The Increasing Consumption Effect Of Restaurant Menus And Wait Staff

1300 words - 5 pages

In an age where people all over the world are spending more of their income on dining outside of the home everywhere from fast food establishments to upscale expensive restaurants, the food choices offered and their presentation are becoming more and more important to the profits of the industry and the health of its patrons. The menu and waitstaff of a restaurant have a crucial effect on the choices made by consumers in both the items that they choose to buy and the resulting benefits or consequences to the health of their customers. A large element of psychology is present in how these menus are created based on colors, pictures, effects, descriptions, and even product placement within a menu – all of these factors tell consumers what the management wants them to buy and can either increase profit or drive it down based on specific choices of food presentation. Often times the offered selection provides little to no nutritional value and high amounts of fat and calories in terms of the food pyramid, more notably in fast food joints. To counter this, recent healthy alternatives have become offered which allow for greater fulfillment of the food pyramid's recommendations and an overall healthier diet.The menu helps direct customers in the right direction, and it is ultimately the servers who close the deal. Many offered restaurant choices include exclusive deals, daily or weekly specials, and "create your own" meal deals (for example, pick any three appetizers for a flat price) that make the consumer feel in control and that they are getting food their way. In reality, they end up eating and paying more for food than they would have in absence of such a deal. Waiters present the "soup of the day" or other such specials that make diners consider a menu choice they may have previously neglected. Signature dishes and key choices are illuminated through pictures which makes food appear thicker, heartier, and overall more appealing in a presentable light. For example, a featured steak on the menu of T.G.I. Friday's called "New York Strip with Wild Mushroom Butter Sauce" features a picture of a finely cooked steak dripping in a savory sauce that only a vegan could refuse. Pictures and deals are far from the only ways a consumer is enticed to purchase certain menu items.Boxing, borders, shading, and specific fonts with larger sizes all highlight certain menu items that are previously chosen and have been proven to bring in greater profits for the establishment. Certain colors have underlying psychological associations that can make you crave and want to buy something. Descriptions of these meals, using phrases such as "caramelized" and "juicy fire-grilled" and "hand-battered" give food items an added flavor to the customer. Placement also plays a crucial role within the list of options – profit maximizing foods are more toward the center as I discovered at T.G.I. Friday's - if they want to push something on you they very well can through such...

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