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How Restaurant's Trick You Into Buying Over-Priced Food

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by The Scarlet Pimp, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    If you like to hit the restaurants (and who doesn't???) keep this in mind before you open your wallet. Some very important lessons in psych here, folks. Use it in your marketing if you can. :D


    How restaurants entice us into choosing expensive meals

    Menus are not simply a list of dishes. Rather, they are a cunning marketing ploy

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jan/21/menus-cunning-marketing-ploys

    It comes as no surprise that the main goal of menu design is to draw your attention to profitable (as in "overpriced") items. But the detailed plotting that goes on is fascinating.

    Industry convention divides dishes into "stars" (popular items for which customers are willing to pay a good deal more than they cost to make), puzzles (high-profit but unpopular dishes), plough-horses (popular yet unprofitable) and dogs (unpopular and unprofitable).

    And restaurant consultants are often employed to transform puzzles into stars, nudge customers away from ploughhorses, and convince everyone that the prices are reasonable.

    This menu, for New York restaurant Balthazar, uses some classic tricks of menu psychology.

    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images...64009416000/A-menu-for-New-York-reata-001.jpg

    http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Lifeandhealth/pdf/2010/01/20/Balthazarmenu.pdf

    1 The upper right-hand corner

    The typical diner will look here first, and Balthazar isn't taking any chances, with a picture drawing the eye to the most expensive dishes. Photographs are among the most powerful motivators but, extensively used in low-end chain restaurants, they are considered death to any place with foodie pretensions. Balthazar's tasteful drawing is about as far as a restaurant of this calibre can go.

    2 The price anchor

    Menu consultants use this prime space for high-profit items, and price "anchors", in this case the Le Balthazar seafood plate, for $115 (£70). By putting high-profit items next to the extremely expensive anchor, they seem cheap by comparison. So, the triple-figure price here is probably to induce customers to go for the $70 (£43) Le Grand plate to the left of it, or the more modest seafood orders below it.

    3 Bonus boxes

    A box around a menu item draws the diner's attention. Is $16 (£10) such an indulgence for a shrimp cocktail, they might think? Not next to a $115 extravaganza! A really fancy box is better yet. The cheeses at the bottom are probably high-profit "puzzles".

    4 Columns are a no-no

    The most common menu mistake is listing prices in a column, as here, because it encourages diners to choose from the cheapest items, instead of choosing what they want and then deciding if it's worth it. But at least the Balthazar menu doesn't use leader dots, which draw the diners' gaze away from the dishes to the prices.

    5 Menu Siberia

    Unprofitable items, such as the easy-to-miss burgers, can be "minimised" by exiling them to inconspicuous positions – menu Siberia.

    6 Bracketing

    This is a common trick whereby items are offered in two sizes. The customer isn't told how much smaller the small portion is, but no matter. They assume the smaller size is attractively priced because, um, it costs less. In reality, this is the size that the restaurant wanted to sell all along, and the "lower price" is what they intended to charge for it.

    Extracted from Priceless: the Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) by William Poundstone.
     
  2. otherwhrl

    otherwhrl BANNED BANNED

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    Very interesting. (but not surprising at all...) It seems humans have been trying to "out smart" each other since "the beginning".

    As much as I enjoy dining and eating great, food I will definitely keep this in mind.Much more, the same concepts can be applied to our own marketing ventures.

    Interesting post.
     
  3. c0ntenth|ef

    c0ntenth|ef Power Member

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    interesting facts i am glad i have the habit of throughly studying any menu first but i usually have some stuff that i like usually for example seafood section etc.. then i look at the prices as second sometimes then i think about which one is the better bargain if i dont find something that i like particularly.
     
  4. rob19028

    rob19028 Registered Member

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    This surprises you? Buy a citipass book in your town and use the buy one meal get one free coupons every time you eat out. You will be getting a desent deal. Drink water (its free) and do not skimp on the tip - ie. tip the full amount unless your waitress sucks. And never sit in a section with a waitor. The fattest waitress is still better than a waitor.
     
  5. andre09

    andre09 Junior Member

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    TSP you are like my online news source. You always find wierd/interesting stuff.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. tonlilaz

    tonlilaz Executive VIP Premium Member

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    oh trust me.....i analyze ever inch of a menu....not because of price..i am just picky as to what i eat.

    the biggest place they get you is with the kiddie meals. Because for most children, you can share a portion w/your kid and still have enough for you and 3 other people.

    they also get you with the drinks.....soda is so bad for you....so, i usually just get water w/lemon when i go eat....i hate tap water....and lemon enhances the flavor of tap water
     
  7. tacopalypse

    tacopalypse Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    so if i put a very expensive affiliate product right next to my adsense block, would that increase my ctr? ...worth a shot :)

    the great thing about restaurants is they have a 99% conversion rate. everyone that walks through the door is gonna buy something. if only there was some way to do that with a website..
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
  8. penaakul

    penaakul Regular Member

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    it's called re-framing. it's a psychological tactic that has been used by all top marketers who sold/sell high price tickets. it's definitely worth to learn it but not that easy to grasp the concept.
     
  9. c0ntenth|ef

    c0ntenth|ef Power Member

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    another trick i have figured many places do they serve cheap food but the prices for their drinks are expensive and people usually have to drink something with their meal so that makes up for the cheap price of the food.
     
  10. gts6

    gts6 Executive VIP

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    i usually know what im in the mood to eat before i even walk into a restaraunt, i only use the menu to make sure they serve what i want :)

    ive noticed one way some places try to rip you off is to try to pass a hunk of london broil meat onto you when you order a filet mignon. ive had it happen a few times, but you really cant win the argument with the waiter because i cant prove it, its only an assumption, and i usually just really want to eat and am starving by that point lol
     
  11. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    This demonstrates one way to sell high-ticket items -- show something else that costs even more, and your products will look like a bargain by comparison. Good for affiliate sites... :D
     
  12. penaakul

    penaakul Regular Member

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    exactly :)
    actually, that's the basic. there are more than that :p
     
  13. Entrepreneur

    Entrepreneur Regular Member

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    Cialdini raises many points in explaining how restaurants or at least waiters extract money from you, which much of this seems to be based on. Most of that above is simply employing the contrast principle, when the reciprocity principle should also be used and is equally as affective.
     
  14. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    Interesting points... However, since I started making so much money online I honestly rarely look at prices any more... When the waitress asks me if I want a Cesar salad or just with Cesar dressing I often say "I don't care" which ever you want to get me.

    Buying the most expensive things on the menu simply just doesn't matter to me anymore. When I go out to eat I like to enjoy my time. The money is not as important as enjoying the company of the people whom I'm with.

    I don't care to brag and i'm not trying to because, I'm sure there are people on BHW making far more than I am but, the overall point of my statement is that the rules don't apply to everyone. People like me simply get what they want irregardless of placement, text, or positioning.