Design and human behavior are like bread and butter; they are always tendered together. The menu card is like an aperitif of your brand, it is the first step of interaction with your customers and you do not want to spoil that! In fact, there is a separate genre of science called the menu engineering which helps you extract the largest benefits from your customer just by influencing their minds. And it is not rocket science, just a few propositions that you need to keep in mind before designing.

Combine the Colour
Select such a colour for your menu that goes with the persona of your brand. Study well the psychology of each shade and how it influences a person’s feelings. For instance, Red is an active colour and would probably make you feel even more hungry and that’s why big brands like McDonald’s and Burger King have dominant shades of red. The colour Green gives you a belief that the food is fresh and juicy while Orange gives your tummy an appetite. Yellow is a bright and cheerful colour which will help you grab a lot of attention.

The Golden Triangle of Positioning
Studies suggest that our eyes see the things in the center first, then at the top right corner and then at the top left. This intangible movement of eyes is called as the golden triangle. Restaurant menu engineers say that the most profitable dishes should be listed here, it does not necessarily have to be the most expensive ones, just the dishes that bring you the highest profit. So make sure you do your food cost management and list your dishes cleverly

Pricing and Profiting
Recipe costing involves a bunch of tactics that will definitely get you more table reservations for the next time. Firstly, always try to decimal up your menu price by ending with .95 or .75, for instance a dish costing 9.95 will make the customer feel it is cheaper even though it is just a matter of 5 cents, a left digit anchoring effect. This is known as ‘psychological pricing’, where prices are often expressed as “odd prices”, human mind perceives these as being lower than they actually are, tending to round to lower monetary unit. This pricing technique can in turn get you a lot more orders. Refrain from using currency sign before the food price. Just showing the digits influences the human mind into buying items even though they are expensive.

According to our subconscious scheming we tend to go through the first couple of dishes and then the last. Our mind effortlessly sweeps away everything in between. Hence, it is always advised to put your most expensive or profitable dishes in these brackets to fill your pockets. Try splitting up your dishes into two quantities of different portions. In this way the customer gets enticed and orders more. With smaller portions they think they got a good deal and fewer calories!

Consider adding phrases like ‘serves two’ or ‘couple’s treat’. According to the menu design engineers this is one of the most creative way to influence the customers. After all who likes to be stingy on their first date? And hence, these are the most profitable dishes with less quantity of resources. This could inevitably be your restaurant’s Point of Sale.

Box out a list of your chef made specials or in other words the most salable dishes from your cookbook. A customer usually prefers to order the food that he knows is best served there!Always try to put a few expensive dishes in your list, this makes the customer thinks he is getting a good deal in the rest of the items even though they are slightly pricey. So get your restaurant management skills out and start pricing your dishes skilfully.

Lastly, from listing point of view, abstain from throwing a dozen of dishes at your customer, this dazzles the human mind and creates confusion. Be tactful with your food platter and only offer 6 to 7 dishes in each category for your customer.

Emotional Equation and Nostalgia
Menu consultants suggests that adding sentimental terms like ‘sun-dried’, ‘grandma’s special’, ‘homestyle’, ‘traditional’ and so on gives the customer an emotional belonging to that particular dish and hence these are the ones with the most profit margin. Be a storyteller and allure your customers into buying the dish that you want them to savour the most. Try to hit them at a nice nostalgic spot.

Create a Focal point
Now this one is the graphical element that you need to decide while designing your menu card. Always try to keep one focal point, it could be a picture of your dish or a geometric shape, an over-the-board font or usage of too many boxes; literally just anything. This draws the attention of the consumer and makes them spend more time going through your menu.

So put on your thinking glasses on and transform that simple-list-of-dishes into a well-crafted and psychologically designed menu to attract more customers to your business. Menu card is that pawn which will help you set up your table in the food industry. Investing a few extra hours and spending a few buck extra will only fetch you a ton of profit in the end!