It starts as soon as you sit down at the table in any given restaurant. The server brings you a menu and suddenly, you're putty in their hands. You may think you know exactly what you want, but there are a bunch of psychological tricks at play, and you're probably falling for every single one of 'em.
Interestingly enough, there’s an impressive amount of intentional design and science that goes into crafting a restaurant’s menu.
There’s an entire industry known as “menu engineering” whose main goal is to get you (the customer) to spend as much money as possible at any given restaurant.
1. Fancy Menu = Fancy Food
Research has shown that if a menu is heavy, your brain tricks you into believing that you’re eating at a high-quality restaurant.
After all, a cheap paper menu doesn’t exactly scream “quality,” but if the restaurant was willing to shell out for a high-quality menu, their food must be of very good quality, too. Right?
Or maybe they’re just tricking you into thinking that.
2. Font Matters
Obviously, what’s inside the menu matters, too.
Apparently, using an italic font makes customers think the food is extra fancy.
Makes sense, right? Doesn’t this sentence look extra fancy? (OK, OK. Maybe it doesn’t work as well on online articles.)
Actually, this same info is used when designing wine labels…