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Restaurant menus fascinate me.  They are alluring, full of promise.  I always look up the menu in advance of going out and start dreaming of the feast that awaits me.  A simple list of components in a dish fires up my imagination.  Lamentably, a pitfall lurks – waiting to destroy my anticipation and leading me to question the attention to detail being practiced behind the scenes.  That pitfall is careless spelling.

Considered one of the fatal mistakes of menu design, misspellings are nonetheless rampant, and it seems no one is immune.  Careless spelling isn’t just embarrassing.  It spotlights a lack of professionalism and can adversely affect your image in the eyes of your customers.

We all know image is at a premium.  It’s no longer simply word of mouth.  The internet, so useful in advertising your brand,  can be the vehicle of incalculable harm, making its global audience witness to what appears to be sloppy work.

Top Spelling Errors Commonly Seen
Typographical
Homonyms
Culinary terms
Foreign language terms
The plural as a possessive

Sometimes they are hilarious, sometimes unappetizing, but always embarrassing.

Spelling Gone Wrong
Peasant Breast – I christened this the genocide special.
Blueberry Gastric Sauce -  Did they use real gastric acid and if so, how was it harvested?  Furthermore, it’s not a sauce and should simply say gastrique.
Hangar Steak – Hanger Steak, so named because it hangs between the ribs and the short loin and not because it has anything to do with an airplane hangar.
Cannelloni Beans – Cannellini Beans.  Cannelloni is a pasta.
The Wines of Frances Ford Coppola -  I don’t think he’s transgendered.
Porcine Sauce – This says ‘pig sauce.’  In English, porcine means “of or relating to swine.” You can say porcine mushrooms, but if you just say porcine, the meaning changes completely.
Manchango Cheese – Manchego!
Manilla Clams – Think Manila Bay, not vanilla bean.  Manila Clams.
Mescaline Salad – This blew my mind and I didn’t even taste it.  They obviously meant mesclun.

You can see how easy it is to make mistakes, especially when you’re in a hurry or distracted as is so often the case in a restaurant environment.

Spell Check Is Great, But Not Infallible
Spell Check will flag words that are not words but does not recognize homonyms, many culinary terms, several foreign language words, proper names, or when the plural is used as a possessive.  Hence mistakes like peasant breast, gastric sauce, and for example, mushroom’s instead of mushrooms.

Why You Need Me and How I Can Help
I am a geek.  Poor spelling is my pet peeve and I’m sure you’re all familiar with the nature of pet peeves.  They leap out at you because you have an issue with them.  I worked in restaurants for 24 years as a server, bartender, and wine list manager, so I know what to look for on menus and wine, cocktail, and beer lists.  In addition to my work experience, I’ve studied French, Italian, and Spanish at the University of Illinois and  I recognize the spelling patterns in these languages.
Furthermore, it’s my nature to triple check all my work before releasing it.  Nothing gets past me because I know the restaurant business and its language.  As an additional safeguard, my personal library includes:
The Food Lover’s Companion (Fourth Edition)
Ethnic Food Lover’s Companion
The Chef’s Companion
Larousse Gastronomique
Escoffier The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery
Dictionary of Culinary and Menu Terms
The Cheese Lover’s Companion
New Wine Lover’s Companion
The Wine Bible

The crux of accurate spelling is knowing what needs to be looked up.  If you don’t notice something is wrong, it won’t be checked for accuracy.

I will give the confidence of knowing you always look good.  Send me your menus and I’ll send you a list of what needs to be corrected.  If there are no mistakes, I’ll give you that reassurance.  Protecting your image is priceless.

Services

Strictly spell check.  I will proofread menus and wine, cocktail, and beer lists in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

You can contact Menu Geek at maureen@themenugeek.com or go to the Contact page.

Policies

In most cases, I will respond with a list of corrections or accuracy assurance by 8 a.m. CST next day.

Please let Menu Geek know if you have a special request or urgent deadline.  I will do my best to honor all requests and will let you know immediately if I cannot do so.

In the Event of My Error
If Menu Geek makes an error, notify me immediately.  I will review and refund as appropriate.  Please see the Rates page for refund guidelines.

Rates

One time submission of menu$75
One time submission of wine list with no more than 25 choices$60
One time submission of wine list with more than 25 choices$75
One time submission of wine list with more than 100 choices$100
One time submission of cocktail list or beer list with no more than 25 choices$50
One time submission of cocktail list or beer list with more than 25 choices$75
Unlimited submissions of menus and updates only of wine, cocktail, and beer lists included.$100 per month
Please note: If you wish to submit the entire wine, cocktail, or beer list for review upon signing up for monthly service, above rates apply in addition to $100.

Rates are negotiable for those with smaller or differently formatted menus!

Refunds
If an error is determined to have been made on my part, a full refund will be issued for one-time submissions, and a $25 refund will be issued per list on which any error is found for those signed up for monthly service.

Contact

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Simply click on the link above to attach your menu file and send an email with your requirements to Menu Geek.

Or you can contact me directly at maureen@themenugeek.com

About

Menu Geek was established because I saw a need.  I have seen errors on menus ranging from sandwich shops to high-end restaurants which indicated that there was clearly a gap that Spell Check could not fill.  True, there are countless books and internet resources to which one can turn for guidance, however, nothing beats a human pair of eyes going over everything with obsessive detail.  I designed this service to appeal primarily to the fine-dining market because it is that sector which has an especially vested interest in flawless professionalism down to the last detail.  Whether it’s a spelling error, punctuation gaffe, or even a misplaced preposition or article of speech, I will notify you of the corrections to be made in order that your menu will always reflect your high standards.  Furthermore, Menu Geek is approachable for both the one-time user and those who need ongoing service.  I do it because I have the experience, the obsession, and I enjoy it.  Protect your image with Menu Geek and I’ll make sure you always look good.