5 Psychological Tricks of a Restaurant Menu

June 16, 2019

How restaurants trick you psychologically





You have made up your mind to what you want for your perfect lunch. 

As soon as you're seated the server offers you the menu. You know exactly what you're craving and while you browse through the menu, with so many options available, you find yourself changing your mind. 

That's exactly how restaurants plan and design their menu to play psychological tricks that they plan, and we as a guest fall for them. 

You'd be surprised to know that there is a lot of planning and engineering that goes into designing the layout of a menu for upselling high ticket items.  

Here are 5 Psychological Tricks of a Restaurants to design their Menu 

1) Price Manipulations 

We all know the $ sign can either intimidate you or make you really happy depending on the situation. Many restaurants choose to get rid of the dollar sign on the menu. This helps eliminate the psychological thought that you're going to be spending money on your meal which in turn encourages a guest to spend a higher dollar value on the meal. 

2) Eye Game

We are not always in a mood to splurge on a meal at a restaurant so we settle for something less expensive than a $70 on a Lobster dish; Or do we? 

Restaurant purposely design the menu to cluster the most expensive items to the top of the menu so that we get the items listed right under. This strategy can actually make customers feel more satisfied when they leave. 

3) Color Utilization 

 Colors play an important role in the designing of the menu. It is said that Blue is a color which soothes us, often creating a calming effect. Evidence has also proven that red stimulates the appetite hence restaurants use red and yellow for the branding purpose. 

4) Negative Spacing

 Have you ever noticed - When you're looking to order your favorite cut of steak or a king crab dish, often times it is outlined tucked away from the rest of the menu? 

The reason is that negative spacing is a term used to outline the 'Special' items. Using this design tactic will help guests make a decision to order the high-valued items.

5) Description Depicts Quality

Words can have a huge impact on how a customer perceives on ordering the dish. The better the menu description, the better the guest reports of thoroughly enjoying the food. So a regular 'chocolate mousse' becomes 'Dutch chocolate mousse'.  

How restaurants trick you psychologically