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Menu design that makes dollars add up

There’s no denying that charcuterie is hot. But it seems that every artisanal chef worth his curing salt is simply listing a board of salumi on the menu. That’s why the fill-it-out-yourself antipasti menu at Fox Restaurant Concept’s three-unit Culinary Dropout stands out. It looks like one of the DIY paper menus that are common at sushi restaurants.

Just curious about prosciutto? No problem, that’ll be an extra $8 tacked onto the bill. Want to create an entire meal of antipasti? Easy, just mark all of the individual meats, cheeses and snacks you want and it’ll get added up at the end.

My initial reaction was that this style of menu is a genius way to bring more dollars to an antipasti program. My reasoning comes from personal experience: Somehow, I always end up spending more at sushi restaurants where I fill out the slip of paper marking how many of each menu item I want. I see the prices, but that’s a lot of mental math to add up all of those individual boxes. And, after all, most items are single-digit dollar range. Three different pieces of sashimi here, one roll there, some dumplings, I always think it won’t add up to that much … until it does, every time.

Culinary Dropout has shown that this type of menu does not have to be relegated to sushi; it works just as well for an antipasti menu in a gastropub. Which begs the question of where else it could work, what other implications could it possibly have?

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