The Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Type, col­our, cur­rency sym­bols and vivid adject­ives: all items to pay atten­tion to when design­ing menus–but not for aes­thet­ic reas­ons.

Subtle changes to menus can influ­ence our res­taur­ant decision-mak­ing, as is made obvi­ous by Sarah Ker­shaw’s excel­lent art­icle on the psy­cho­logy of res­taur­ant menus.

(If you’ve read the art­icles in my pre­vi­ous post on this top­ic there is little new inform­a­tion in this piece, but it is worth read­ing for the few tasty morsels that are new.)

Some res­taur­ants use what research­ers call decoys. For example, they may place a really expens­ive item at the top of the menu, so that oth­er dishes look more reas­on­ably priced; research shows that diners tend to order neither the most nor least expens­ive items, drift­ing toward the middle. Or res­taur­ants might play up a prof­it­able dish by using more appet­iz­ing adject­ives and pla­cing it next to a less prof­it­able dish with less descrip­tion so the con­trast entices the diner to order the prof­it­able dish. […] Dr. Wan­sink said that vivid adject­ives can not only sway a cus­tom­er­’s choice but can also leave them more sat­is­fied at the end of the meal than if they had eaten the same item without the descript­ive labeling.

via @mocost