The 8 tricks which are most used to influence the food you order in restaurants.
Why do some restaurants and restauranteurs succeed repeatedly and spectacularly whilst others don't? What makes them great and phenomenally successful and so many others not? Can we put it down to luck, location, food, service or design? The answer to that is yes, of course, those all play a role, but it's more than that. Its understanding at the core at a very base level is that they are serving people, not food.
People go to restaurants to socialise, escape the day and to be entertained. Great successful restaurateurs, therefore, know that they are in fact in the entertainment business, not the food business. They also know a lot about human psychology as all the 10 prior newsletters have alluded to. Today we will touch briefly on 8 subtle tricks great restaurateurs employ to influence the food you order.
1. Menu Layout.
The items at the top of a menu list are ordered the most with 35% of diners ordering the one at the very beginning. These are therefore often the highest margin items. Lower margin items are lower down or often at the back.
2. Decoy Items.
Placing similarly priced dishes of obviously inferior quality or value next to a great dish or a much more expensive dish next to the leading dish, makes that dish seem like the obvious choice.
3. Removing Currency Signs.
A cognitive bias is the shortening of numbers and the removal of the currency sign ie. 22 instead of $21.75 minimises the association with money.
4. Golden Triangle.
Contrary to popular belief, people do not read a menu left to right. The majority read it in a triangle starting in the centre, then the top right and then the top left. The Upper right centre is where most eyes rest and this is also the perfect place for pricier items. You will not find the best deal for you, but the best deal for the restaurant there.
5. Paradox of choice.
Too much choice leads to paralyses of decision-making. A smaller targeted menu of no more than 5 items within each category is optimum. Incidentally, if all 5 were similar profile dishes ranging from least to most expensive with small price steps between them, most people will settle on the third dish as 1 and 2 in terms of positioning is less than 50%.
This is not so much what happens on the menu but what happens in the space. The journey of food from the kitchen to the tables is a very effective way of putting food on display and many people tend to order like this by simply referencing a meal that has just left the kitchen or eavesdropping on the adjacent table when the food arrives. Similar orders tend to stack up this way
Seem attractive and enticing because it is new and in short supply. It may not be there tomorrow. Often, not always, the main reason restaurants have specials is to move goods before their shelf life expires. Tip. As a rule of thumb Chowders, Stews and soup specials can be a red flag. Often however it is to test the popularity of new ideas before it goes to the main menu.
8. Wine placement.
The second cheapest wine on the wine list has the biggest markup. This is very simple. Nobody wants to be the cheapest in the room so you order the second cheapest.
In the next article, we look at... Storytelling in restaurant design
1. Design Partnership Australia
About the Author: Callie is an Architect turned Interior Designer turned
Human Behaviour Designer. He is also the founder of
Learn more about Designing for Human Behaviour.
Design. Inspire. Educate.
Join our community and stay up to date with the latest articles,
current projects, and upcoming events.
Enquire below about starting your next project with
Design Partnership Australia
Restaurant Design | Bar Design | Hotel Design | Workplace Design | Service Design |
Interior Design Suite 2/571 Military Rd, Mosman
NSW 2088, Australia