Menu Psychology

eating out menu new foods psychology Feb 22, 2020


I was listening to a podcast the other day and someone was talking about how she went through a period in her life when she "wanted SO MUCH to look at more than just the left side of the menu." 

She said it with such longing...

"The left side of the menu"

as if the right side was better
but not allowed.

as if the menu's right side
was unattainable.

I heard a murmur of assent from the podcast host; they clearly understood.

But I didn't. 

So I looked it up. 


There's this whole industry built around menu psychology and restaurant design. 

Restaurants are manipulating our brains

on purpose 

To get us to buy more than we otherwise would.

It's fascinating. 

I now know:

Menus are set up very specifically.

The left side is for appetizers, starters, etc. The right side is for the more expensive and entree-type selections. 

The most expensive thing is carefully placed.


Because the upper right hand corner of a menu is where the eye is drawn to first.

So....if you see the most expensive thing first...the other items look reasonably priced.

Like I said


There's way more, too. Like why menus now tend to have a whole paragraph about how their ingredients are sourced. And the rationale behind price formatting. It's something you could really nerd out on.

Have fun - 


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