A-Z Popular Blog Pricing Search »
Influencing
 Advertisements

4 Examples of À La Carte

 , March 09, 2020
À la carte is the practice of allowing customers to order individual items from a menu. This can be contrasted with table d'hôte that offers no choice or limited choices with a set menu that typically includes multiple courses. The following are common types of menu related to à la carte.

Traditional Menus

Traditionally, restaurants in many cultures offered meals as opposed to individual menu items. Such meals typically include a few constrained choices and no option of customization or substitution. This was done because the process of preparing food was labour intensive such that restaurants didn't have the capacity to deal with hundreds of unique orders. The practice of offering complete meals as opposed to a flexible menu is known as table d'hôte, prix fixe, fixed price or set menu. Many cultures have some local variation of this practice such as a Japanese teishoku that typically includes rice or bread, soup, small sides, a main course and occasionally a dessert.

Modern Menus

À la carte has become such a common practice that this is the default type of menu in many countries. A set menu may still be offered as a daily special. In some cases, American menus use the term à la carte for sides even where the entire menu is technically à la carte.

Price Discrimination

A separate à la carte menu may be offered at restaurants that mostly offer a set menu. In this case, the à la carte is typically relatively expensive because the set menu benefits from economies of scale. As à la carte menus were historically common, they are often viewed as traditional. As such, restaurants may use a separate à la carte menu as a method of premiumization to implement price discrimination whereby price sensitive customers stick to the set menu and price insensitive customers order as they like.

Choice Architecture

The term à la carte is often used for any choice architecture that allows customers to choose individual products and services. For example, cable television packages are often offered in "bundles" such that customers must order channels they don't want in order to get the channels they do want. In this context, an à la carte option allows for the selection of individual channels, often at a relatively high price.

Etymology

French, literally "by the card." First referenced in Joseph Sherer's "Notes and Reflections During a Ramble in Germany", 1826.
Overview: À La Carte
Type
DefinitionThe practice of allowing customers to order individual items from a menu.
Also Known Asa la carte (accent is commonly dropped)
Related Concepts

Choice Architecture

This is the complete list of articles we have written about choice architecture.
A/B Testing
Bait & Switch
Bliss Point
Choice Paradox
Decision Costs
Decision Tree
Default Effect
Flat Pricing
Low Ball
Persuasion
Price Discrimination
À La Carte
More ...
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.
 

Choice Architecture

An overview of choice architecture.

Bliss Point

An overview of bliss point, a marketing principle.

Decision Tree

A simple diagram that illustrates the series of options involved in making a decision.

Structure Opposite

A list of antonyms of structure.

Bait And Switch

The definition of bait and switch with examples.

Non Decision

The definition of non-decision with examples.

Low Ball

The definition of low ball in negotiation with examples.

Decision Costs

An overview of decision costs with examples.

Personal Decisions

An overview of personal decisions with examples.

Pricing

The common types of pricing.

Price Competition

The common types of price competition.

Supply

The definition of supply with examples.

Shrinkflation

The common types of shrinkflation.

Value vs Price

The difference between value and price with examples.

Price

The common types of price.

Price Signal

The definition of price signal marketing with examples.

Cost vs Price

The key differences between cost and price explained with a comparison table.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map