[Insert Food item] Program.... Why?

“steak and fries program”
“coffee program”
“salad program”…

Why do people feel compelled to add “program”? I can’t figure out how it fits into the statement other than trying to make something sound more important than it is…

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I’ve never heard of this. Is this LA oriented? Please give an example. Sounds weird.

Might be a CA phenomenon…

  • I am currently heading the “Coffee program” at XYZ restaurant (overheard employee at Blue Bottle in SF)

  • They’ve modified their steak and fries program so that an NY strip is a separate item from the ribeye, and somehow $95 for steak frites felt slightly too high for me, so I opted…

This is something that I didn’t know annoyed me until I just read this post. I’ve got my torch, brother.

I feel like I hear it often with “cocktail program,” which I assume is supposed to indicate that they make their own specialty cocktails beyond the “classics.” But, uh, so does pretty much every restaurant that serves cocktails, right? I mean, Cheesecake Factory does.

But, as you say, it most likely is just a way of trying to make something sound important. Like when a restaurant says “libations” or “provisions.”

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It’s self inflating marketing doubletalk, in the same category as ‘artisan’ and ‘currated’ and ‘heirloom’. Hell, George Carlin could spend 15 minutes on it. “We will now begin the preboarding process.” ‘The’, ‘pre’, and ‘process’ convey no substantive information but serve to make the announcement, and the announcer, more authoritative.

It IS enough to make you want to start bashing in heads with the OED until you realize they had to cave and add a definition of ‘literally’ that literally means the opposite of literally, because people are dumb. Yet, here we are.


Here we are…



It’s just industry jargon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it on a menu.

When restaurants use it regarding coffee, wine, or cocktails, it usually reflects a substantial investment of time and energy beyond the basic minimum. With regard to meat, I’ve heard it used for dry-aging beef and making charcuterie in house, and for whole-animal butchery. I don’t think it would make any sense with french fries.

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And then there’s “curate”. Which is always used with “carefully,” because no one wants a thoughtlessly curated selection of salted, dried meat. You might end up with salami from the wrong part of Italy.


Agreed, although more often than not the context I’ve encountered probably does not warrant its use.

Marketing or self promotion… embellishing their importance in the restaurants hierarchy. “Running the cocktail program” I suppose sure sound more impressive than “I’m a bartender” .

Beer, wine, and coffee distributors are happy to handle those things for restaurants that don’t want to hire someone to make things more interesting.