From the outside, restaurant dining appears to be effortless, a carefully orchestrated dance between waiters, chefs, and hostesses all trained to create an optimal experience for diners.
To learn why getting involved behind-the-scenes in the restaurant business is a valuable experience, click here.
However, this façade actually requires much effort, and is expertly crafted in a way that prompt diners to spend more money in a short amount of time. Fight these five restaurant tricks to get the most out of your dining experience:
1. Foot-in-the-Door Method
Restaurants highlight expensive menu items to make cheaper menu items seem like a bargain. To avoid overspending, set a budget before arrival and stick to it.
2. Color Me Hungry
It’s no coincidence that many restaurants are painted red. Scientific studies show that the color red raises blood pressure, heart rate and people’s desire to eat everything in sight—no wonder it is often used in restaurant decor.
3. Big, Bold Descriptions
Restaurant menus always feature an endless variety of flamboyant descriptors: “rich” ice cream, “sizzling” fajitas, “garlic-roasted” vegetables. These small details are effective in adding appeal to a dish, but can also detract from the dish as a whole.
Be sure to carefully read menus, filtering out dramatized words while zooming in on the important parts.
One way to do this is by following your favorite restaurants on Instagram—you can visualize dishes without getting caught up in unnecessary descriptions (and save money while you are at it). Read more here.
4. What is that number?
Menus purposefully omit dollar signs and decimals to make spending prices appear less threatening. Diners are more likely to purchase something that is simply listed as “9” rather than “$7.99” to make the sum seem more abstract.
Try to put a dollar amount on what you’re eating, rather than falling victim to clever menu design tricks.
5. There’s a reason that chair hurts
Finally, restaurants use “speed techniques” to trick you into eating faster. This results in quick table turnovers, bringing in more customers.
Two of these techniques include: playing loud music and seating patrons in uncomfortable seats.
If a restaurant setting is slightly uncomfortable, ask to be moved or to have the music turned down. Restaurants should be catering to your needs.
Don’t fall into these typical restaurant traps—a little warning and careful thought can help you maximize your dining experience. For additional tips on being the ultimate diner, click here.
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