Next to the excuses already mentioned, for using foreign names one often hears the statement made that most of the guests understand them. If we consider that there are even domestic names, peculiar to one's country, which are not always understood when applied to dishes, we will readily see that in scarcely any instance is the foreign word permissable. To make sure of this I compiled some statistics during my practical activity in the restaurant world, of which a few will be given below.
Half of the dishes were printed in English and half in French. American and German guests with few exceptions speak English. The menu in the main was the same after three and after six days. It only changed in style designation. For instance: Eoast Beef, American Style changed the third day into Aloyau rati a la Tussienne (Roast Beef, Tussienne Style) and on the sixth day it was Roast Beef again but Laf ontaine Style. The change of the different style designations were made so as not to have a repetition in the eyes of the guests after three and six days. The main word in this instance was roast beef (Aloyau roti). All other dishes also were changed from French into English and from English into French on following days., That is the dishes named in English on the first day were on the bills of fare in French on the third day and in English again on the sixth day. Then French-named dishes on the first day were changed into English on the third day and so forth. Only lunch and dinner was counted. Among 257 guests 1541 orders were given for meals which were written in English, and 346 for those in French on the first day. The third day 1403 orders came in for English named dishes, which were the same in French the first day, and 386 of the French named dishes which were the same in English on the first day. The sixth day 1390 English named dishes were given out, and 404 of those named in French.
In another case of 112 guests, 69 ordered jellied chicken. Two days later when the same dish was changed into chaud-froid de poule there were only 11 orders, and on the fourth day, when it was jellied chicken again 54 orders came in foij the same dish.
Of 190 guests, 63 asked the waiters to explain certain dishes on a "mixed" bill of fare and only in 14 instances could it be explained by the waiters. When the bill of fare was changed into plain and clear English 11 people asked the waiters and nine correct answers were given. Six of the eleven were foreigners who did not understand much English.
This proves that foreign names of dishes are not easily understood by the average person, and therefore are not ordered. But we will also notice that the guests who come to the same restaurant for some time, will become better acquainted with the meaning of some foreign culinary expressions and slowly begin to order them. If we consider now that there are hundreds of names on bills of fare in one restaurant which are changed daily or from time to time. One can imagine how long it will take a guest to get acquainted with all of them. In another restaurant he again begins to study the specialties of a house where many dishes are the same as in the former place but with other names. It is an endless study for all - both guests and waiters. And now let us consider the new guest who enters a restaurant for the first time. Is it not the aim of every business man to gain new customers? I contend that the majority of all new guests come to a restaurant only once, if a bill of fare is presented on which the names are riddles to them; especially if they find that the served dishes are most familiar to them when written in other plain English names. A guest who wants to sit down in a first class restaurant is prepared and will gladly pay a first class price for his meal if he knows what he is getting; but he does not w^ant to be fooled. If for instance you read Salade d'Oeufs (Egg Salad) and order it and then afterward find that it consists of potato salad with three quarters of a hard boiled egg on top, and two leaves of lettuce on the side, and you are charged 50c, would you not be disappointed or angry? The same happens with a real camouflaged potato salad in some places, often called Salade d'oeufs, Americaine (Egg salad, American) where the potato salad is covered with thin cut slices of eggs. Potato salad with boiled egg would be the right name. Guests who have such experiences, often do not say a word, but depart never to return again.
One can often notice that foreign names of dishes are shown on bills of fare in large letters so as to be more attractive; but how can anything be more enticing than clear and intelligible language? It is a proven fact that very many people naturally do not like to ask for the composition of dishes, and it has been remarked that those who find unintelligible bills of fare always go back to that restaurant where they can easily understand what is offered. Besides it is surely right and just that each country should offer its goods for sale in its own language. The country's flag must lead and those of other nations follow. Thus should one's own language have' precedence. In every language there are enough expressions to name the principal ingredients of a dish Avithout the necessity of resorting to foreign names.