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The Science of Menu Creation

Posted Dec 01 2009 12:00am

I recently stumbled across an article in the New York Times that explains how restaurant chefs and owners meticulously create their menus in order to stimulate diners to spend more money. It’s a very interesting read and can be found here .

Here are some highlights of the article:

In the world of menu engineering and pricing, a dollar sign is pretty much the worst thing you can put on a menu, particularly at a high-end restaurant. Not only will it scream “Hello, you are about to spend money!” into a diner’s tender psyche, but it can feel aggressive and look tacky

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

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.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/23/dining/23menus.html


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