Why do restaurants have Chef’s Specials?

All restaurant items can be broadly categorized into following 4 segments.

  1. Star – Popular item with high profit margin
  2. Plowhorse – Popular item with low profit margin
  3. Puzzle – Unpopular with high profit margin
  4. Dog – Unpopular with low profit margin

The Chef’s Special usually belongs to category 1 or 3. It is a way of maximizing their profit. If Chef’s Specials are shown on menu, usually they are featured in such way that it will attract most attention – often with box and pattern.

There are also many other tricks restaurants follow. For example, if you ask for water, they will ask mineral or sparkling. You should simply say tap water. They are often bound (if local law applies) to serve tap water for free. If you ask recommendation for items from menu, they always tend to up sell (i.e. offering something more expensive).


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