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20 Ways Restaurants Get You to Eat More Food and Spend More Money

Eat This, Not That! Logo By Lauren Gray of Eat This, Not That! | Slide 1 of 21: If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you probably feel like you know too much about dining out. Once you’ve pulled back the curtain, it’s hard to unsee all the clever tactics restaurants and servers use to get you to fork over more of your hard-earned money. But for those who haven’t had a server, hostess, manager, or other food service industry job, those secrets remain a mystery. You know you tend to leave restaurants with your stomach fuller and wallet emptier than when you came in, but there’s so much more to learn when it comes to those sneaky restaurant tricks.By culling through insider information from servers and restaurant managers, along with some scientific studies, we’ve put together a list of all the ways restaurants get you to order more items—and pricier ones at that. As you’ll soon see, so much of it comes down to psychology.According to an Atlanta-based top-earning waiter and restaurant manager, who asked to remain anonymous, servers begin sizing you up the moment you sit down in their section. “The goal is to be nuanced—for the result to be the guest believing they made a decision that they were unknowingly guided towards,” said our industry insider with 15 years of experience. “The goal isn’t to get someone to buy something that they don’t want. The goal is to be able to identify what people do want, and then use psychology to guide them towards making that decision themselves.”Many restaurants help the process along considerably, sending you subconscious cues via tricky menu design, strategic music choices, and “decoy pricing.” As you read on, you’ll be shocked to learn all the sneaky restaurant tricks that get you to both eat and spend more.

20 Ways Restaurants Get You to Eat More Food and Spend More Money

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you probably feel like you know too much about dining out. Once you’ve pulled back the curtain, it’s hard to unsee all the clever tactics restaurants and servers use to get you to fork over more of your hard-earned money. But for those who haven’t had a server, hostess, manager, or other food service industry job, those secrets remain a mystery. You know you tend to leave restaurants with your stomach fuller and wallet emptier than when you came in, but there’s so much more to learn when it comes to those sneaky restaurant tricks.

By culling through insider information from servers and restaurant managers, along with some scientific studies, we’ve put together a list of all the ways restaurants get you to order more items—and pricier ones at that. As you’ll soon see, so much of it comes down to psychology.

According to an Atlanta-based top-earning waiter and restaurant manager, who asked to remain anonymous, servers begin sizing you up the moment you sit down in their section. “The goal is to be nuanced—for the result to be the guest believing they made a decision that they were unknowingly guided towards,” said our industry insider with 15 years of experience. “The goal isn’t to get someone to buy something that they don’t want. The goal is to be able to identify what people do want, and then use psychology to guide them towards making that decision themselves.”

Many restaurants help the process along considerably, sending you subconscious cues via tricky menu design, strategic music choices, and “decoy pricing.” As you read on, you’ll be shocked to learn all the sneaky restaurant tricks that get you to both eat and spend more. Click through the slideshow above.

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