Last Updated:
February 29, 2024

How to use restaurant menu psychology to get more sales

Optimize your restaurant menu and boost sales with menu psychology! Discover actionable tips and tricks to attract customers and increase revenue.
How to use restaurant menu psychology to get more sales
Pamela Romano
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As anyone in the restaurant industry knows, a quality menu is key. Not only does it need to look good, but it must be well-designed and successful in order to get customers to buy more. In general, a good menu will result in higher sales and happy customers, while a bad one leads to low profits and unhappy diners.

If you are struggling with your menu design or looking for new ideas on how to improve the atmosphere of your restaurant, then this blog post has some great information that might be helpful!

In this article, we will take a look at how you can use menu psychology to improve your restaurant business. By studying some of the most popular strategies used in restaurants today, you can easily apply them to your context and see real results. Whether it’s improving customer flow or generating more revenue, there’s a lot that can be learned from taking visual cues from well-designed restaurant menu items and understanding menu psychology. Keep reading!

What is menu psychology?

Menu psychology is a study of how a restaurant's menu can influence people to spend more money. There are many tactics that restaurants use, some even have a "menu engineer" who helps them make sure they optimize their menus.

While menu engineering can be applied to any type of restaurant, from fast food places like McDonald’s to fine dining establishments such as Michelin-starred restaurants. The goal of this technique is for the customer to look at a menu and instantly know which dish they want without having to think too hard about it or even have an idea what that dish might cost them!

To achieve a more profitable menu and do them well, you have to focus on your menu engineering efforts. It's more complicated than just writing down what you're selling and how much it costs. Thus, you have to strategize.

How to use menu psychology to increase sales

You might not realize it, but restaurants use menu psychology to get you to spend more money and consequently reach their target restaurant profits. They do this by manipulating everything from the layout of their restaurant menus to the font size, choices, and more. The following are common psychological tricks that restaurants use:

Adding higher-priced items to the menu

In the restaurant industry, it is common practice to include some premium-priced items alongside more economical options. This technique is called "price anchoring" and serves as a frame of reference for customers when making their decisions. For example, if you see a $32 steak on a menu next to a $22 chicken dish, the latter will appear to be a good value for money even though it might not be the cheapest option overall.

A restaurant might have something like tartare as an option on their menu because people often equate pricier items with better quality food. But, if all of the other dishes on the menu are cheap, this could hurt sales because it would make this one dish seem expensive and out of place!

So, how can you apply these tactics to your own menu?

When creating your menu, it's important to consider the different menu price ranges for each dish. This will help you decide which dishes should be included under each category. For example, if you are in a coffee shop with a breakfast menu, you might want to have a meal deal and then some single items.

"The first thing is to think about the different price ranges for each dish on your menu and what dishes should be included under those categories." - Angelo Esposito

Playing with portion sizes

Another way that restaurants use psychology is by playing with portion sizes. Studies have shown that people perceive smaller portions to be less expensive, even if they cost the same as a larger portion. This is due to something called the "delusion of thrift", where people think that they are saving money by ordering a smaller dish.

You can apply this tactic by having different-sized portions of each dish on your menu and clearly labeling them. For example, you could have a "small", "medium", and "large" size for each dish. This way, people can choose the portion size that they want and feel like they are getting a good deal.

What should a restaurant menu include?

Now that you know a little about the psychology of menus, you can begin creating your own! There are certain things to include in your restaurant's menu templates. Here are some pointers to consider:

  • Use high-quality images

First and foremost, you need to have pictures of the food on your menu- this is what will help customers know exactly what they're ordering before they order it or see it in person. This also gives a sense of comfort, making customers know what to expect from their order. People eat with their eyes first, so make sure to use attractive photos of your dishes.

  • Use pricing strategies

Along with section titles like "Appetizers" and "Salads," a menu engineer is responsible for incorporating prices for each dish. Studies have found that using prices on menus can also help to optimize sales, in part because it gives customers the opportunity to decide before they place an order whether or not they want a pricier dish.

The heart of the economic model of eating out is price, but many restaurateurs will use tricks to get you to spend more money on their meals. One trend is for restaurants to remove currency signs from their menus, which can result in people spending up to 30% more. Beware if menu prices are written out in letters instead of figures as this tactic has been shown to increase spending by up to 15%.

For example, instead of just listing a sandwich for 12 dollars, you might see it listed as 12.00 or even just 12 (without the dollar sign!). The average customer will buy more when they see how much less the item is costing them!

Other tricks include making portions smaller and more expensive or doubling the price of a dish that's on sale, as already mentioned earlier. Restaurants also manipulate their menus with psychological pricing strategies such as "anchoring" where they make high prices stand out visually while low prices are less noticeable.

  • Great menu description

If you want to sell, it is essential to use simple, clear language and provide a concise menu description for each item. This is because people may not be familiar with industry jargon or complicated words, and if they don't understand what something is, then they may not order it.

How to create an effective menu engineering

The foundation for an effective menu engineering process is a simple structure. Let's see what you can do more specifically below.

Examine menu items

You need to track and analyze your menu items to ensure they are selling and making the profit you expect. But how do you do that? A few key measures will demonstrate whether you have profitably priced your menu.

The average customer spends: this will give you an idea of how much each customer is spending when they visit your restaurant. It's important to track this over time to see if it's increasing or decreasing.

Food costs: this is the percentage of the menu price that goes towards the ingredients or food items for each dish. You want to keep this as low as possible while still making a profit.

A good rule of thumb for pricing food is that profits will often increase

as the price goes up by $0.50 or less per item, but this can vary depending on what type of restaurant you have and how much time went into making each dish!

It's also important to keep in mind food costs when pricing any menu item.

Restaurants with higher than average food costs typically do so because they're either trying to be more exclusive and command a higher price or because they are just cutting corners on quality while still having an expensive price tag.

It's not practical to charge $16 for a dish that you understand

most people wouldn't order. Instead, price it at $13, and you'll see customers are more inclined to purchase it.

The goal is always to have a profitable menu and this often means

understanding your target demographic (young professionals or middle-aged families) and what dishes they'd be more likely to buy. It also means pricing your dishes according to the psychology of each customer so they feel inclined into spending their money!

If you need help with your food costs you can always read more in this article here on how to calculate food costs!

Waste: this is the food that is thrown away and not used. You want to minimize food waste as much as possible.

Sales mix: this is the percentage of each menu item that is selling. This will help you to see menu item popularity and which ones are not selling well.

Calculate contribution margin: The contribution margin allows managers to see which product is selling and how much profit it is making. This makes it possible to price products or services, structure sales commissions, and add or subtract a product line.

Organize your menu items

Once you have analyzed your menu items, it is time to categorize menu items. You should group similar items together and create sections for each type of dish. For example, you might have a section for appetizers, entrees, and desserts. This organization will help customers find what they are looking for and make it easier for them to compare similar dishes.

Along with section titles like "Appetizers" and "Salads," menu engineering involves incorporating prices and structuring them in a way customers can find dishes easily on a menu. All items in a given section of the menu should be priced similarly, often using ascending or descending order.

For example, appetizers might start at $12 and go up to $25; salads could range from $18-$35 while entrees would typically not exceed that upper limit (depending on how expensive you want them to appear).

Prices can be a touchy subject, so tread lightly. Your potential customers may make the decision to visit your eatery based on how much they see the prices. You want them to choose your restaurant, so use small caps text or italics when describing meals below their corresponding value—this way it stands out more. Additionally, add prices that adhere to common psychological principles we discussed earlier for optimal effect.

Understand the popularity and profitability of your menu items

Menu analysis is the process of comparing menu item sales to how popular each item is in order to provide you clarity on which meals should be maintained and promoted or eliminated in order for a room to be made for something more profitable.

There is no set rule for how to price menu items because restaurants charge different prices. However, when setting menu item prices, it's important to take into account both the popularity and profitability of each dish. Generally speaking, the more popular a dish is, the higher its price should be.

By using a menu matrix to map out your menu items, you can easily see which ones are the most popular and profitable. Choose a time period to track your menu items. For every menu item, document the sales volume sold and the calculate contribution margin. Create a graph with the data; the Y axis will indicate the quantity sold, and the X axis profit of the product.

(Insert menu matrix)

Check example here

Here, we've simplified the terminologies used to make it easier to understand. The following are four menu engineering categories that group together various levels of popularity and profitability:

  • Low Profitability and High Popularity a.ka. Plowhorses

Dishes in the Plow Horse category have both greater food costs and a higher appeal rating, making them less profitable for you as a business owner, but they are popular with your consumers.

Sashimi-grade fish is an example of something that's expensive to serve but irresistible to consumers. Low margins make it difficult for you, but dishes like Shoyu salmon and fiery albacore served over hot rice are popular with your customers.

If you want to make this item more profitable, consider using lower food costs/ingredients or making smaller portions. Only upsell or feature items on your menu that have a large profit margin.

  • Low Profitability and Low Popularity a.k.a Dogs

From a financial standpoint, the worst items to have on your menu items are dog dishes because they have low profitability and are unpopular.

Dogs symbolize items on your menu that aren't ordered frequently or have a big profit margin. These goods should be removed from your list. However, there are times when you might want to keep Dogs on the menu. For families, one example may be kid's choices such as grilled cheese or kiddie burgers, which may not sell well but are important to offer for children.

If continuing to offer items in this category, avoid upselling or accentuating them on your menu.

  • High Profitability and High Popularity a.k.a Stars

Stars are menu items that are both highly profitable and extremely popular.

For maximum profitability, focus on items that are both popular and have a high-profit margin. Dishes like pasta or margaritas fit this bill perfectly. Keep these items front-and-center on your menu, promoting them heavily. And when it comes time to change up the ingredients, proceed with caution—these are your cash cows, after all.

With stars' high profitability, you could help propel your success to new heights. Use this easy opportunity to start promoting the product in any way possible.

  • High Profitability and Low Popularity a.k.a Puzzles

Pitfalls in puzzle-based products are typically high-profit margins and difficulty to sell. These puzzles' high profitability and low popularity items' recipes may need to be adjusted to appeal to customers. Servers should also upsell these dish selections, as well as menu engineers looking for ways to make them stand out.

5 restaurant techniques that encourage people into buying something

Want to know how you can get people to spend more when they come to dine at your establishment? Here are five surefire techniques:

1) Use a sense of scarcity

When people feel like they might miss out on something, they're more likely to act. So try using words and phrases like "limited time only," "while supplies last," or "one day only."You can also use scarcity when it comes to your menu items. If you have a dish that's only available for a limited time, people will be more likely to order it while it's still available. Scarcity can also work on a larger scale. If you're running a promotion for a holiday or special event, make sure to let your customers know that it's only happening for a limited time. This way, they'll be more likely to take advantage of it while they still can.

2) The affect heuristic

This is a mental shortcut that allows people to make decisions based on their emotions. So if you can tap into people's positive emotions, you're more likely to get them to say yes to your offer. One way to do this is by using what's known as the "halo effect." This is when people associate positive traits with someone or something. For example, if you have a celebrity endorsement for your restaurant, people will automatically assume that your food is good because the celebrity wouldn't endorse it if it wasn't.

Another way to use the affect heuristic is by framing your offer in a positive way. For example, if you're trying to get people to buy a new menu item, you could say something like, "Try our new dish! It's sure to tantalize your taste buds." Framing your offer in a positive way is more likely to get people to say yes.

Therefore, the affect heuristic can have a powerful influence on decisions both large and small.

3) The reciprocity rule

This is the idea that if you give something to someone, they'll feel obligated or inclined to do something in return for you. This is often used by restaurant owners in order to encourage customers to purchase more food. For example, a restaurant may offer a free appetizer for customers who order an entree and drink. The goal of this is to get customers to purchase an additional dish even if they wouldn't have otherwise. It's a subtle advantage that will end up turning into many more!

4) The loss aversion principle

This is the idea that we are more sensitive to losses than gains and will do anything in order to avoid them- even if it means making a purchase. For example, a restaurant may advertise that they're giving away free dessert for customers who dine there. This is done to encourage them into purchasing an additional dish because they don't want to miss out on the dessert.

5) The sunk-cost bias

This is the idea that people are more likely to spend money on things they've already invested in, even if it's not the best option. For example, a restaurant may offer customers a "buy one entree and get another for free" deal- but only if they purchase both meals at the same time. This is done to encourage them into purchasing an additional dish that they may not have otherwise ordered.

Menu redesign and restructuring of a profitable menu

While it may seem like more options would be better for customers, having a large menu can actually lead to confusion and decreased business.

For this reason, restaurant operators should develop a great menu depending on their restaurant's style, brand, goals, and profitability while simultaneously enticing consumers.

So, how do they come up with an appealing restaurant menu design and categorize menu items?

Even if they aren't a professional menu designer, there are methods to make a great restaurant menu more practical and understandable. Professional advice should be sought when needed to ensure that the menu meets all requirements, whether you're creating a new menu or redesigning an existing one.

Examine past sales data

At the beginning of the process, we first analyze sales for all items on a menu. With this information in hand, we can make certain assumptions about what is the customers' order and adjust our offering to respond to these trends. Menu planners will often ask themselves: "What foods are my customers seeking?" or "Are they looking for something more upscale? Less expensive? Local fare?"

Make a list of the high profitability vs. low profitability menu items. Look for trends in sales in every menu-based order: like what items sell more during lunch, and what sells during dinner. Also, look for seasonalities in your restaurant sales: what sells more during summer or winter, and adjust the menu accordingly. This will help you assess your performance if you're really making any restaurant profits.

It's time to start assembling a new menu

If you have a restaurant in the middle of nowhere but are still doing well, consider adding to your menu that people can order for take-out, and delivery, and even consider menu online.

If you are in a place with lots of competition, consider adding healthy options to your menu or items that can be customized. This will give you an edge over the competition and may even allow for more sales during slower periods of time.

Restaurant owners should be constantly developing their menus. If your business is doing well but you're struggling during lunch or dinner hours, it may simply imply that the right dishes aren't being offered at the right time of day. It's better to cater to the demand by serving food according to the appropriate hour of the day.

If this sounds like your situation we recommend exploring how other restaurants in your area handle these issues and incorporating some of those concepts into a revised menu for yourself. The goal is always to offer customers what they want when they want it so keep revising menus as needed!

A profitable menu has good images

It's essential to design a menu that is easy for your customer to read and understand. You want them to be able to skim through the page quickly, without the paradox of choice. Essentially, having too many menu options present or having cluttered images on each page promotes more anxiety than a benefit to customers.

Having just one photo per page can increase sales by up to 30%. Restaurants with casual and affordable menus often experience the most success from using this strategy.

When designing your menu it's also essential that you consider what type of food photography style would be most effective for drawing in customers. In general terms, there are two types: "creative" or editorial-style photos, which emphasize ambiance and pleasing aesthetics, and "documentary" or straightforward photography which highlights the food itself.

Creative photography is perfect for menus that want to evoke a sense of warmth and place, as well as emphasize the quality of food and service. This style also functions well for menus with an eclectic variety of dishes, which might not be captured by straightforward photography.

It's important to use different angles when photographing your dishes so that you have a "full" photo. After all, it's the combination of color, texture, and taste in your dishes that can make them memorable.

To take quality photos creatively you will need to experiment with different macro shots and zoom effects- this is what will truly make your menu come to life! Try photographing at unusual angles and distances so that you can get the most successful shots. Rest assured that the more time you put into refining your skills, the better your photos will be.

Documentary-style photos emphasize the quality of food and service. If you are looking for straight shots that will show off the ingredients, this is the style to go with. These types of photos capture dishes that have a lot of contrasting textures or colors - and they can be easier to edit in post-processing! However, it might not do as well when trying to highlight ambiance.

The main thing you will need to do when photographing your dishes is made sure that the lighting matches from one photo to another. This will ensure continuity and order in your photos, no matter what style of photography you prefer!

The best way to take quality pictures in a restaurant setting is by using natural light as much as possible- this will minimize shadows and show off the most appealing features of your dishes.

Creating a menu that encourages people to spend more money is tricky, but it's possible with the right amount of consideration and planning! The best way to do so is by making sure you are catering to your customers- not trying too hard to please them. If they want something and can't find it, add it to your menu!

The goal is always to offer customers what they want when they want it so keep revising menus as needed. The more attentive you are to the needs of your customer, the better off your restaurant will be in the end.

Choose a reasonable menu size

The restaurant menu is critical to your brand, and there are numerous ways you can format it. The options depend on the number of items you have, as well as your overall concept.

Single page:

You'll find the complete menu all on one page, and it can be oriented vertically or horizontally. You often see this same format with prix fixe menus, seasonal ingredient restaurants, and those that farm their food themselves to ensure peak freshness.

Diners will be able to make decisions rapidly if you choose a horizontal format for your menu. You can arrange the dishes according to where diners' eyes are naturally drawn. However, keep in mind that customers may not order as much food and this layout doesn't offer space for a diverse range of menu items.

The Two-panel, single-fold:

The most popular type of restaurant menu is a two-page spread that allows customers to see all the options at once. This is simple to understand. The best format for you to strategically offer profit-generating items. However, if you have a lot of menu options, this design might be too small.

The Three-panel menu (two-fold)

Larger menus may be created with the three-panel, two-fold menus, which allow restaurants to show a variety of dishes. These are most often seen at pubs, taverns, and family-style eateries.

The main benefit of this type of format is that it can hold a lot of menu items. However, it's probably not as reader-friendly as single or two-page menus.

Many panel menu booklet

This menu is ideal for big menus since it can handle a wide range of foods. This menu style is generally found in family-style restaurants and works well with shared plates. It can hold a lot of different items on the menu.

However, this is more difficult to profit from. Customers have a harder time remembering more items. They make the decision-making process more complex, and they add to operational pressure.

Manipulate prices to ensure food costs are respected

Restaurants may also manipulate their menu by having items that are "specials" meaning they're only available periodically, such as weekly or monthly specials. This encourages people into buying those special items, which are often the restaurant's most expensive and profitable items.

It is important to understand that customers may be hesitant about paying more for a meal or dish if they don't know what it will taste like beforehand. This is why restaurants manipulate their menus by adding dishes with testimonials from "people just like you" so people feel less wary about spending more money.

This is also why many restaurants have higher prices for lunch and lower prices at dinner to capture more customers during less busy hours.

Restaurants use decoys for the most profitable items on their menu

In the restaurant world, decoy items are the bait. They're used on menus to draw customers into spending more on an item without knowing that they're actually paying more for it.

Decoy items can be any food or dish that is specially marked with a "specials" tag, which is typically printed in different font color, size, or style than another menu item. These specials are usually the most expensive and profitable dishes on the menu so restaurants will manipulate their menus by highlighting these dishes to lure people in to order them.

The goal of using decoys on your menu is to make your diners feel like they've chosen a special dish from a larger selection but what you're really doing by adding this sneaky psychological trick is manipulating the price of the item.

Restaurateurs do this because they know that the most profitable items are typically associated with the most expensive item provided to their customers.

By highlighting these dishes, it lures people in to order them without realizing that these specials may not be as good of a value as some of the other less expensive dishes.

For example, if you're serving filet mignon with mixed vegetables and sauce on a bed of rice and naan bread for $38, then marking another dish as "special" for $42 might seem like a bargain if people don't think about how much they're really spending.

The long-term success of your restaurant will depend on factors like the quality of the dining experience and the design of your menu. Take a close look at these elements now to see where you can make improvements. Remember, this will ultimately determine which items are most profitable for your business.

Influence how clients feel about your menu using color

Just like any other marketing tactic in business, colors can play an important role in how your restaurant's menu is laid out and what items are highlighted. If you want to get more people to spend money on certain dishes, then highlighting these with different colors might be the solution.

If you're trying to impress your diners, then you should consider using a dark color for the main body text on your menu so that it stands out against white backgrounds and other lighter items in the restaurant like walls or plates.

The color black is also used often with restaurant menus because it makes whatever item you want to highlight stand out against other items on the menu. Yet, while dark colors are useful in bringing contrast to your menu, white fonts are easier to see from across a crowded room.

Reds are typically seen as being exciting, so diners may be more inclined to order something spicy and/or outside their comfort zone. If you want a particular dish to be ordered more often when people are eating dinner, you can use a red font color because these can grab attention from across a crowded restaurant so you're increasing your chances of selling out during dinner service as well.

On the other hand, shades of blue can look more subdued and calm. Therefore, if your restaurant wants customers to feel relaxed while they're eating their meal, then blue shades could work well with other colors on your menu design. To emphasize a dish that has sold well during lunch hours, for example, you can use blue font color which will stand out against the other text and make it easier for customers to see that dish with ease.

Another way you can manipulate your customers is by using certain colors in conjunction with one another, like red and yellow for instance. Typically, these are seen as being eye-catching colors and can encourage customers to order more food because they're drawn in by the bright color combination. Essentially, you're increasing your chances of selling out during dinner service as well.

For example, if you have a dish that's on sale for $42, then using red text could be your best bet since it will stand out against other items on the menu. If you want to highlight a dish that's on sale for $38, then using yellow text might be the best option.

Some restaurants avoid using green fonts and colors because they're not as eye-catching as reds, oranges, or blues, however, green can be calming and help diners feel like they're ordering a dish that's healthier because it is associated with healthy eating.

If you're highlighting specials on your menu or want to emphasize certain dishes that have sold out during lunch hours for instance, then using an eye-catching font might be the way to go.

Using colors in your restaurant's menu design can be an easy way to influence how people feel about the dishes you're offering. A lot of restaurants use colors in their menus to get customers to spend more money and order the most profitable dishes. There are several different ways you could use color, but it all depends on what kind of feel you want to evoke with your design.

Use of different tones and fancier language

Different tones and fancier language can help each menu item seem more appealing. There are a few different ways that could be done.

One way would be to use different fonts in your menu design to make your items stand out. For example, you could use a serif font for the main body text to emphasize high-quality dining. However, serif fonts should be used with caution in conjunction with small text sizes, as they are more difficult to read.

Yet, sans-serif fonts are more readable. However, they don't always offer the same sense of sophistication as serif fonts do. Typically, high-end restaurants opt for serif fonts with more negative space to leave breathing room on the menu and to increase legibility. If you want to combine both serif and non-serif fonts, sans serif can help with other headings like entrees and desserts.

You also want to think about what kind of language you're using in general when talking about these dishes because some words evoke an emotional response. For example, words like "pouri

ng" and "drizzling" can give the impression that you're serving a dish with high-quality ingredients or something luxurious.

Another way to make food seem more appealing is by using certain adjectives in your descriptions of dishes in order to evoke an emotional response. If you want people to feel hungry, then you might want to say "juicy." If you want them to feel indulgent, then the words like "rich" and "luscious" work well.

A lot of restaurants use different tones in their menus to make dishes seem more appealing because it can increase sales. When people read a restaurant's menu for instance they're usually looking for variety. If you want to stand out, then using different tones and fancier language can be a good way to do so. like they're ordering a dish that's indulgent, then you could use appetizing descriptions like "rich" or "decadent."

Finally, you can also manipulate your customers by using different phrases to describe food. If you want to emphasize that a dish is more filling, then "luscious and filling" could be the way to go. This can help make people feel like they're getting something substantial for their money because it tastes great and will fill them up as well.

Nevertheless, if you wanted to highlight how light a dish is, then using words like "airy" or "light as air" is effective. The term "airy" is also used for dishes that are light because it has a positive tone and makes people think of happy memories, leading to people wanting to order the dish.

Restaurant menu items often have enticing descriptions in order to increase sales. The type of descriptions matters because some evoke an emotional response from the customer whereas others are just a list of ingredients on a plate. With effective decorations and eye-catching colors, restaurants will gain more customers looking for variety. As research shows, descriptive labels can increase sales by 27 percent, which is worth the effort in writing for the long run.

Apply nesting method for pricing

After each meal description, list the price in a smaller font size so that customers will focus less on the price. Here's what to avoid:

(1) Avoid ending your prices with .99. To some customers, this can sound like a bad deal.

(2) Eliminate dollar signs. Currency indicators such as the dollar sign can make customers feel like they are spending more money than they actually are. Eliminate the currency indicator to help soften the price.

(3) Avoid price trails. A price trail is a dotted line that connects your menu items to their price, which may be found on the other side of the page. This eliminates attention from your dish description and directs it to the cost instead.

(4) Avoid price columns. Guests can compare prices more quickly by placing your menu price in a column next to your dishes, and they may make their selection based on the cheapest one.

Make your clients feel nostalgic

One way that restaurants can make their clients feel nostalgic is by using the same type of style in both the interior and exterior decorations.

For example, if you want to create a rustic feeling in your establishment then you might want to use wooden tables, unfinished wood floors, and darker-colored walls. You could also add some decorative antiques to the room such as old pictures and trinkets.

Another way that restaurants can evoke nostalgia is by incorporating cultural elements into their menu. For example, if you're going for a traditional diner vibe you could serve dishes like hot dogs with chili or chicken and waffles. These are two examples of food that have become cultural staples over time. They evoke memories of history and how some people have eaten food for generations.

The nostalgia also comes from the dishes themselves and how they're presented on a plate, which is why restaurants can use words like "home-style" "homestyle" "traditional" or "handpicked selection." When used in conjunction with descriptive menu labels or even a brief selection of stories, meal description no longer seems like a list of ingredients, yet ingredients with intention. These terms make customers feel nostalgic because it reminds them of their childhood and simpler times when food recipes were passed down, prepared, and cooked at home instead of in a restaurant.

A lot of people are nostalgic for times in their lives when food was simpler and not as complicated to make, which is why restaurants can incorporate these elements into the menu they serve. This could be done by using dishes that have been established as cultural staples or just traditional cuisine.

Traditional cuisine of any country has a unique feel to it and changes the atmosphere of any restaurant. Stepping into a restaurant where workers are using fresh produce, and spices, and maybe even run by a family, makes customers feel nostalgic and comfortable.

Research has shown that people like to enjoy scents before they eat, which is why restaurants should consider using scented candles or incense in their establishments.

This isn't just about candles or incense though- there are many ways to seduce a customer's senses through scents alone. One way is to give off more masculine scents as opposed to floral ones which would appeal more to women.

The aromas from cooking are another factor that changes the mood of a restaurant because it makes people hungry before they even taste their meal! These scents can also make customers feel more relaxed and comfortable with an added bonus for those who have allergies because there are no direct artificial fragrances in use.

Foods can also have different aromas depending on the type of cuisine, which can evoke memories or appreciation for the culture which the restaurant embodies. It makes the restaurant experience more enjoyable and encourages customers to revisit the restaurant not only for the food but for the experience of it. Getting diners to return is the ultimate goal since the restaurant industry relies on repeat customers as they account for about 70 percent of sales!

Use the golden triangle principle in your restaurant

When we look at a menu, our eyes typically move to the middle first before traveling to the upper right-hand corner and then, finally, to the top left corner. This has been dubbed the "Golden Triangle" by menu engineers, and these three areas are where you'll find the dishes with the highest profit margin.

This principle can be used for more than just increasing a restaurant's profits; it can also help with the design of the eatery. For example, some restaurants choose to have dark-colored walls and benches with plush cushions. They may also keep an open kitchen so diners can see their food being prepared. This would create a more exclusive experience that could draw in customers looking for upscale dining.

They could also provide transportation such as bicycle delivery or delivery by car which would make the customer feel like they're paying for more than just food.

Another idea is to offer coupons and loyalty cards which will result in increased revenue because it gives customers added incentive to come back! These card programs can also be used as marketing tools because they allow restaurants to collect customer data and learn more about their demographics.

When you want to sell more food and help restaurants increase revenue, we can work together to complete a customized menu that encourages customers to purchase from your establishments.

With WISK you can access your sales data directly from most POS systems software and see what recipes are actually profitable. It will help you know how to plan out a menu that entices people to buy more.

Offer Limited choices

It's a common misconception that offering more choices will result in more sales but, in reality, it often has the opposite effect. This is because humans have a natural aversion to making decisions and feel overwhelmed when they're presented with too many options.

The “paradox of choice” goes like this: the more alternatives we have, the greater our anxiety. To minimize options per category to around 7 items, psychologists recommend that restaurant operators limit categories to just a few options.

Make your menu scan-friendly

Implement an uncluttered design, and use a font that is easy to read along with visible font size. Include section headings that are easily distinguishable from the rest of the text, as well as titles for each dish. Even if your menu has a lot of options, many experts believe that fewer selections per category make it simpler for customers to pick.

Include a separate dessert menu

Dessert menus are a great way to increase revenue because they're an easy sell at the end of the meal. Guests are already full and may not be interested in ordering another savory dish, but they're often more likely to order a dessert or coffee.

If you want to encourage customers to order dessert, make sure your menu is designed in a way that makes it easy for them to find the desserts! This could mean having a separate section for sweets or listing them at the end of the menu under a heading like "After Dinner Treats." You could also highlight certain items by placing them on special pages or using photos to make them look more appealing.

The food menu is the heart of your restaurant

Menu design isn't just an art form- it's also a complex science that takes into account numerous aspects of the food industry. In addition, menu engineering and menu psychology also play important roles in creating a profitable menu.

We get it -restaurants want to sell more. To do so, they need to have a well-designed menu that hits all the key points: looking good, being functional, and representing your brand. This will help maximize profits while still giving customers a great dining experience.

To optimize restaurant profits, take into account its menu engineering categories (popularity and profitability). Not only should you aim to save on food costs, but also keep menu prices reasonable so that customers will want to come back.

If you want to learn more about how restaurant menu engineering can help improve your business and see your ROI rise, WISK is the perfect place to start. We offer a free demo and advice specific to our software so you can see how it works, or you can sign up for a free 14-day trial. There's no obligation to buy anything, so why not give us a try today?


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