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The Psychology Of Restaurant Menu Design

When it comes to things like packages, placement, and menus, restaurant marketing and customer psychology work hand in hand. Menus are your restaurant’s silent salespeople, and the way you arrange meals, price them, and employ colours and graphics can encourage customers to order more. So it’s very likely that at least some aspects in every design were picked purposefully to make you feel a certain way or take a specific action.

You put a menu into the hands of every guest who visits your restaurant, every time they come in. That menu should be a workhorse for you.

Says Chicago Research Firm,  FOOD GENIUS.

While there are numerous restaurant menu design tricks, there aren’t many people talking about who the tricks work on and how menu engineering might benefit your business. This is when the customer’s point of view in the game is introduced.

Leveraging the psychology of menu design can increase sales without having to change a single menu item.

Some of the psychological tricks are:


Color Confusion Image. Each colour stimulates a feeling.

The colours on a menu can influence our choices. Somethings are necessary to be paid attention when you are planning the colours of your menu.

1. Green colour makes them think of the fresh food coming straight from the garden.

2. Orange is a light colour filled with delicious qualities. It stimulates the appetite. It is associated with healthy food.

3. Yellow grabs the attention and stimulates the appetite. It is a cheerful colour that is utilised to attract the attention of the diner.

4. Red is an action colour that is used to persuade us to purchase the meals with the highest profit margins.

5. Blue is a soothing colour. It creates a calming effect. But if you want your customers to feel hungry, feed and go then blue is a bad option.

6. Yellow and red are said to be the best combination for a menu.


Golden Triangle- key focus

When we look at a menu, our eyes usually move to the middle, then moves to the top right corner, and eventually to the top left corner. Menu developers have called this the “Golden Triangle,” and these three areas are where the highest profit margin foods can be found.

3. Subconscious Scheming

Because customers tend to order the top two items on each menu area more frequently, restaurant owners place their highest-margin dishes i.e., Stars and Puzzles first on the menu. However, because some people prefer the bottom option, the third most cost-effective meal at a restaurant is frequently the last item in each section.

4. Decoy Dishes

Some restaurants try to trick their customers by putting a slightly more expensive item at the top of the menu. All of the other dishes appear to offer more bang for your buck as a result of this. It also makes us feel like we’re getting the best price, which encourages us to spend more.

5. Covert Currency

The most bothersome aspect about dining out is the cost of the meal. To divert the attention from the price of the items you’re ordering, some clever restaurateurs remove the currency indications off the menu. Prices written out in letters is a tactic that can encourage customers to spend up to 30% more.

Restaurant menu- Pricing psychology

Here are some tricks of menu pricing are:

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1. End you price with .95 instead of .00, this makes your dish look cheap. E.g. 9.95 instead of 10.00. Also, make sure not to use .99. It decreases your standard.

2. Serve food in two portions. This strategy is called bracketing. Serve small amount for less price and a large amount for more price. Customer will purchase small amount for less price which will provide you profit.

3. Keep in mind the average income of the folks in your area and plan your dishes and its prices accordingly.

6. Controlled Costing

Diners consider the price of each meal, no matter how appealing it seems. Restaurants can take advantage of this; for example, a $10.95 dinner makes customer feel like they’re getting a fantastic deal. The usage of round numbers in high-end enterprises lends an image of sleek sophistication.


A huge menu might seem like a good idea, but being forced to choose between hundreds of options can be create a burden of choice. Smart restaurant owners list just seven dishes in each section – enough to make customers feel like they have plenty of options to choose from without overwhelming them.

8. Feeding the Imagination

It is very important to pay close attention to how meal description is written. Restaurants pay special attention to the wording of each meal description. Superlative statements, such as “the best burger in the world,” can’t possibly be genuine, and diners will dismiss them. Enticing terms, such as “line-caught” or “sun-dried,” will spark interest and make their taste receptors tingle.

9. A Blast from the Past

Nostalgia is a strong emotion. A well-crafted description may empower nearly any dish with an alluring emotional resonance.

10. Storytelling

To fit in with the overall layout of the page, most menu items will have descriptions that are similar in length. Something that doesn’t fit the pattern will stand out and draw our attention. Because of this, restaurant managers write longer descriptions for the foods they want to sell more of – those with the largest profit margins.

11. Empower the Customer

Restaurant wine lists, especially in high-end establishments, can be as long as a novel. This is a planned marketing strategy aimed at giving guests the power to make a decision. Customers are more likely to choose an item if there is more information about it.

12. Negative Space

When a menu is densely packed with text, the eye is automatically drawn to any empty spots. Menu designers take advantage of this by placing the items with the highest profit margins in their own segment, separate from the rest of the descriptions.

13. Material world

The menu’s content is utilised to convey the brand’s image. High-end restaurants employ leather and thick paper to indicate that their cuisine is of similar quality (and so worth ordering), whilst a less expensive restaurant might use vinyl to communicate a menu that offers good value for the money.

14. Glossaries

On the menu, look for a glossary section. If you know how the premium steak tartare is prepared, you’re more likely to order it (and produced). This is why some restaurants identify their fancy-sounding wines by number, so customers aren’t frightened by unusual names.

The psychology of menu engineering is backed by science and countless hours of research. Use this Psychology of Menu Design Checklist to develop the ideal menu for your restaurant that not only entices consumers to order more, but also generates a lot of revenue.

Restaurant Menu Templates

Simran Jain
Simran Jain
Hi there! I’m Simran Jain, and I am so happy that you are here. My favorite thing in life is time spent in the kitchen. And all the better with being able to share my experience with y'all. I love everything related to food and I am always writing or cooking.


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