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Serious woman drinking and reading menu sitting in a bar

Your Menu Anxiety Is Legit



You know it well: that uneasiness you experience as you wait your turn to order when you’re out to dinner with friends, the bullets of sweat dripping down your face as you try to gauge what everyone else is picking, and the overwhelming feeling you get looking at the enormous number menu items. It all culminates into what’s called “menu anxiety.” But menu anxiety, aka the nervousness you feel at a restaurant when you have to order on the spot, isn’t unique to you. With over 2 million views on TikTok, the #MenuAnxiety hashtag is filled with videos of people sharing their worries surrounding what, on the outside, seems like an easy task.

In a video about the issue, creator and comedian Elyse Myers says that because of her menu anxiety, she will spend hours surfing through a menu before entering a restaurant so that she has her order memorized and can say it perfectly to the waiter with no thoughts or stumbles. Influencer and host of the Hot Girl Talks podcast Jaz made a similar video saying that she feels the most confident at a restaurant after examining the menu two hours before arriving, so the ordering process goes smoothly.

According to a recent poll of 2,000 adults in the U.S. conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Avocado Green Mattress, young people are the group most likely to feel burdened by the task of ordering at a restaurant. In fact, 41% of Gen Z and Millennials, those within the 18-43 age range, have anxiety while ordering food. This is in comparison to the 15% of Gen X and Baby Boomers, ages 44-77, who felt the same stress. But it doesn’t end there — the poll reported that 47% of young people will allow others to order first so they’re able to see dishes people in their group are ordering first. In addition, the research found that about a quarter of Gen Z and Millennials consistently look at the menu before attending the restaurant.

If you’re someone who intensely scans the menu hours before heading to your meal, practices asking for your order ahead of time, or starts sweating when the waiter finally asks you what you want, you’re not the only one. For the people that can go in blind and order from the menu with ease, kudos to you, but have some sympathy for your friends who suffer from menu anxiety.