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Fact or myth? The truth behind 10 common perceptions in the food industry

Published July 8, 2021

10 common myths about restaurants people keep getting wrong


People, many of them now vaccinated, are flocking back to restaurants—and it’s not just because they’re tired of feeling cooped up. Restaurants are an integral part of their lives. They’re vibrant parts of communities that bring friends and family together and fill their bellies with delicious food. That’s why millions of people around the world dine in or order takeout food from restaurants on a daily basis—but how much do we really know about this beloved industry?

Are all of our beliefs backed by solid facts or are some of them out-of-date myths that hold no credibility today? Read on. You might be surprised.

Don’t order fish on Mondays
Myth!

This used to be the common belief because Anthony Bourdain explained in 1999 that on Monday’s fish was usually last week’s leftovers. It had to do with a lack of shipments of fresh seafood to restaurants over the weekends.

While it is true that several years ago restaurants usually didn’t receive fresh seafood shipments all the time and they often used leftovers from the week before on Monday—that's changed. What was once passed over fish from the weekend that wasn’t the freshest served on Mondays is now just as fresh as any other day.

That’s because new seafood shipments can arrive nearly as often as restaurants want them. So put that Monday-fish myth behind you. Now there’s no need to worry about ordering a delicious fish meal any day of the week. 

Related: Easy ideas to create and improve your restaurant menus

90 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year
Myth!

This isn’t a true statement. It’s a common misunderstanding because smaller restaurants are more apt to fail than larger ones. But, the restaurant industry failures are less common than they are in other industries, such as real estate agencies, brokers, and automotive repair shops. There are even several cases where restaurants don’t make any profit, but continue to keep their doors open in hopes of a more successful next year. 

You have to drink red wine with red meat and white wine with chicken and fish
Myth!

It used to be a hard and fast rule, but there have been some changes in the wine pairing department with many restaurants trying new things. Now there are many dishes being served that mix white wine with red meat and red wine with chicken and fish. So you don’t have to match the color of the wine with the color of the meat. But you do want to pay attention to the overall flavor of the dish.

Servers don’t know everything on the menu
Fact!

Even though you might hope your server knows everything on the menu, they are human and it’s unrealistic to believe that they know every inch of the menu all of the time. It’s also difficult for them to stay up-to-date on last minute changes the chef makes and frequent updates in the menu. Also, keep in mind that the server probably doesn’t know how each menu item relates to vegan and gluten-free diets.

Waiting tables is a job for young people only
Myth!

While many young people wait tables and then move on to their next career, many people have made waiting tables a long-term job. According to Yummy, more than 50% of American adults work in the restaurant industry. In fact, the average age for servers is nearly 30 years old.

Related: Tips on how to find and keep the best talent for your restaurant in 2021—and beyond

A third-party delivery service is an easy process to set up and use
Myth!

While third-party delivery service has seen a large uptick during the pandemic and has been helpful for restaurants, there are important factors to think about before you’re ready to launch it.

Keep in mind there are common problems associated with a third-party delivery service such as the work involved to learn numerous equipment, manual updates on the third-party service that could create confusion when menu items are out of stock, and negative reviews about your restaurant even if it was the third-party service’s mistake. Also, remember that your food needs to travel well without becoming cold fast or soggy.

Free meals for employees are a drain of money
Myth!

We all know that food brings people together, and it’s no different when it comes to your employees. 

Free meals for employees are a great way to help retain them because it shows that you value the impact they make in your restaurant enough to take care of them. Also, by feeding your employees the food on the menu, they become more familiar with it and more comfortable answering questions customers might have. There are several other benefits to providing free meals to employees, but all in all, happy employees make happy customers.

Texting is not an option for reaching your customers
Myth!

Text messaging is a growing marketing trend to reach your customers in real-time because 98 percent of texts are read at some point and 90 percent are read within three minutes. It can be a great option to get customers’ attention, as long as you don’t send too many texts.

It doesn’t matter where you put the prices in the menu
Myth!

It really, really does matter. Menus are a deciding factor when choosing between multiple restaurants.

So it’s important to nest your item price in the description so customers are more likely to read the description before going straight to the price. It’s also a good idea to ditch the dollar signs. That way, customers will read the menu items instead of getting distracted by the cost—that dollar sign is a powerful symbol.

POS systems are too expensive and only large restaurants need them
Myth!

If you are a restaurant owner, you know it would be impossible to do the work a POS system does. Restaurant calculations are too complex to try to do by hand. Any size restaurant needs a proper POS system because it not only handles the numbers, but it also can tell you key information about your restaurant. Your food is the heart of the restaurant; the POS system is the brain.

It’s easy to think we know all about the restaurant industry, but it’s surprising to reveal the myths that we commonly believe. Better understanding the industry can help you become an informed customer, a knowledgeable employee and a driven restaurant owner—even seasoned restaurateurs learn new things about their industry every day.

Want to learn more about all your POS system can do for your restaurant? Click here.

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