking' and ordering off-menu

Related tags Nutrition

Brits are becoming increasingly inclined to 'menu hack' when dining in a pub or restaurant, according to new research.

A survey by OpenTable reported that more than a quarter of Brits (28%) said they now liked to order completely off-menu when dining out.

More than half of respondents (56%) said they had adapted a dish on a menu to suit their taste, while 38% said when they were set on eating a particular dish, they would rather visit a restaurant they know and like and order off-menu than try somewhere new.

Ernst Van Zyl, chef patron of the Lord Clyde:

"We will cook for anybody and everybody - we just want you to come, sit down, chill out and enjoy what we can offer you and the experience."

A survey of restaurateurs by the booking service reported that 94% of establishments were happy to accommodate a guest’s requirements and requests to boost customer loyalty.

'Can't go back on our word'

Ernst Van Zyl, chef-patron of the Lord Clyde, Kerridge, Cheshire, said: “We always call up 24 hours in advance to confirm reservations and at that stage we do ask about any kind of requirements so we can be forewarned. And because we are forewarned we can't go back on our word.

"At the end of the day it’s still someone who's paying my bills, helping me pay my staff - [dietary requirements] is a huge market nowadays, even just in the last two years.

“It feels like I'm doing more and more dietary requirements every week. I do think 'where are these people coming from - are they just jumping on the bandwagon or is there really something wrong with them?'”

But, he added: “We will cook for anybody and everybody - we just want you to come, sit down, chill out and enjoy what we can offer you and the experience. People talk to people and word of mouth can really make you or break you.” 


Women were found to be marginally less abashed when making requests to change orders: 59% of women said they were proud to do so, compared to 52% of men.

When customers chose only to remove single ingredients from dishes, the most commonly removed ingredients were sauce (11%), mushrooms (10%) and meat (8%).

In more than half of these cases, the customer’s motivation was a dislike for the ingredient in question, followed by adding extras (22%) and not enough choice on the establishment’s menu (15%).

Stosie Madi, chef patron of the Parkers Arms, Lancashire, said: "I would say 95% of customers eat what's on the menu. Very few try to bypass it.

"I think though that's perhaps because we give them what they want - no heavy, gloopy sauces, most dishes gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options and well trained staff to help them navigate the menu."

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