The Menu ending explained: what happens in The Menu?

Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes in The Menu
Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes in The Menu (Image credit: Eric Zachanowich/Searchlight Pictures)

The Menu is proving to be an appetizing experience for movie goers. While a Yelp review of the restaurant at the center of the movie likely would struggle to even get one star, What to Watch's The Menu review gave the movie itself four stars, calling it "deliciously good fun" and something "you'll want to savor until the very end."

That's because this darkly comedic satire has plenty of twists and turns along the way to keep viewers entertained. But, in case you were left wondering about some of those plot developments, we're here to help go over what happened with The Menu ending.

Before we get to the ending, let’s go over the basics of The Menu. FYI, we're going to be discussing some major spoilers for the movie, so if you haven't seen it, there's no better time than now to go watch The Menu.

The Menu follows a young couple, Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), as well as a group of others who are heading to an expensive and exclusive restaurant on a remote island run by the brilliant but reclusive Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). The chef has prepared an elaborate multi-course menu for the guests, but he is puzzled by the inclusion of Margot, who was a late addition.

While everything seems normal at first (at least for a high concept dining experience), each course gets stranger and stranger and Chef Slowik and his staff become more and more hostile to the guests. He then reveals the theme of the evening — every course showcases how those in attendance have helped destroy Slowik's passion for and the overall culture of cooking and fine dining, all leading to a final course where he is going to kill everyone.

The guests try to barter and reason with the chef, but he has his reasons for wanting all of them to die — the food critic (Janet McTeer) whose work has shut down numerous restaurants, the regulars who come more for the status than the food (Reed Birney and Judith Light), finance bros whose company invested in the restaurant but do shading dealings (Rob Yang, Arturo Castro and Mark St. Cyr) and the movie star (John Leguizamo) who represents selling out on your art like Chef Slowik feels he has.

The one person who doesn't fit is Margot, who must decide whose side she is on while trying to figure out a way to save herself from the chef's final course.

The Menu ending explained

Ralph Fiennes in The Menu

Ralph Fiennes in The Menu (Image credit: Eric Zachanowich/Searchlight Pictures)

The first two-thirds of the movie see Chef Slowik explain the point of the menu, highlight each person's reason for being there and the guests miserable failing to try and stop him. But it's in the final act that we learn why Margot is among this crowd of the uber elite.

Tyler, a massive foodie and fan of Slowik, had been in contact with the chef for eight months before arriving; Slowik reveals he even told Tyler his plan was to kill all the guests. Tyler was originally going to bring his girlfriend to the dinner, but she broke up with him (why is never explained, but perhaps she didn't like the idea of getting killed as part of a chef's high concept revenge menu). So instead, he hired Margot, who we learn works as an escort, not telling her of what is going to happen. Margot is understandably upset.

Slowik then makes his point with Tyler, a foodie who thinks they know everything about food but can't even cook themselves. The chef calls Tyler's dish he forced him to whip up really bad then whispers something into his ear, which ultimately leads to Tyler killing himself.

Because Margot was not meant to be part of this, Slowik allows her to help in some ways (though he does tell her she is still going to die with everyone else). This includes getting a barrel for the final course. Margot uses this opportunity to sneak into Slowik's house on the island to try and find a way out. After having a knife fight with hostess Elsa (Hong Chau) — a plot point that feels a bit out of place and isn't all that connected to the story — Margot finds some early photographs of Slowik, including a plaque of him being named employee of the month at his first cooking job, a burger place.

It's time for the final course, but before Slowik can explain Margot has an idea: she says she wants to send her food back. Slowik is stunned by this, but Margot says she hasn't enjoyed the food and is still hungry. This challenge has Slowik ask her what he can cook for her to satisfy her hunger, with Margot asking for a no-thrills cheeseburger. With a sly smile, he agrees and cooks up a classic cheeseburger. Margot takes a bite, says that it is good, but that her eyes were bigger than her stomach and she would like it to-go. Slowik knows what she is doing, but Margot has, if only briefly, brought back the passion of cooking simple, enjoyable food for the chef, so he decides to let her go.

The rest of the guests, however, are not so lucky. Instead, everyone, staff and guests, become part of the final course: s'mores. Adorned with marshmallow vests and slabs of chocolate on their head, the restaurant is set on fire to cook them all. Margot, safely away on a boat, watches from the water, enjoying the rest of her cheeseburger.

The message of the movie seems to be that while we do call it the "culinary art," dining, whether a simple burger or an elegant seven course meal, should be enjoyed by any and all and not as some kind of status play.

The Menu is now playing exclusively in movie theaters.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.