Restaurant Menus Remove Dollar Signs So You’ll Spend More $

When you read a restaurant menu, you might not notice that there are no dollar signs. Why is that? Removing currency symbols severs the connection between restaurant purchases and real money in your mind, and makes you spend more. No, really.

This is just one of many tricks that restaurants play to help customers along in racking up bigger checks that Business Insider recently rounded up. Selling you food is the entire point of restaurants, so we don’t begrudge them that, but it’s still good to be aware of these tricks and how they work. Here are a few interesting ones.

Back to those dollar signs: the researchers found that even spelling out the price (“Eighteen dollars”) leads diners to spend more, because we connect dollar signs on price tags with real money.

Another tactic is to put very expensive items on the menu, even if the kitchen rarely ever serves them. One three-figure price on a meal suddenly makes the rest of the menu look downright cheap. Even if it isn’t.

Four cents can make a big difference: Prices that end in .95 are seen as friendlier and somehow classier than prices ending in .99, which people associate with “value” and discounts.

Naming a dish after a relative, even an imaginary one, draws diners to that item on the menu. They are more likely to purchase “Grandpa Northrup’s Bean Soup” than just “bean soup.”

11 Psychological Tricks Restaurants Use To Make You Spend More Money [Business Insider]
$ or Dollars: Effects of Menu-price Formats on Restaurant Checks [Cornell University]

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