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Experts Reveal 10 Ways to Stop Being Tricked by Restaurants

There are a few ways your local restaurant might get you to spend more money than you should. Sometimes, you’re convinced to buy food at a price that’s higher than it’s really worth. Other times, you end up buying more food than you would normally eat. What might surprise you is that some of these places have tried and true methods, right under your nose, of getting you to spend money. And you’d never imagine that they would be trying to manipulate you.

We at Bright Side love help you find a good deal, so we’re sharing the various ways restaurants might deceive their patrons.

1. The Delboeuf Illusion

You’ve probably seen those illustrations where 2 shapes are the same size, but look different. Restaurants make use of this illusion: serving portions on large plates helps patrons think they are getting a large meal, even when the same amount of food could easily fit on a smaller plate. Conversely, the fact that there’s still space can make you think you have room for more food. Even the reverse is true: buffets might offer small plates to slowly trick you into eating less food.

2. Size tricks

Let’s say you get soda while out to eat, the drink might be served in a thin glass because people associate thin things with being tall. Because of this association they might assume they are getting more for their buck, when they might actually get more if they had a wider cup. In other words, if you get free refills, make use of them.

3. Making food seem fancier than it really is

When eating food, it might seemingly taste better when using silver cutlery instead of plastic, despite being the same food. The classier the food is presented, the better you might think it tastes.

4. “Optional” service charges

For some places, it’s common courtesy to leave a tip for the server, if they provided excellent service. What you might not know is that some places already place an “optional” service charge on your bill. Not only would customers be too embarrassed to question it if they intended to pay less, most don’t realize there’s an extra charge and add an additional tip. In some cases, servers have been known to ask if you’d like to add a tip when the service charge has already been paid.

5. Recycling free bread

Many restaurant workers admit this habit: if patrons don’t finish up the free bread served as an appetizer, it will be saved and heated up for tomorrow’s baskets. Some places, to their credit, get a bit more creative, making the bread into croutons or similar food products.

6. Menu tricks

Getting a glimpse of the menu normally helps people choose what they want when they go out to eat, but there are some tricks restaurants use to manipulate customers. Higher priced items might be advertised first or highlighted. Prices might also be listed without a dollar sign, which has been found to cause people to overlook the price.

7. Purchasing and selling frozen meals

Everyone loves the convenience of ordering food instead of cooking it themselves... even restaurants. Some chain restaurants have admitted that, over the years, they’ve ordered their dishes from vendors, that they merely heat up for their patrons. In other words, you might have just purchased a high-quality frozen dinner.

8. Playing classical music

The type of music a restaurant plays could have a stronger influence on people than you’d think. Classical music, for example, can help people feel more affluent, which in turn makes them more willing to purchase more food.

9. Artificially coloring your food

Salmon is delicious and healthy, so it is a popular dish that is often prepared when people go out. However, it can get a little too popular for restaurants. To make it easier to have on hand, many places order their salmon from farms, which might feed the fish an unhealthy diet, causing them to develop a gray color. Because of this, many places dye the fish pink to make it look fresher than it actually is.

10. Giving food “special” names

When the menu is filled with “cool” names, it helps build brand loyalty with customers. Nearly every place sells sandwiches, and they are often the same thing no matter where you get them, but you go to your favorite place because you just like going there. When going to a restaurant, you pay for the experience, as well as the food. Colorful names, even in a foreign language, have been found to increase sales by a third. “Chicken Française” just sounds classier than chicken cutlets... let’s not get into the fact it’s not even really French.

What are some other ways you think that restaurants might trick you? Please share with us in the comments!

Preview photo credit Pixabay