Food - Drink
How Restaurants May Be Tricking You Into Ordering Expensive Items
By LISA CURRAN MATTE
You might be surprised to learn that restaurant menus are more than just a piece of paper listing the food items available. It involves menu engineering, a covert strategy used by restaurants to direct customers toward the most expensive offerings.
Restaurant software company Plum describes menu engineering as a combination of psychology and marketing. The strategy stems from the Growth Share Matrix, a tool developed by Boston Consulting Group in the 1970s to help companies prioritize high-value items.
Menu engineering has certain basic elements, such as a "price anchor" or an eye-catching display of the most expensive menu items. "Bonus boxes," or items strategically placed to draw attention to those that may normally be ‌indulgent, but are less than a "price anchor" item.
Another element is "bracketing," which is the practice of serving the same dish in two different portions. The majority of customers will often choose the less expensive, smaller portion, which ends up being a more profitable choice for the restaurant.