Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Manipulative Restaurant Menus!

Forbes Traveller ran an interesting article on 'menu psychology'. Here's an excerpt:

Smart chefs (or their menu consultants) know that when most of you open a menu, your eyes go right to the top of the page on the right side. And, armed with that knowledge, chefs place the menu item that will give them the most profit at the top of the page. Hence, it soon becomes their biggest seller.

Then, your eyes normally drift to the center of the page. That’s where many chefs place their absolutely most expensive item. They do that not because they expect you to buy that item, but because the psychology of menus indicates you’ll probably then look at the items immediately above and below the high ticket item and order one of those. Again, those two items rank second and third for generating profits.”

Read the original article in full here.

12 comments:

Sank said...

Why Shantanu, I'm surprised at your title. It's not manipulation its "optimization".. bad news is, it's everywhere.

Smita said...

Advertisers and marketeers have been doing it for years. The cigarettes are injurious to health bit - in a font u can hardly read. Everyone plays with the mind ;D

bint battuta said...

Well, this kind of manipulation/marketing may be ubiquitous, but I'd rather be aware than not...so thanks for the link!

Shantanu said...

@sank: I guess it depends how you look at it... you aren't in the restaurant business, are you? ;-)

@smita: I suppose they do.

@bint battuta: Heh, I guess this not something we are supposed to be aware of. :-)

foodette said...

Very interesting - kind of like how they lay out a grocery store.

Hari Nair said...

Shantanu - grim news. I have tagged you for a meme. check link.
http://harinair.wordpress.com/2007/12/22/223/

Zhu said...

Interesting! I know that for advertising but I must admit I never thought of it for menus. I'll keep my eyes open... not at the center of the menu!

Shantanu said...

@foodette: Yes, doesn't surprise me now that I know. But hadn't really thought of this.

@hair nair: Grim indeed. :-) But I will respond in the next few days, also because I am running out of ideas for posts at the moment.

@zhu: Heh! Me too.

Windyridge said...

Gee I never thought of the menu as manipulation but I guess you are right!

Shantanu said...

@windyridge: Heh, this was an eye-opener to me too. In hindsight, should have expected this, given how much money is involved in the business of food.

indicaspecies said...

Interesting reading. However, let the secret science of menu psychology remain a secret to me.

I don't go to dine at 5-star restaurants everyday so I'll pamper myself at the next best and eat what I wish to till I can afford it. What do you say? ;)

Shantanu said...

@indicaspecies: Ha ha! Be my guest. :-)