Feature versus Special

A lot of restaurants have an appetizer or entree that is not on the menu that changes on a frequent basis and it up to the service personnel to communicate this to the guest.

Sometimes these chef creations are on a board displayed so all can see , or maybe it is an insert in the menu , but most of the time it is left to us to just say what it is when the guest is looking at the menu.

When I recount what it is I always use the word feature as opposed to special.

The reason being is when most people think of special they right away relate it to price.It is like when a person goes shopping and they see the words “on special” or “special of the day”and it is for instance a coat that was $120 now on sale for $90. It doesn’t necessarily mean it is a poor item. It just means it is price related. The guest may even ask what the price is in a restaurant when using the word special.

In a restaurant when you use the word feature the guest’s mind doesn’t relate it to price. It is more value related. Rarely if ever does the guests ask what is the price.

At a restaurant where I worked the chef in game season would have a chef’s feature of a rack of caribou with a ligonberry sauce at $55. It is a more expensive dish and what we found was if we mentioned special and they bought it they would look at the bill and say wow $55 for that! But if we mentioned Feature they would get the bill and not even think about what the price was because the word feature indicated value over price.

So the advantages of using the word feature is the restaurant owner can sell a chef selection of the day at a higher price thereby increasing sales revenue and also offering the guests something unique at the same time. As well for the server the cheque average grows too which leads to a bigger gratuity.

Note when the server is asked what the price of a feature is most times that guest is in the wrong restaurant. The guest has to know what kind of restaurant they have gone to.

There is a saying that if you have to ask how much it cost you cannot afford it.

So use the word Feature.This will raise the chef selection to a new level in the guest’s eye.



  1. That’s really smart! I’m going to have to start using that because I agree with you; even in MY mind I’m thinking ‘This is a special, shouldn’t it be a lower price?’

  2. Masquerade….using the word feature is best.Protects you from the price point people.

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