Five tricks restaurants use to influence your ordering
According to the restaurant rule book there are a few tricks of the trade they turn to in a bid to encourage diners spend more money. We've done some investigating and can spill five secrets commonly used so you can try and avoid falling for them.
1. DON'T MENTION THE DOLLAR SIGN
Menus with that trendy "oysters 6.0" on the menu might not just be trying to look minimalist and cool. Researchers at the Cornell University of Hotel Administration tested how spending changed depending on whether menus just used numbers, had dollar signs, or spelt out the amount, as in "oysters six dollars".
They found diners spent significantly more when there was no dollar sign or it was spelt out. We don't like that big S with a line through it reminding us we are spending money.
2. MUSIC MATTERS
Studies into background music show it can make a big difference to spending. Researchers at the University of Leicester tested different music styles on diners over three weeks at a restaurant. When they shared classical with diners, they spent 10 per cent more on their bill than when pop music came through the speaker, and a little less again when nothing was played at all. Meanwhile, psychologist Charles Spence, author of Gastrophysics, The New Science of Eating says the louder and faster the music, the more we eat and drink - something that must benefit many Mexican restaurants.
3. WORD POWER
Menus describing every blob, soil and crumb have a strong impact on diners - when done in the right way. Cornell University researchers found diners picked a highly-described dish 27 per cent more often than the same dish listed just with a name. Also, as long as the food was good, they were more willing to go back, and were even prepared to pay 10 per cent more for the same dish.
4. THE PRICE IS RIGHT
The second cheapest bottle on a wine list is often the best seller. Buyers don't want to look cheap, but they don't want to pay top price with already eye-watering mark-ups in play. Smart restaurants know this and put their highest margin wines at the second cheapest spot. This comparison trick can also work with food. A ridiculously high-priced item on the menu will have the job of making the others look good. Saying 'no way!' to the $100 steak makes paying $60 for a rump feel like a win.
5. THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF CHOICE
Researchers at Bournemouth University studied menu lists and found diners have a sweet spot of how many items they want to face choosing from. In fine dining restaurants, people are happiest with seven starters and desserts, and 10 main course options.Diners who aren't overwhelmed or underwhelmed by choice tend to order more and come back for seconds.