A restaurant menu is no big deal, right? It’s just a list of food items that a restaurant offers to its customers. Of course it is. And much more.
Before menus get to the printer, restaurateurs hire menu engineers and consultants to bury super sneaky psychological tricks in pretty pictures and tantalizing descriptions for one reason: to make you spend more money.
Want to beat restaurants at their own game? Here is your cheat sheet listing the most devious tips.
Dollar signs. Sophisticated research is telling restaurants to stop including dollar signs on their menus because a dollar sign – or even the word “dollar” spelled out instead – triggers negative feelings associated with payment. The sign and word remind customers that they are spending money. (Well imagine that!)
Numbers 9 and 5. Menu designers work by a strict list of rules, one of which relates to number 9. Consumers have come to believe that prices that end in 9, like $ 7.99, offer value. value but not necessarily quality. And get this, the prices that end in 0.95 instead of 0.99 are more efficient, which subconsciously means customers are more likely to choose them because the way the price seems to be friendlier.
Flowery language. Further research has revealed to restaurateurs that beautifully written descriptions of food choices appeal to unsuspecting customers. And those descriptive menu labels, in an impressive study, increased sales by 27%, compared to food products without a fabulously written description.
Here’s an example: Instead of the menu just listing “Crab Cakes” and naming them “Handmade Maryland Crab Cakes, with Sweet Jumbo Crab Meat, a touch of mayonnaise, our secret seasoning blend. and golden cracker crumbs for a rich, tender taste, “a customer can’t help but have a sensory experience just by reading the description. This kind of flowery language gives customers a satisfaction that drives them to order, without thinking too much about what it will cost.
Bring the fonts. When menu items are bold, printed in a different color, or enhanced with images, fancy fonts, photos or – the big one – isolated in a separate box, they look a lot more special. than the other cheeky items that are part of a boring list on the other side of the menu. If the “All-Star Perfect All-Beef Burger” has its own box and print color, it must be worth the price of $ 12.95. Ha! This is why they work so hard to convince you.
Food lures. No kidding, that’s what they are called by the experts – decoys to manipulate you into doing whatever they want. Here’s how it works: You sit down, open the menu, and lock your eyes with the $ 11.95 melted pie, with no description. Just a fondant pancake for $ 12. You’re making fun. Ha! Not me. Then your eyes turn to the boxed item with a photo of the world’s most perfect burger (titled accordingly) that makes you salivate. And it’s $ 16.95 with fries and Jack Daniel’s dip.
Certainly not! You know what they’re doing here. You make your decision. It will be the melt-in-the-mouth pancake, no fries, no sauce. And are you not smart? Well, not so fast, buckaroo. You’ve done their game and they’re laughing all the way to the bank! That burger that no one ever orders is a decoy. Priced at $ 17, it’s so ridiculous that customers laugh silently and have no problem with a $ 12 fondue patty.
Great atmosphere. The colors of the walls, the choice of finishes, the style of the furniture, the music, overall impeccable taste – everything that sets the mood is there for one reason: to make us want to spend more. Playing classical music prompts us to accept higher prices. And they know that playing less sophisticated music makes people spend less.
When you notice these tips, focus on them momentarily. So go rogue by making up your own mind without feeling manipulated into buying a fondant patty or expensive crab cakes, uh … I mean the delicious Maryland crab cakes.