If you want to save money when eating out be aware of the tricks vendors are using to get you to spend more.

Marketers encourage sellers to leave the dollar sign off their menus or price lists, as the symbol reminds the buyer that this is real money they are considering spending.

“Dollar signs remind people of money,” said Greg Rapp, a menu consultant in California. “When you use dollar sigs your food looks more expensive.”

Descriptions of meny items can likewise change a buyer’s attitude towards a dish (and the price they are willing to pay for it). No one would pay $20 for lamb and vegies; but many would be willing to pay just that for Grain fed Tasmanian basted lamb, country peas, succulent baby carrots and crispy hydroponic lettuce.

“The more you talk about it, the less it costs in the customer’s head, Greg rapp continues. “The more value you’re giving them.

Another trick, one well used by supermarkets, is to place items close to the customers. This increases the chances of an impulse buy. Impulse buys are cheap as compared with the overall purchase made by a customer. But the mark-up on these purchases is incredible! When compared on a price per weight ratio, these are some of the most expensive items in the store.

Most of all, food vendors need to have their items clearly visible. If the customer can see it there’s at least a chance they’ll buy it. No wonder then that glass fronted cabinets front the cash shop asstant while behind them rise stacks of food – all of them tempting you.

There are many other tricks used by restaurant owners to encourage buying, however, one of the most insidious is the downsizing of quantities: Making a ‘large’ a ‘regular’ and a ‘regular’ a ‘small’, while keeping the prices the same. Regular customers who grab order the same items each time will often pay much more for the same without even noticing – Just putting the change in their pocket without seeing how much less they’re getting back.

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