HEALTHY LIVING

The Secret Psychology Of Restaurant Menus

If nothing tickles your tastebuds, don't be fooled into ordering apps.

10/23/2015 01:23 pm ET | Updated Oct 23, 2015

The most successful restaurants lure you in with top-notch tastes and an inviting atmosphere. But more subtly, they get inside your head to make you shell out and chow down. 

Modest touches like loud music, calculated interior decorating and a crank of the AC are just a few elements of trickery that can actually prompt you eat more. A restaurant's menu, too, is designed to get you salivating.

One strategy implemented on menus is a psychological ploy called "the paradox of choice." Many restaurants will limit your options for each food category, like appetizers and entrees, to a number in the single digits. The intent is to make you feel like you're in control, but not provide you with so many choices that you'll resort to something simple out of anxiety.  

When you break it all down, the restaurant menu is as complex as the periodic table. The infographic from restaurant consultant Aaron Allen below illustrates all of the minuscule psychological moves restauranteurs employ to get you eating -- and spending. 

Aaron Allen

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