Mental Floss

The History of Restaurant Menus

Michele Debczak
Frantic00/Shutterstock / Frantic00/Shutterstock

Modern diners take them for granted, but menus haven't always been a staple of restaurants. Before customers were given a list of dishes to choose from, they had to settle for whatever was coming out of the kitchen that day. The innovation of written menus opened the door for the explosion of the fine dining industry, the introduction of the kids' meal, and some sneaky restaurant practices.

The story of the restaurant menu is covered in the latest episode of Food History. If you've ever wondered what the first menu looked like or what kind of design tricks restaurants use to deceive diners, check out the video below.

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