‘Psychological’ tricks restaurants use make guests spend more – ‘don’t fall for this’

Couple stunned by potential savings

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Going out to eat is a lovely way to treat yourself to a little luxury. But, these occasions can be more expensive than need be due to a few sneaky tricks by food providers. Personal Finance expert Andrea Knowles shared five ways restaurants catch their customers out.

In life it pays to be early, but perhaps at a restaurant this is not the case.

Andrea stated: “If your table isn’t ready, chances are that the front of the house will lead to the bar to buy a drink whilst you wait.”

As well as increasing the price of your total bill, getting a little “tipsy” before a meal could encourage lowered inhibitions and bigger spending than expected.

So what’s the money saving solution, according to the expert?

“Try to arrive at your restaurant on time so you don’t fall for this trick.”

Andrea’s next tip was drink related as well.

“Waiters and waitresses request your drink order as soon as you sit to entice you to make a more expensive decision.”

By the time a restaurant guest has plopped themselves into their seat and taken their coat off, they probably haven’t had time to have a thorough look at the drinks on offer – or their prices.

Asked to order on the spur of a moment, a dinner guest might “order a larger glass of wine or your favourite cocktail – both of which could be more expensive than you had anticipated”.

And when selecting a bottle of wine, diners should be mindful of one particular “psychological” trick, according to the expert.

“It’s a well-known fact that many people tend to order the second cheapest wine so that they don’t seem ‘stingy’, however, as this is such a common occurrence, many restaurants actually hike the price up.

“Next time you go to a restaurant, look at the difference in price between the cheapest and second-cheapest wine.”

But it’s not just these drink tricks that keep customers spending.

Restaurants also rely on a couple of food menu hacks.

Andrea said: “You may not notice this nifty trick, but many restaurant menus omit the great British pound sign when listing prices.

“This isn’t a design feature but instead, a psychological decision as studies show that removing the sign disassociates the money from numbers, so you don’t feel like you’re spending money.”

Finally, customers may be encouraged to spend money with the lesser of two evils effect.

She explained: “The menu will highlight an expensive meal so other options seem like a bargain.”

For example, the extortionate ‘surf and turf’ option may be boxed off from the rest of the menu, highlighting its hefty price tag.

The befits of this is two-fold.

“Not only does this encourage big spenders to treat themselves to the ‘best’ item on the menu it also has the opposing effect, too.

“The sheer size and price of this item make everything else look reasonable in comparison, so diners feel like they are getting a bargain if they pick something else.”

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