Moes-southwest-wand-digitalMenu psychology can make a big difference in how much money QSR and Fast Casual restaurant operators make.

At WAND we are constantly looking at restaurant menus and we’ve learned quite a bit about how to create smart, money-making menus.

Here are a few simple menu psychology tips to make sure you’re using them to drive the most sales possible.

1. Use anchoring to increase ticket size. Restaurants often give two options for a drink size – medium or large. Let’s say the medium is $3 and the large is $4. However, when a third, more expensive option is offered (extra large at $5) it anchors the price points in the minds of the consumer and now that $4 doesn’t seem quite as steep. By simply offering a third option you can increase your ticket size. You can also use decoys, which is promoting a more expensive meal, to make the other meals seem more reasonably priced. Since people like to order something in the middle of the menu (not too low a price and not too high) adding a decoy can increase their likelihood to buy something more expensive than they might otherwise.

2. Use a smaller menu to increase speed and reduce food costs. As restaurants like Chipotle and In-N-Out Burger have demonstrated, having a small and simple menu can be extremely successful. The less choices a menu has, the easier it is for your customers to choose what they want. Not only do they decide what they want faster so you can move them through the queue quickly, but restaurants can also train more efficiently since their employees don’t have to learn as many menu items to make. Plus there is the added benefit that you also don’t have to stock your inventory to produce everything under the sun; you only need to purchase a small amount of ingredients needed to deliver on that small menu.

3. Promote your best LTOs and specials in the upper right corner. Many restaurant studies have found the first place a person looks on a menu is the upper right corner, so this is the ideal spot for you to place your best LTOS or promotional specials. It’s also a great place to promote your most profitable menu item. If you’re using Digital Menu Boards use animation or motion graphics with your menu item in this space to draw people’s eyes to it even more quickly. When you use a dynamic image with movement people are more likely to look at it longer than they would other items.

There are many more menu psychology tips out there that can make your menus much more profitable. If you’re going through a menu redesign or adding new items be sure to think about how you can use these simple tips and tricks to drive ticket prices up. And don’t forget to add your calorie counts!