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Evaluating Restaurant Catch-Phrases

We took the family to Texas Roadhouse this week for my birthday, and I was quickly annoyed by the overblown descriptions that the restaurant apparently requires their servers to use when describing the food. After the third time our waitress asked what we’d like for a “hand-made side”, I was tempted to ask her if I could have a machine-made, out-of-a-box side instead. After hearing several other servers use the same line, though, I was glad I bit my tongue. It’s not their fault that their employer forces them to use silly scripts.

In the spirit of fairness, though, I wanted to provide my evaluation and accuracy rating on the four primary annoying phrases I heard throughout the night. Your mileage may vary.

1. “Fresh-baked rolls”

OK, this one is really hard to argue with. The rolls really are fresh-baked there in the restaurant. At busy times we’ve occasionally had to wait for a fresh batch to come out of the oven. And they’re yummy. So while it gets annoying to hear “fresh-baked rolls” multiple times a night when just “rolls” would do, I can’t ding them on the correctness of their description.

Accuracy Rating: Four Stars.

2. “Hand-made sides”

They’ve given themselves some wiggle room on this one, because you can define “hand-made” pretty loosely. Take the prepared lettuce mix out of the plastic bag with your hand, sprinkle some pre-grated cheese and some out-of-a-box croutons on top and voila! a hand-made salad. And I’m guessing they didn’t hand-cut the potatoes to make my steak fries. I guess if they want to define “hand-made” that way, fine… but I’m not buying it. (Well, I did buy it. And eat it. But I’d balk at calling them hand-made… OH, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.)

Accuracy Rating: 2 stars.

3. “Ice-cold beer”

To be fair, I’ve never had a beer at Texas Roadhouse, so I don’t have first-hand knowledge of the beer temperature. However, I consulted RateBeer.com’s helpful article about the correct temperature at which to serve beer, and they gave this advice:

Very cold (0-4C/32-39F): Any beer you don’t actually want to taste.
Cold (4-7C/39-45F): Hefeweizen, Premium Lager, Pilsner…
Cool (8-12C/45-54F): American Pale Ale, Amber Ale…

Per those standards, if Texas Roadhouse beer is actually ice-cold, apparently it’s a beer that you don’t want to taste. Eesh. So, either their descriptive phrase is highly inaccurate or their beer is rubbish.

Accuracy Rating: 1 star.

4. “Legendary margaritas”

Dictionary.com defines legend as “a nonhistorical or unverifiable story handed down by tradition from earlier times and popularly accepted as historical.” So, if Texas Roadhouse’s margaritas’ quality is “legendary”, apparently the message is that the quality of said margaritas is either “nonhistorical” (i.e. untrue) or “unverifiable” (perhaps that means you can’t actually order one?). However, apparently people have passed down stories about them which have been accepted as fact.

The thing is, in my many visits to Texas Roadhouse, I cannot recall ever seeing anybody actually drink a margarita. Maybe this lines up with the idea that the quality of the margaritas is “unverifiable”? I primarily see margaritas consumed at the local Mexican restaurant, but at Texas Roadhouse if people are drinking alcohol they’re usually drinking beer.

Accuracy rating: 3 stars, primarily because I’m starting to buy into that “unverifiable” bit of legendary.

2 Comments

  1. You missed “Fall off the bone ribs.” Maybe you needed to call them to hear that pre-recorded catch phrase, though.

    The salad may or may not fit a description of hand-made, but Texas Roadhouse has the best salad in these parts, bar none (even Olive Garden). I can’t even make a salad that good in an open salad bar.

  2. I’ve actually got no gripe with the salad at all, it’s quite tasty. I’m not sure if really meets my definition of “hand-made”, though.

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