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Table d’Hote Menu: Meaning, Pronunciation, and Sample Menu

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It’s one of the most common and charming types of menu ever. And it got its start well before restaurants were even a thing. Well before a lamb wine pairing was a thing.

Today in the U.S., table d’hote menus are less common than in their European birthplace. For many restaurants, they’re rolled out for special occasions and holidays. Though they do remain popular in some high-end, white-tablecloth restaurants. 

So here’s what a table d’hote menu is, along with how to pronounce it, and how to price a menu. And we’ve even got a table d’hote sample menu PDF in case there are any lingering questions.

What Is a Table d’Hote Menu?

The meaning of table d’hote is a menu that offers a multi-course meal, like a 5-course meal, for example—with multiple options for each course—at a fixed total price. It's one of the best ways to increase restaurant sales.

Table d’hote translates as “table of the host.” The host, the chef or restaurant, is offering a specific meal. You can take it or leave it, but you can’t really change it that much. It’s as if you’re sitting at the host’s table and politely accepting what they’ve prepared.

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Where Did Table d’Hote Come From?

It began hundreds and hundreds of years ago in France’s inns, cabarets, theaters, and taverns. A group of guests would find themselves sitting together at a common table. That table was often called the host’s table. Not because the host sat there, but because it was one of the few tables in the space. So it was a special place.

There, the fellow travelers, drinkers, or performance-goers would enjoy one set meal together. There weren’t commercial kitchens back then. Not much restaurant technology to speak of at all, really. It was much easier to make one large meal and have everyone eat the same thing.

Sitting at the host’s table, or the table d’hote, because the most common way of dining in France before restaurants were ubiquitous. And once restaurants came on the scene, the table d’hote menu followed.

The first documented use of the word in English was 1617. While the common usage table d’hote definition in English, as a type of menu, dates to the early 1800s. That’s about when restaurants started to take over the world.

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Table d’Hote Pronunciation in English

Table d’hote is pronounced tabluh doht.

Table d’hote is pronounced in English much the same way it’s pronounced in French. So, good news, you learned two languages for the price of one.

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Difference Between A La Carte and Table d'Hote

An a la carte menu stands in opposition to the table d’hote menu, and all fixed menus. A la carte items are ordered individually and served separately. They may exist elsewhere on the full menu. But when ordered from the a la carte menu, they are not a part of a coursed meal and they often come with no side dishes. This allows guests cobble together individual dishes to create a meal of their own.

That is opposed to the table d’hote menu. Quite opposed to it. There, you are committing to a multi-course meal. And, when choosing your courses, you’re offered a small, curated selection of choices. For an even more curated experience, consider a prix fixe menu. The idea is that you’re enjoying the meal as the chef intends. She’s the professional, after all.

A La Carte And Table d'Hote Menu Sample

Here’s an a la carte sample menu. Each item is individually priced and served on their lonesome.

But here is a table d’hote sample menu PDF:

table d'hote sample menu

The table d’hote menu card shows a set menu, though there is a little wiggle room. Each guest gets a choice of an appetizer, entree, and a dessert. And it’s all for a set price. In our example, we also included a glass of house wine with each table d’hote order. What wines are eligible is typically stated by the server during menu presentation. Wines change often, so most businesses don’t print them on physical table d’hote or prix fixe menus.

Table d’Hote, Digital Style

One way to turn your table d'hote menu into a touchless digital menu is to leverage QR codes. Just whip up a QR code PDF, though beware there are some QR code security issues around using free custom QR code generators online.

Place your new QR code in a QR code template and put the template around your restaurant. It's also usually a good idea to place helpful scanning-related materials around, to help any folks that may not be used to the technology. Very few, as QR code statistics indicate. Things like how to scan QR codes on iPhones and Androids along with troubleshooting any issues around QR code scanning problems.

QR code uses are many. One particularly compelling usage is developing a QR code strategy for marketing. You'll want to research the best restaurant keywords to increase your online visibility and attract more customers.

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Table d'Hote Menus Explained

The frequency that menus change is actually one of the reasons why digital restaurant menus and digital wine lists are so popular. If you use a digital menu solution, you can change up the wines on your table d’hote menu every night if you want. And you’ll incur exactly no paper or printing costs. If your menu is ADA compliant, you'll also avoid the risk of crippling lawsuits. Check out our ADA remediation calculator to see how much it'll cost to get your menu compliant.

All your menu information—whether that be a wine list or a table d’hote or a la carte menu—can be changed at the click of a button. That means 100% of your menus are accurate 100% of the time. You can even visually emphasize whatever items are currently popular to boost profitability with a little menu engineering. You should also make sure there's good wine food pairing in your menu, such as turkey wine pairing and wine pairing with salmon.

And, lastly, the entire industry is moving away from paper menus because of hygiene issues. They get surprisingly dirty (they’re actually the 2nd dirtiest thing in restaurants … behind highchairs) and they’re too hard to clean. A digital menu solves that problem. It’s easier to clean, if you even have to. And the best version of that is a QR code menu. A customer scans a dynamic QR code to bring up the menu on their smart device. It’s so easy, so safe, and so convenient.

Frequently Asked Questions about Table d'Hote

BinWise is the reliable beverage inventory management software for many businesses. On our website, bars and restaurants can also find useful information about the different aspects of the food and beverage service business. Below you will find some of the commonly asked questions about table d'hote.

Are Table d'Hote and Buffet the Same?

A buffet is a form of table d'hote menu. It offers a limited selection of dishes at a predetermined fixed price. A buffet is usually available during specific hours and the dishes are presented together at the same time. Buffets are often associated with large events and gatherings. The food included in a buffet varies depending on the occasion. For example, it can be more formal or more suitable for a party.

What Is the Difference between a Prix Fixe and a Table d'Hote?

Table d'hote is similar to a prix fixe menu, but there are certain differences between the two service types. With table d'hote, the price for certain courses is fixed but the price for starters can vary. The two terms are often used interchangeably. However, table d'hote is more suitable for fine dining venues and French restaurants while prix fixe can be used by any type of restaurant or other food service establishment.

What Are the Disadvantages of Table d'Hote Menus?

The limited options are the main con of table d'hote menus. This might make them unappealing to certain customers who wish for a personal dining experience. Furthermore, customers with dietary restrictions might not be able to eat certain dishes offered in the table d'hote menu. Although they are cost-efficient, table d'hote menus are usually served within a set time limit. This might be impractical and further restrictive for guests.

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