I came across this very interesting article on the New York Times today. The article is a bit longish but it describes how the combination of prices, adjectives, fonts, type sizes, ink colors and placement on the page can coax diners into spending a little more money.
Quoting the article:
Some restaurants use what researchers call decoys. For example, they may place a really expensive item at the top of the menu, so that other dishes look more reasonably priced; research shows that diners tend to order neither the most nor least expensive items, drifting toward the middle. Or restaurants might play up a profitable dish by using more appetizing adjectives and placing it next to a less profitable dish with less description so the contrast entices the diner to order the profitable dish.
In another section of the article it also pointed out:
A study published by researchers at Cornell found that when the prices were given with dollar signs, customers spent less than when no dollar signs appeared. The study also found that customers spent significantly more when the price was … listed in numerals without dollar signs, as in “14.00” or “14,” than when it included the word “dollar,” as in “Fourteen dollars.” Apparently even the word “dollar” can trigger what is known as “the pain of paying.”
He also says that if a restaurant wants to use prices that include cents, like $9.99 or $9.95 (without the dollar sign, of course), he strongly recommends .95, which he said “is a friendlier price,” whereas .99 is “cornier.” On the other hand, 10, or “10 dollars,” has attitude, which is what restaurants using those price formats are selling.
That reminded me the first time I read Cactus Club’s menu, it really jumped at me that they did not have the $-sign on the menu and the price are straight integer numbers without cents.
Click here for the full article. Very interesting read. Enjoy!