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The Mastery of Menus January 22, 2010

Posted by bitchwantstea in Food.
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We love our local restaurant.  The food is great, the staff are friendly, and they give out free After Eight mints when we order a coffee.  But if you think your restaurant is all sweetness and light – think again.  Priceless: the Myth of Fair Value by William Poundstone unveils the scary amount of thinking and planning that goes behind the layout and presentation of your humble menu.  The Guardian explains:

“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), ploughhorses (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.”

Everything about how your menu is presented – from the choice of illustration, food ordering, column layouts and bracketing – is designed to maximize profits.  And while a business trying to build profit is hardly front page news, it’s the sheer amount of detail that goes into it that surprises us.

For a full breakdown of how it works, click here.  Kinda sticks in your throat, doesn’t it?

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