Is a restaurant menu a contract

and what liabilities does it incur?



By Sarah Safarian

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



In this International Contract Management report, I address the question of whether or not a menu in a restaurant is an enforceable contract.  The title of my presentation will be as follows: Is a menu a contract & what liabilities does it incur?

Key words: The six key words I will consider are: Liability – of the restaurant owner to the client; Termination – ‘sending the meal back’; Acceptance – ‘does the meal adhere to what it describes on the menu?’; Guarantee – ‘Are the same ingredients mentioned on the menu being used; Disputes; Enforceable

Menu’s enforceability

First, I will present the different elements that make up a menu. Then, I’ll address whether or not these confirm a menu is an enforceable contract.

I will examine the five elements that make up a valid and enforceable contract, within the menu:


The objective of this paper is to benchmark a restaurant menu against the SKEMA PPMD Fall 2017 course materials on International Contracts for Project Managers. This includes the use of FIDIC, AIA, EJCDC and Consensus Docs as benchmark, using the terms and conditions contained in these global contracts as the baseline for comparison purposes.

I will also address the issue of whether or not running a restaurant is an example of ‘projectized operations,’ determining if each meal represents a one-time unique event with a defined start and defined finish, or not.

In order to accomplish the objective listed above, I will use the keywords to conduct in-depth research and to answer the question at hand.

  1. What is a menu?

A menu is an implied contract, a contract that arises from one’s conduct, and is legally binding; ‘a contract that the parties presumably intended as their tacit understanding as inferred from their conduct and other circumstances’ (Shake Law, 2014).

In a restaurant, it is implied and understood that when you sit down you agree to pay for the food, and the restaurant agrees to serve you prior to receipt of payment.

The menu we will examine is from a Chicago restaurant called ‘Loving Heart Vegan’ (seen below in figure 1) and is comprised of the following elements:

  • Product description: menu items, their ingredients, composition
  • The prices for a small versus a large order
  • Claims such as ‘100%vegan’ or ‘Drinks are all gluten free!’ or ‘80% USDA Certified Organic Ingredients’
  • A disclaimer at the bottom, mentioning ‘note: we don’t list every ingredient and they are subject to change, if we cannot source an ingredient. If you have a severe allergy or intolerance, please note that we do not use dedicated equipment for menu items, described as ‘gluten free,’ ‘gluten free option available,’ ‘nut free,’ ‘soy free,’ etc.’


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Student papers are authored by graduate or undergraduate students based on coursework at accredited universities or training programs.  This paper was prepared as a deliverable for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper:
Safarian, S. (2018). Is a restaurant menu a contract and what liabilities does it incur? PM World Journal, Volume VII, Issue 5, May 2018. https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/pmwj70-May2018-Safarian-is-a-restaurant-menu-a-contract-student-paper.pdf

About the Author

Sarah Safarian

Paris, France



Sarah Safarian
is an MSc Project Management for Business Excellence student at Skema Business School in Paris. She grew up in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and is originally from there. She has worked in New York, Dubai and now Paris. She has five years of work experience and started her career in hospitality at the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel New York, but then moved on to work for L’Oreal and General Electric in Dubai. It took a few years, but she eventually found her true passion for the Food & Beverage sector. She is now re-tailoring her career towards project management, focusing on the F&B industry. She is currently working for Wild & The Moon, a vegan restaurant based in Paris. Plant based cuisine is her passion and she hopes to one day open her own restaurant, wellness center or even plant-based food consulting firm. She is the creator of a food and wellness blog, called humblyhealthy.org, is a professional recipe developer, and certified holistic nutritionist via American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA). She was recently featured in Women’s Health Magazine Middle East November 2017 issue. She can be contacted at [email protected] or [email protected]