In these days of international travel, much more knowledge has been required of persons employed in the different international hotels and restaurants than was formerly the case. Along with many other things a knowledge of languages has become necessary in order to execute the wishes of strangers in a better and quicker manner. Experience has proven that foreigners prefer to stop at hotels where they can make themselves understood in their mother-tongue. Some hotelmen started early to engage employees versed in languages, and this courtesy gave great pleasurje to the guests and brought about wonderful results. The guests recommended such hotels wherever they went, and many establishments founded an international reputation on this new arrangement. Now-a-days there is hardly any international hotel or restaurant which does not have a staff of employees versed in languages.
With the universally recognised fact that a staff versed in idioms draws and keeps guests, is it surprising that the importance of having menus and bills of fare in more than one language is not more widely recognised. Proportionally, there are very few establishments, and these are praiseworthy exceptions, that have such bills of fare. The leading men know the advantages of such, an institution, and they never can abolish it without causing displeasure to many of their guests.
Some of the great steamship lines have recognised the advantage of bills of fare in more than one language. On nearly all of their passenger steamers there are bills of fare printed in two, and even in three, languages. How many passengers appreciate and welcome this arrangement only those can judge who have had the opportunity of observing them and of speaking to them about it. There is no doubt that presenting bills of fare in more than one language has brought the companies many new customers. In hundreds of cases it has been noticed how pleasantly surprised are the passengers when they step into a dining room for the first time, and glance at the bill of fare. Very often the stewards are asked if the cards may be kept and by the next mail many of these ane sent to friends and relations with letters of praise. How much stress some companies lay upon the menu is shown by the fact that they have printed books for the chief stewards and printers to facilitate the translations.
Besides the already mentioned advantages of furnishing intelligible menu cards, a bill of fare in more than one language makes it possible for most of the guests to select dishes with ease and without asking questions, and consequently provides a quicker service as the following example shows.
Of 708 passengers (Americans, Germans, Spaniards), 286 asked what certain dishes were like or told the stewards to bring anything that was good. In this case there were only English bills of fare. When a bill of fare in English, German and Spanish was given out, only 43 questions were asked and the time consumed in serving a dinner or lunch, took the stewards 18 minutes less.
It is clear that most foreign guests in hotels and restaurants of an international character, will also appreciate bills of fare in several languages as well as the passengers on steamers, especially as the hotels furnish homes for most of the passengers. The usual reply that there are always more passengers on steamers than there are foreign guests in international hotels, is actually not so; at least the difference is not large in proportion to the capacity of steamers and hotels.
That menus and bills of fare in more than one language receive so little attention in hotels and restaurants is mainly the fault of the erroneous assumption that the waiters are versed in languages and therefore the bills of fare are not necessary. This, notwithstanding the already mentioned disadvantages of waiters being questioned by guests. We know that steamers also have a staff well versed in languages and yet the new arrangement was made and proved successful. It is often said that the cost of translation and the printing is too high, but these expenses are mostly overestimated. They are so small that they ought not to be considered at all; on the contrary they will bring a rich reward. It can easily be explained why foreign guests would welcome bills of fare in more than one language, all that is necessary is i < i f o^e's self in the place of a stranger who h;< s bofore him a bill of fare in a language which he does not speak or cannot read, to say nothing of the faulty foreign names which often occur. That the number of guests without any or a very small knowledge of languages is great, is known by all professional men engaged in international hotels and restaurants.
When suggesting the printing of bills of fare in more than one language, one certainly does not expect that each hotel or restaurant shall print cards in as many languages as there are nationalities represented. This would be impossible. In most cases two languages would be sufficient, while others perhaps will do good to have cards in three languages, either in English, French, Spanish, or German, etc., according to the country in which the establishment is located, and according to the nationalities. One of two or three languages are understood by most guests. On no account should there be bills of fare in one foreign language alone, as it shows a disrespect and disregard of the national language which in the U. S. A. is English. Exceptions could be made when honoring a society of foreigners by banquets given to them during a visit in a foreign country, though also there a translation in the national language in the second place would be much better.
A short bill of fare in the four mentioned languages follows here. Bills of fare that have a large chjoice of dishes and are too long to be printed on one side, can be printed on more pages and may be numbered so that a waiter who does not understand a certain language may read it in the language which he knows. Such an example is given too in the following.
Boiled Sea Bass, Sauce Soubise.
Larded, braised Beef, Mode. Kidney Ragout with Mushrooms. Roast Shoulder of Mutton.
(15 Minutes) Pork Chops.
Roast Caponized Chicken.
Boiled, baked, or mashed Potatoes. Potato Croquettes.
Vanilla Ice Cream.
Cocktail de Huitres.
Consomme de Boeuf en Tasse. Creme de Poule, Danoise.
Bar de mer bouilli, Sauce Soubise.
Boeuf pique, braise a la Mode. Ragout de Rognons aux Champignons. Epaule de Mouton rotie.
(15 Minutes) Cotelettes de Pore.
Pommes d. t. bouillies, au four, ou Puree. Croquettes de Pommes d. t.
Choux de Bruxelles.
Pois a la Creme.
Glace creme de Vanille.
Rind-Kraftbriihe in Tasse. Huhn-Rahmsuppe, danisch.
Gekochter Seebarsch, Soubise-Tunke.
Gespickter Rindsschmorbraten, modisch. Nierenragu mit Tafelpilzen. Gebratene Hammelschulter.
(15 Minuten) Schweinschrippchen.
Rosenkohl. Erbsen in Rahmtunke.
Gekochte, gebackene oder Mus-Kartoffel.
Kartof f elkr usteln.
Cocktail de Ostras. Sopas:
Consomme de Vaca en taza. Sopa cremosa de Gallina, Danesa.
Perca cocida, Salsa Soubise.
Vaca mechada, rehogada a la Moda. Ragu de rifiones con setas. Pernil de Carnero asado.
(15 minutes) Chuletas de cerdo emparrilladas.
Gallina gorda asada.
Col Lombarda. Guisantes en Crema.
Papas cosidas, fritas, 6 pure. Croquetas de papas.