Encourage Greater Spending on the Menu

Apr 26, 2018

Every detail of an operation influences patrons’ perceptions, and with the right approach, operators can lead customers to pay more. Creating the appropriate ambiance is one aspect of this process, setting the right tone through music, place settings, furniture and other design choices.

An even more important tool for boosting business is the menu, as it helps diners decide what and how much to order. Here are some ways to develop yours to set yourself up for success.

  • Patrons read restaurant menus for an average of 109 seconds, which doesn’t give you much time to grab their attention. Use trending terms—such as “local,” “all-natural” and “house-made” descriptors—to draw them in and add appeal.
  • Be as specific and transparent as possible when describing your dishes. Today’s diners want to know more than what your ingredients are—they want to know where they came from, how you prepared them and how they’ll taste.
  • If there’s a compelling origin story for a recipe, share it on the menu. Particularly when these anecdotes involve family members, there’s an emotional tie that can resonate with guests.
  • Mention brand names when a prominent ingredient comes from a well-known, trusted brand. This can improve customer confidence in the value and quality of your offerings—61% of consumers we surveyed said they’d be more likely to order a turkey dish if it were branded Butterball.
  • Set and list your prices deliberately. Putting amounts without dollar signs, placing the higher-ticket items toward the top and giving options for portion size can lessen the focus on cost and make it seem that the less-expensive fare is more affordable, even if the profit margin is actually higher.

How have you used these or other strategies in your operation? Chime in on Facebook and LinkedIn, and visit our Tips page to get other helpful insights.


Noyes, Jesse. These Psychological Menu Tricks Keep Customers Coming Back to Your Restaurant, Modern Restaurant Management, January 2018.

Zhang, Maggie. 11 Psychological Tricks Restaurants Use To Make You Spend More Money, Business Insider, July 2014.

Webster, Maeve. Minding the Menu, Flavor & The Menu, July 2017.

Proprietary Consumer Research, Butterball, 2017.