Restaurants Across New York City Are Employing The Menu Gambit, Psychological Tricks Designed To Get Patrons To Spend More On High-Priced Items

Restaurants Employing Tricks To Get You To Spend More

Tabla Restaurant

Merry Christmas! While New Yorkers are opening presents, strolling down Fifth Avenue to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and the department store windows, and generally displaying holiday-ish behavior, we’ll offer our holiday gift to you--a little insight into the minds of those trying to get you to spend money for meals out.

Those savvy enough to plan ahead can think about facing the New Year and a new trend in restaurants: The menu gambit.

Menu Tricks To Get You To Spend More

It is no shock that New Yorkers are eating out less frequently and spending less money when they do. In order to tweak this trend, restaurants have taken all sorts of steps, from re-pricing items to offering specials and tinkering with their service.

In order to part you from your hard-earned dollars, restaurants have pulled out the big guns to entice you to order more, differently, and most importantly, more expensively. The most recent approach is to target the menu itself.

Omitting Dollar Signs And Adding Nostalgia

Take New York’s Tabla, for instance. As reported in a recent "New York Times" article, you can see the thinking at work. No dollar signs appear next to the prices, and you won't see a zero as part of a price, or the name of the chef’s mother is heavily invoked beside a dish.

Diners will also notice such tricks at New York restaurants as using more descriptive language for higher-priced items or setting them off somehow. Using brand names (made with Aunt Mollie’s flour!) and nostalgic names (made with Aunt Mollie’s chocolate!) are also ploys. (The trend also applies to national chains and restaurants in other cities as well.) So Merry Christmas--and may your future eating out be merry, bright--and aware of the tug on your wallet strings.