The colour photographs are from the most recent staging of this event, in July 2008.
Below is the original description of the first MENU event in 1980, with b/w photographs.
Menu : an event for cafes 1980.
At the hour when the bakers invade the cafes with trays of bread and rolls, five waiters unload trays of books and wooden blocks, a white-faced dummy, several bulging bags; and entering a cafe spread white tablecloths, patterned by black squares or poems, lay out the blocks, tablemats printed with poems about cafes and napkins bearing limericks, and hang photographs of calligrammes on the walls. In the sudden black and whiteness, they wait.
At the seating of a customer one of them glides over, presenting a menu with a few hushed words of explanation. Later he may be seen explaining the construction of a rhyme to a shopper or reading a poem to a man eating soup.
The menu contains various games and invites the customer to build poems from them. Some spend hours carefully filling them in, others put them in briefcases to take home or write for the time of a coffee, then stuff the menu in a pocket or leave it for the waiters, like a tip. Others simply play with the black and white blocks, build high and elaborate structures on the chequered cloths, often incorporating teapots, sugar-bowls, even flowers in their design.
One of the waiters invites customers to select pieces of music or poetry to be played over the cafe's sound-system. He is also seen asking customers to record those adjectives that best describe what they have drunk or eaten. Towards the end of the day the edited tape is played back and the customers' voices fill the cafe with a strange litany. Some customers call for their poems to be dispIayed on badges, which are made for them on the spot; many are offered postcards of the cafe to send messages upon.
The waiters do not hover, but are ever attentive, bringing a pen, more paper, a book or encouragement. They sustain their roles, as the cafe retains its new fittings, until the last customer has gone.