Shhhh! It’s a secret

By Meaghan Sands

All of us, or at least someone we know, have at one time in their life ordered off a “secret menu” or at least talked about it.

They’ve walked up to the counter, usually at their local quick service or barista joint, and felt the rush of adrenaline as they inch their way through the line.

“Will I say it right?” “What if they say, ‘no?'” “Will I have to explain it to them?”

The secret menu enthusiast’s worst nightmare: Having to forgo their Angelino swagger and settle for something that’s actually on the menu.

Whether it’s a White Gummy Bear Smoothie from Jamba Juice, mustard grilled burgers from In-N-Out or the Quesarito super burrito from Chipotle, your bound to know at least a handful of Angelinos who make a habit of ordering off the main menu.

Over innumerable years the World Wide Web and mankind have welcomed the existence of secret menus with open arms. But over time, the menus have become not-so-secret ones.

In an article for Co.Design, writer Mark Wilson was able to speak with representatives from Chipotle, In-N-Out and Starbucks about their not-so-secret menus.

All three companies denied having a secret menu.

In Wilson’s article, In-N-Out Vice President Carl Van Fleet comments on their company’s supposed “secret menu” and states that they have no clue who first coined the term “animal style,” which began popping up in stores as early as the 1970s, and that it was only in the last decade that someone””not from In-N-Out””began saying they had a secret menu at all.

The companies also explained that many of the “secret menu” items are just variations of items currently on the menu and they seek to meet customers’ orders as best they can, depending on what’s in stock.

According to the article, Starbucks considers any ingredient they have in store to be fair game, offering “more than 170,000 ways baristas can customize beverages.”

Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s communication director, told Wilson that he thinks of their customers as brand managers.

“”The experience of the public is something different for everyone, like an iPod in a way,” said Arnold. “How many billions and billions of iPods are in circulation, and yet no two [playlists] are alike. You buy a burrito, I buy a burrito. We pay the same thing for it, and they’re two different things.”

To read the full article, which includes Wilson’s own experience living a secret menu nightmare during a trip to Chipotle, visit:

Food With Friends

Food With Friends

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