Consumer Trends

Data-driven menu psychology (powered by digital menus)

The study of menu psychology has been around for quite a while. Theories have been passed around more often than KFC’s Big Box Meals.

Restaurant consultant Aaron Allen has shared insights on menu psychology, saying “As we complicate menus, what we’re actually doing is tormenting the guest. When the guest leaves they feel less satisfied, and part of it comes down to the perception that they might have made the wrong choice.” These insights are derived from a comparison of restaurant brands’ menu design and revenue.

In addition to the basic rules of menu psychology, operators can use their digital menus and self-order kiosks to gather data from ordering experiences.

The basics of menu psychology

  • Anchoring
    • Adding a higher-priced tier to offset the cost of the standard upgrade
    • Using a “decoy” which promotes a more expensive meal to draw customers up from the basic meal option to a mid-priced meal
  • Simplicity
    • Streamlining decision making with simple options
    • Effectively highlighting LTOs without over distracting
  • Limited Time Offers
    • Positioning LTOs for high visibility (in the upper, right-hand corner of the menu)
    • Using animation and motion graphics to draw more attention to promotional offers

Using the digital menu as a means for measuring

How much do you know about your customers’ ordering experiences?  
Digital menu design is more of a freehand, pizza-cutter technique than a cookie-cutter one. Knowing your customer means knowing how they read and order from your menus.

Is the eye bigger than the appetite? Infrared eye-tracking for menu optimization
True menu optimization requires knowing how customers look at the menu. Where are the “sweet spots”?

Cornell University School of Hotel Administration’s Sybil S. Yang published an article uncovering the eye-movement on restaurant menus. Restaurant leaders have the ability to track the “gaze path” of their customers with infrared eye-tracking software. Without invading the privacy of their guests, restaurant operators can collect this data by adding the technology to drive thru menus, in-store digital menu boards and self-order kiosks.

Who are they and what do they want? At your service!
Personalized offers aren’t lost upon restaurants. Mobile apps allow brands to keep track of order history and present the most relevant add-ons—this presents a prime opportunity for upselling.

Facial-recognition technology can be implemented in digital menus and self-order kiosks to better understand demographic-based order trends. For instance, QSR marketing guru Denise Lee Yohn says, “Millennials say ‘value me’ and moms say ‘help me’.” Does your customer data agree?

An “at-your-service” attitude requires knowing specific locations’ customer demographics and presenting the options they want. In-store, facial recognition-enabled digital menus can serve up the insights operators need to customize the ordering experience.

Statistics from in-store self-service?
Brands want customer feedback. They can see the feedback without even having to ask. Data from self-order kiosk interactions will say more than a customer could ever write in a review.

Adding gesture and touch analysis software to a restaurant kiosk will tell operators volumes about how menu design impacts orders. What menu items generated a positive response or order? What menu options did customers “back out of”? How long did the order take?

Brand-specific menu psychology
Restaurant operators see the value of brand-specific analysis. Many have relied on point-of-sale data to analyze the effects menu design changes. The most innovative brands will do more with their digital menus and in-store ordering technology because more data leads to improvement to the menu design and ordering experience.



This post is sponsored by Embed Digital


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