googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Music and your Menu: How you are guided to your choice

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Music and your Menu: How you are guided to your choice

So you think you know what you want when you sit down at the table of the restaurant and pick up the menu?

Think again.

This article from The Guardian spells out exactly how your "free" choice is in fact guided one.

How are you guided by a menu? By the composition of the menu, price anchors, the music, the scanpath your eyes take over a two page menu, the optimum location of menu items, whether the prices are in a column (a bad thing for the restaurant) or scattered, the upper right hand corner of single page menus as the best location, what to put into bonus boxes, using two portion sizes to guide you to select the smaller ones, menu Siberias to minimize low-profit items, why high price restaurants avoid photos but low price ones thrive on them, and other things.

And that music? It might be deciding that wine you will choose:

Research has shown that classical music increases sales of expensive wines and overall spending in posh eateries, while French and German music increases sales of French and German wines, respectively (the diners are unaware of these influences). Slow music, and the scent of lavender, makes people spend longer in restaurants and pop music at 70-90dB will up the consumption of soft drinks. And, less surprisingly perhaps, in 1997 Edwards found that diners ate more at a breakfast buffet if the room smelled of grilled bacon, and less with the odour of boiled cabbage wafting around.

Scanpath of your eyes with a two-page menu
It's all relative, right? In his menu-deconstruction exercise, Poundstone refers to the £70 Le Balthazar seafood plate as a price anchor. "By putting high-profit items next to the extremely expensive anchor, they seem cheap by comparison." So, what the restaurant want you to get is the £43 Le Grand plate to the left of it. It's a similar story with wine. We'll invariably go for the second cheapest. Set menus, or "bundles", meanwhile, seem like good value and therefore give us an excuse to eat and spend more. Everyone's a winner.

Have fun.
And bask in your good choices.

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