Profit driven: The psychology of menu design

The New York Times recently talked to a few top-notch restaurant menu designers about ways to increase the bottom line. Turns out, designing restaurant menus is as much science as it is beautiful colors, and the wrong choices can kill profit margins just as sure as the right ones can boost it.  Some highlights:


  • good descriptions increase sales
  • so do good photos
  • reds and blues make people hungry
  • brand names also boost sales, compared to generic products


  • grays and purples make people feel satiated
  • the dollar sign is bad; it re-enforces “the pain of paying”
  • .99 infers value, but not quality; .95 is better

In a tight economy, even a small increase in revenue can have a significant impact on a business, and the points about pricing resonate well beyond restaurant menus. The theory speaks directly to customer satisfaction, something no business can afford to overlook, even in the best of times.

READ IT: Using Menu Psychology to Entice Diners