Pictures That Are Worth a Thousand Calories
Some items that increase the restaurant's bottom line can have the same effect on yours, says William Poundstone, who analyzed restaurant marketing tricks in his book, Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It). He says pictures are powerful motivators, so photos on menus at chain restaurant and illustrations at more upscale places (often in the upper right-hand corner, where eyes automatically go first), as well as borders and frames, highlight the items the restaurant is eager to sell. People pay the most attention to whatever gets the most space on the menu, says Poundstone, so when you see three pages of appetizers, this sends the message, "Ordering extra food before your meal isn't excessive; it's the normal thing to do." And while tossing together inexpensive veggies in a side salad is one way to make them more profitable (salads involve relatively little labor), deep-frying them as appetizers is another. It involves just a few ingredients, is quick to prepare, and can be very hard for diners to resist.