Here are tricky psychological methods restaurants use to urge spend more,
1. Plenty of nines in the price
It’s a common strategy to use more 9s in prices. A $6 dish would look cheaper when listed as $5.99. Prices could also end in .94 or .96, because they feel less “trickier” to consumers.
2. Visually highlighted items
Foods in the menu look more interesting when they are represented in a fancier or colored font, especially if they are accompanied with pictures. Some can be singled out in separate boxes, so they look a bit more special than typical dishes. Although such a strategy can make restaurant look tacky, it can still be quite effective.
3. Association with ethical factors
Food can be given ethical names to make them look more authentic. Geographical and ethnic labels can draw our attention to specific features in a dish. In fact, food with exotic names can actually taste better due to psychological factors of eating something that’s supposedly to be unique.
4. Make some items expensive to encourage purchase of cheaper items
Many restaurants purposely make some dishes so expensive that they can work as decoys. Many consumers won’t buy them, but they can make other dishes in the menu look more reasonable and cheaper. So, when we see those $100 platters in the menu, we should check whether they are placed near multiple two-digit dishes.
5. Two portion sizes
It’s a common strategy called bracketing. Many consumers believe that dishes with smaller portions offer better value because they cost less. In reality, smaller portions can be more expensive; because restaurants can earn more money in the long run by selling smaller portions of dishes.
6. They take advantage of our reading patterns
Restaurants know how people typically read. Most people order first items shown on the list, so restaurants typically put most profitable dishes on the top, because it’s where consumers’ eyes go first. The concept is called as the “primacy effect”, which means people tend to remember and get interested with items they see first. People may also feel that items shown lower on the list as less tasty, which is not true. To boost profitability, restaurants put much of the focus on main servings. By studying eye movements on menu, restaurants understand how customers scan the menu and put specific focus on desired locations.
7. Limited choices
With fixed menus, tapas and samplers, restaurants purposely remove immense responsibility patrons may feel when they choose what to eat. It would be much more effective to boost sales by limiting selections. According to researches, six items are the most optimum number we should put in each category, while fine dining restaurants can add up to ten items.
8. Ideal moods: Depending on the theme of the restaurant
the interior, music and lighting can urge people to spend more. As an example, classical music can make people feel more affluent. However, playing inappropriate music may cause people to spend less on their meals.
Restaurants put plenty of efforts into serving us decent meal and many things could be affected by things that happen in the kitchen. From the way food is presented and the availability of live music, managers think of many strategies to get people spend much more in the restaurant.
As an example, fine dining restaurants that regularly play classical music could try to put us in the mood by offering expensive bottles of wine. Classical music, elegant surrounding and wine are often associated with prosperity, so this could appeal to specific groups of consumers. Some restaurants also remove the dollar signs from the list and this may cause consumers to forget that they spend money. According to researches, people are more likely to spend more when the menu doesn’t include dollar signs.
To boost sales, some restaurants use brand names and this is a part of the grand strategy to boost sales. As an example, typical lasagna could sound exotic if it’s named after a rustic village in Italy or simply the chef’s grandmother. Monte Cassino lasagna would sound better than if we simply call it vegetable lasagna. Geographical and family connections can remind consumers of their own grandmothers’ cooking, so this could compel them to order a dish.