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30 Devious Ways Restaurants Trick Customers Into Spending More Money

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How much do you love having a nice meal in a restaurant on a scale from 5 to 10? If not ten, then probably a lot. Someone else cooks for you, serves you, and takes the dished away. Basically, your only job in a restaurant is to… eat! Normally, you have to pay for this service. Depending on the restaurant of your choice, you will pay more or less.

Somehow your mind is programmed to know that you must pay for what you get, right? However, what people tend to miss is that sometimes they pay even more without realizing so. Restaurants have their tricks to hack your wallet. Trust us, they will make you spend more. Read on to discover 30 methods that restaurants use every day to trick you into paying more.

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30. Menus Filled With Adjectives

Don’t let the grammar fool you. Restaurants know that words are powerful tools. There is a massive difference between saying ‘Buffalo wings’ and ‘juicy Buffalo wings.’

You have probably noticed that the menus are much longer now when it comes to the menu description. Regular food will be described in ways to make you drool.

29. They Avoid Dollar Signs

Avoiding the dollar sign on restaurant menus is one of the latest hacks. Restaurants know that the majority of their customers are eating on a budget, so they will avoid using this symbol.

This is a great way not to remind people that they are spending more money. So, without the visible sign, people are willing to pay more.

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28. Philosophy Behind The .99 Cents

Restaurants want you to spend more. Therefore, they will price items so you will buy more every time. Do you know those items ending in .99 cents? They may seem cheaper, but they are not.

This is just a psychological trick that works. Some restaurants will even price items to .75 or .82 because it seems less expensive to customers.

27. They Will Always Use Family Names

Which sounds more familiar: ‘spaghetti dinner’ or ‘Grandma’s homemade spaghetti’? That’s right, you will probably prefer the second one. Sounds more lovable and familiar, right?

Restaurants know this so they will whenever possible, give menu items family names. Everything is more nostalgic when it has a reminder to mom’s or grandmother’s cooking.

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26. Authentic-Sounding Names

Everyone will notice an unusual and original name. Naturally, restaurants are well-aware of this, so they will always give their menu’s authentic-sounding names.

This is a common practice in Italian restaurants, moreover, in chains like Olive Garden. Calling soups and salads zuppe e insalate sounds better, right?

25. They Team Up With Big Brands

People are more likely to spend more if they hear popular brands. So, restaurants team up with big brands. Why? It’s better for business, and it sounds more legitimate.

For example, this is the reason why TGI Fridays sell so much of their Jack Daniels BBQ sauce burgers and ribs.

24. Expensive Items Always Go Together

Expensive items will go hand on hand. Restaurants always place costly items close to costly items, or even more expensive items.

This way, you will choose the cheaper option thinking that you got a bargain. But guess what: you’re still spending more than you would like to.

23. Special Items Are Not Always Special

Certain items are sometimes highlighted jus to make them seem more special than they are actually. The truth is that nothing about those offers is special.

Special offers and identical to non-special offers. So, if you go for a particular option, bear in mind that you will probably just purchase the more expensive product.

22. Don’t Fall Into The Second-Least Expensive Wine

This may surprise you, but the second-least expensive wine will be priced higher than it’s worth. Although this may sound strange, the truth is that people don’t want to buy the least expensive wine, which makes them feel sad.

However, they will gladly buy it if it’s named the second-least expensive wine — that way, you are spending more, while you naively believe that you are spending less.

21. You Can’t Compare Prices

Menus are so designed that you can’t compare prices easily. The reason for this is that restaurants want you to spend more. If you can compare prices, you could choose the cheaper option.

So, they will hide prices, use hard-to-read fonts, or just place items on different pages.

20. They Use The Right Tactics

Restaurants mastered the ‘right next door’ tactic. This trick has a direct connection to anchor items. Usually, it’s just a little less expensive than those items and just so happens to be placed right next to them.

So, when you crave for something, but you can’t afford it, you go right next door.

19. Buzzwords Are Everything

With the right words, everything sounds better. Therefore, healthy restaurants tend to call items like beets – beet roots.

However, this is ridiculous, since everyone knows already that beets are roots. Nothing special about ‘beet roots’ but the higher price.

18. Menu Item Placement Matters

Numerous studies show that people tend to look at the top-right side of a menu first. Naturally, as a response, they will place their most expensive items here. They will be supported with high-quality photos in some cases to make drool immediately.

Furthermore, they will place their the least expensive items on the bottom-left and make it harder to read with small fonts.

17. Always Check Photo Boxes

If you are looking for regular items, you may find them in photo boxes. Restaurants put their best to describe the dish as best as possible.

However, they know that the photo will decide if you are about to order the dish or not. Adding a mouthwatering photo can speed up the sale.

16. They Keep Portion Sizes Under Control

Restaurants always keep their portion sizes vague for a half-soup deal and half-sandwich. This technique is known as bracketing. In general, the half sizes are still more expensive, so you will always pay more even though you are getting less.

Moreover, they will never tell you the full size, so you have no idea who much food you are ordering.

15. They Know What You’re Going To Buy

Although this may sound unusual, the truth is that restaurants will always know what you want. In most cases, people will choose the first item or one of the top five.

If you pay close attention, you will notice that things from the top are always available. So, they don’t spy on you. They just know customers’ habits.

14. Servers Are Motivated To Sell

To make as many sales as possible, both owners and management will motivate servers. Moreover, this is a custom practice when specific items need to be sell in a short period.

If a fish is about to go wrong, the whole menu will be served around fish, or servers will offer you that option. In some restaurants, the server who sells the most is rewarded with cash.

13. Portion Sizes

Restaurants usually offer foods in two portion sizes, and this approach is part of bracketing. The truth is that customers have no idea how big or small their portions are.

Naturally, they just assume that it’s the best value price because it costs less.

12. Don’t Try All Samples

Many restaurants have special features such as try all samples or even fixed menus. This way, they are helping people choose faster. Moreover, it’s far more effective for restaurants to limit their selection.

It turns out that the optimum number of menu items is six items per category in a fast-food joint, and ten in fine dining places.

11. Music Inspires People To Spend More

Fine dining establishments will always play classical music. This is a common trick to inspire people to spend more. This music relaxes you and makes you feel more affluent.

If you want to spend less, think about places with pop music. According to numerous research, pop music will always cause people to pay 10% less on their meals.

10. Lighting

You may not think about light when dining, but it affects your wallet. Restaurants with dimmer lighting will play soft music and lure you into spending as much time as possible inside eating.

On the other hand, restaurants with the brighter lighting will you blast up-tempo music next to aggressive light to get you out of the door fast.

9. Dishes Sell

From the moment you step into the restaurant, you are being manipulated. There is food everywhere, and restaurants arrange the dishes to catch your attention.

Dishes are especially lavish in a fine-dining restaurant. In more casual establishments, steaks or fajitas are served on sizzling platters that serve the same purpose.

8. Gift Cards

Gift cards are not exclusively reserved only for holiday season. Almost every business offers an option for gift cards.

However, since they are using natural resources to be printed, restaurants are offering a fast solution. So, you can make a reservation online a way with a credit card in advance.

7. Wait at the Bar

Waiting at the bar until your table is ready is a common scenario. Moreover, this is such a familiar action that you don’t see the red flags around it.

This is a good way for the restaurant to spend more while waiting to pay more at the dinner table. You will drink at least two drinks at the bar table. Do the math.

6. Visible Desserts

Some restaurants are better with desserts than others. Naturally, they will show you just how dessert-savvy they. Therefore, in a way, they will guilt you until you order some.

Don’t forget: There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself with a tasty dessert here and there.

5. Heavy-Handed Pouring

If you have a bottle on your table, whether it’s sparkling water or wine, keep an eye on your waiter’s attentiveness. Having an excellent service is a plus.

However, if the server keeps pouring as quickly as possible, you will have to order another bottle sooner than planned. That way, you will spend more. The same applies to cocktails or beer.

4. The Automatic Perk

If you are satisfied with the service, you will want to tip the staff. Therefore, some restaurants do regular practice of including a tip in the check total. This is also a great way to guarantee the tip from sometimes demanding customers.

Still, if the tip is communicated and you have cash on you, you may find yourself spending more than initially planned. Always read the menu and the chk carefully. If you are traveling, research the tipping etiquette.

3. Brunch

Brunch is the perfect example when it comes to maximizing low-cost ingredients. After you finish your brunch, check the bill and ask yourself if this dish is worth the money.

Brunch is about the experience and gathering people. Moreover, its the perfect meal to justify drinking some mimosas.

2. Baked Fresh

Maybe you just have decided not to eat bread this week. Moreover, you planned to order the restaurant’s best salad. However, then you saw that sign ‘baked fresh,’ and you took a slice of everything.

Some terms will always push you to buy, such as ‘baked fresh’ or ‘from scratch.’

1. The Trendy Ingredient

Some ingredients are more popular than others. Just a few years ago, quinoa, kale, and avocado were unknown or used in moderation.

Nowadays, everything is shaped around these ingredients. So, when you are ordering food with trendy elements, you will pay more.

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