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9 Dirty Tactics Restaurants Use to Make You Pay More


We usually go out to eat with friends and family, to have fun and chill, that’s why we lower our guard when dining at a restaurant. But we must always be vigilant to save our hard-earned money. Some of the tricks you’re about to see are sort of in the “duh, of course” category, yet they don’t bother us that much most of the time, while others are just pure evil.


Here are 9 dirty tactics restaurants use to suck more cash out of your wallet!



1. Portion sizes matter!
If you can’t choose between a small and big size of anything, rest assured that the bigger size is always better. Small sizes are often overpriced to compensate for the used products.



2. The room lighting
You’ll never see a fancy restaurant light up all their bulbs to the max, because guess what, the dimmer the light, the slower you eat. The slower you eat, the longer you stay. And the longer you stay the more prone you are to order more stuff. That’s just straight up science facts.

3. Expensive ingredients are used but not really
The more expensive the stuff is in the menu, the less of it you will see on your plate. We’re talking things like truffles, berries, and nuts, which can make any expensive dish look great, but the chef will always use the least amount of them possible.

4. Secluded/blocked off tables
It’s simple psychology: we do not want other people to see what we’re eating, and we don’t want to see what they’re munching on. That’s why restaurants have these cozy corner or somewhat secluded spots, where people can order whatever they want without being judged. This also means you’ll likely take longer to enjoy your meal, stay longer, and order more.



5. Strange dish names
Here’s one of the biggest lies you’ll find in a restaurant. Flipping through the menu, you’ll often see fancy, almost exclusive dish names: a Moroccan Red Bean Soup, French Grilled Cheese on Artisanal Garlic Bread Baked by Romanian Virgins, Venetian Anchovy Fillet under Tartar Sauce… And when the food comes it turns out it’s canned bean soup, a grilled cheese sandwich, and some fish fillet. M – marketing.

6. Menu optimization
According to some research papers, the middle section of the menu gets the most focus, so the restaurant owners usually place more expensive stuff in those sections. At least this trick is easily countered: just read the whole page!

7. Mouthwatering photos
If the menu’s design allows it, you’ll always see some of the tastiest pics, showing you what you’re about to have in front of you. According to some public tests the sales of dishes with sultry pictures increased orders, compared to regular old “text menu” orders.



8. Free snacks
Oh, and remember those free crackers or chips, or whatever that you got before even ordering anything? Yeah, don’t think the cafe’s manager is your new buddy just yet (I mean, he could be, I don’t know), they usually do this to trick you into ordering extra beverages, since you’ve just had a lot of salty snacks.

9. Smaller portions and plates
So your local cafe has reduced portions by 10-15% but not lowered the price? Congrats you’ve been had. There are also restaurants who in addition to reducing the portions, also serve their food on smaller plate to make the portions look visually bigger.