June 16, 2014 8:04 pm

Secret menus at the chains and local Montreal restaurants


MONTREAL – Cotton candy Frappuccinos and Snickerdoodle Macchiatos are just a few of the drinks on the Starbucks secret menu, drinks that are not listed on the actual menu in stores. It’s what all the cool kids are drinking these days, and posting about online, of course, using the hashtag #secretmenu on Instagram and Twitter.

McDonalds and Burger King have their own options for those in the know, including the Rodeo Burger, and the Suicide Burger.

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And though some Starbucks baristas may not know how to make a Strawberry Cheesecake Latte, they’ll still make it for customers who can provide them with the right recipe. Most can be found online.

It’s all part of a 21st-century marketing strategy, a way to get around having too many options on the menu. Secret menus also help generate word of mouth and help enhance the consumer experience.

“Because they’re not advertised on a mass basis, because you have to know somebody who knows about the secret menu to have told you about the secret menu,” said Harold Simpkins, a Marketing professor at Concordia University,”that creates this exclusive club that only you and very few other people are a part of.”

But it’s not just the chains that are doing it. Some Montreal restaurants have their own hidden menus. Secret menus at the local restaurants, however, are usually geared towards the locals, a privilege for regular customers.

At Shodan in downtown Montreal, there’s an extensive sushi menu that’s kept under the table.

“It’s fun, it’s different, and it makes the client feel more special,” said Romeo Phan, owner of the restaurant.

“It keeps them coming back,” he added, smiling.

And at La Distillerie, secret menu items include drinks that used to be on the menu and have since been taken down, as the venue has a seasonal menu that is often updated.

“It’s old cocktails, which most of the customers who used to come here years ago can still order,” said Distillerie manager and bartender Charles Landry,

“Even if we have new bartenders behind the bar, they can still order the exact same drink,” he said.

A marketing strategy for the chains, and a way for local restaurants to keep the regulars happy… secret’s out!

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