Restaurant Secrets Get Diners To Spend And Eat More

Whether it is the delicious smells or the fun atmosphere, we often spend more than we plan at a restaurant. There are more factors than we realize jump-starting our appetites.

Earl’s Kitchen+Bar at Assembly Square is one of the area’s new hot spots, and a constant stream of diners stop to check out the menu. Regional Chef Cam Armstrong knows the menu is more than just a list of food options. He said there is psychology involved in the layout and the marketing of the menu, in terms of how items are strategically placed on it. This is common in the restaurant industry, as a way to highlight special dishes and items with a higher profit margin.

Diners like Chris Clark like to think they are controlling their choices when they peruse a menu. “It’s really the mood of the day. Do I want fish or do I want steak?”

Brian Wansink, a hospitality expert at Cornell University, said that all of us are influenced by how a restaurant presents their items, whether we realize it or not. “We are not masters and commander of what we choose when we go to a restaurant,” Wansink says.

Marketing techniques can be as simple as circling or boxing a selection on a menu. Chef Armstrong added, “That really draws people in, and gives them this focal point.”

Using high quality pictures is another tool. “We see sometimes a 25%-30% boost on that item, just based on a picture,” explained Armstrong.

The description of an item is also important. Research shows that the use of words like succulent or creamy can really impact diners. “They’re willing to pay about 15% more for the item. They’re 27% more likely to take the item, and they also end up rating the item as actually being tastier after they finish dinner,” said Wansink.

Lighting can also impact how much a guest ends up spending. “If it’s dark and quiet, you will also eat a whole lot, because you stick around longer and you end up eating more,” added Wansink.

At Earl’s, they know presentation is key, but the food has to be king. That how’s to develop a loyal customer base. “When one of our guests is drawn to it, and given the opportunity try one of these dishes, they are going to be blown away,” said Armstrong.

Filed Under: F&BMarketing


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