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Dim Lighting Makes You Eat More at Restaurants

Dim Lighting Makes You Eat More at Restaurants

Dim Lighting – A study found that diners seated in darker rooms ordered dishes with 39 percent more calories on average.

 

It turns out the dim lighting on your dinner date can affect more than the mood. New data published in the Journal of Marketing Research shows that patrons dining in well-lit spaces are 16-24 percent more likely to order healthy dishes than those in dimly lit rooms, due to a higher level of alertness.

According to the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, researchers at the University of South Florida surveyed 160 patrons at four chain restaurants. Some diners were seated in brighter rooms, while the others ate in more dimly-lit spaces. Those who were seated in the darker rooms ordered dishes with 39 percent more calories on average and leaned towards less-healthy items, like fried food and dessert. On the other hand, those in the well-lit room skewed towards the healthier menu items like vegetables, white meat poultry, baked and grilled fish, and vegetables. A replication of the study with 700 college-aged students found the same results.

“We feel more alert in brighter rooms and therefore tend to make more healthful forward-thinking decisions,” explains lead author Dipayan Biswas. The team’s follow-up studies on diner alertness showed that when consumers in the dimly-lit rooms were given a caffeine placebo or prompted to be more alert, they made comparably healthy choices to those in the well-lit rooms, concluding that alertness is the main factor in the whether or not diners make more righteous decisions while eating out.

Before you decide to avoid low light altogether, know that Brian Wansink, study co-author and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, says “dim lighting isn’t all bad… despite ordering less-healthy foods, you actually end up eating slower, eating less, and enjoying the food more.”

So, the next time you’re faced with a case of “dining-in-the-dark,” as Wansink calls it, your best defense against overindulgence could be taking a moment to be conscious and alert about what you’re putting into your body. No mood-killing bright lights required.


Excellent reasons to keep your restaurant dimly lit…however, make it easy to read your menu.

No more annoying cell phone searchlights killing your ambiance.
LED-backlit menus are your answer!

Keep your lights low and romantic, but make it easy to read your menu.


 


ABOUT LED MENU LIGHT

LED Menu Light manufactures and sells LED illuminated Menu Covers, Boards and Check Presenters
All of our LED menus are made with soft white LED light for easy reading just like the Kindle and E-Readers. This is perfect for customers who have a hard time reading tiny type on menus in dimly lit restaurants.

WEBSITE:  https://ledmenulight.com

Contact: Marvin Barenbaum, 201-741-8292

LED MENU 2-Panel Backlit
LED Backlit Menu Board
LED Check Presenter

8 Psychological Tricks of Restaurant Menus

8 Psychological Tricks of Restaurant Menus

Restaurant Menus – more than meets the eye.

BY JESSICA HULLINGER

A restaurant’s menu is more than just a random list of dishes. It has likely been strategically tailored at the hands of a menu engineer or consultant to ensure it’s on-brand, easy to read, and most importantly, profitable. Here are a few ways restaurants use their menus to influence what you’re having for dinner.

1. THEY LIMIT YOUR OPTIONS. 

The best menus account for the psychological theory known as the “paradox of choice,” which says that the more options we have, the more anxiety we feel. The golden number? Seven options per food category, tops (seven appetizers, seven entrees, etc.). “When we include over seven items, a guest will be overwhelmed and confused, and when they get confused they’ll typically default to an item they’ve had before,” says menu engineer Gregg Rapp. No shame in sticking with what you know, but a well-designed menu might entice you to try something a bit different (and a bit more expensive).

Some restaurants have lost sight of this rule. For example, McDonald’s initially served just a few items but now offers more than 140. Yet the chain’s revenue fell by11 percent in the first quarter of 2015. “As we complicate menus, what we’re actually doing is tormenting the guest,” says restaurant consultant Aaron Allen. “When the guest leaves they feel less satiated, and part of it comes down to a perception that they might have made the wrong choice.” If you leave with a bad taste in your mouth, you’re less likely to come back. And in an industry where repeat customers account for about 70 percent of sales, getting diners to return is the ultimate goal.

2. THEY ADD PHOTOS.

Including a nice-looking picture alongside a food, item increases sales by 30 percent, according to Rapp.

In one Iowa State University study, researchers tested a digital display of a salad on kids at a YMCA camp. Campers who saw the salad photo were up to 70 percent more likely to order a salad for lunch. “You respond to the image on the display like you would respond to a plate in front of you,” said Brian Mennecke, an associate professor of information systems. “If you’re hungry you respond by saying, ‘I’ll have what’s in that picture.’” This effect is even more powerful when it comes to digital signs that move or rotate, which fast-food restaurants are beginning to implement. “The more vivid the image, in terms of movement, color, and accuracy of representation, the more realistic, the more it’s going to stimulate your response to it,” Mennecke said.

Of course, you can have too much of a good thing. “If you crowd too many photos, it starts to cheapen the perception of the food,” Allen says. “The more items that are photographed on the menu, the guest’s perception is of lower quality.” Most high-end restaurants avoid photos to maintain a perceived level of fanciness.

3. THEY MANIPULATE PRICES.

One way to encourage you to spend more money is by making price tags as inconspicuous as possible. “We get rid of dollar signs because that’s a pain point,” says Allen. “They remind people they’re spending money.” Instead of $12.00 for that club sandwich, you’re likely to see it listed as 12.00, or even just 12. One Cornell University study found that written-out prices (“twelve dollars”) also encourage guests to spend more. “Your pricing format will set the tone of the restaurant,” says Rapp. “So $9.95 I’ve found is a friendlier price than a $10, which has an attitude to it.”

Dotted lines leading from the menu item to its price are a cardinal sin of menu design. “That menu was introduced before modern typesetting,” says Allen. “It was a way of keeping the page looking properly formatted, but what happens is the guest reads down the right side of the menu and then looks to the left to see what the lower price point can afford them.” The solution? “Nested” pricing, or listing the price discretely after the meal described in the same size font, so your eyes just glide right over it.

4. THEY USE EXPENSIVE DECOYS. 

On menus, perspective is everything. One trick is to include an incredibly expensive item near the top of the menu, which makes everything else seem reasonably priced. Your server never expects you to actually order that $300 lobster, but it sure makes the $70 steak look positively thrifty, doesn’t it?

Slightly more expensive items (so long as they still fall within the boundaries of what the customer is willing to pay) also suggest the food is of higher quality. This pricing structure can literally make customers feel more satisfied when they leave. For example, one study gave participants an $8 buffet or a $4 buffet. While the food was exactly the same, the $8 buffet was rated as tastier.

5. THEY PLAY WITH YOUR EYES. 

Just like supermarkets put profitable items at eye level, restaurants design their menus to make the most of your gaze. The upper right corner is prime real estate, Rapp explains. “The upper right is where a person will go on a blank sheet of paper or in a magazine,” he says. That’s where the most profitable items usually go. “Then we build the appetizers on the upper left and salads underneath that. You want to keep the menu flowing well.”

Another trick is to create space around high-profit items by putting them in boxes or otherwise separating them from the rest of the options. “When you put in a pocket of negative space, you pull the eye there,” writes Allen. “Putting negative space around an item can call attention to it and help you sell it.”

6. THEY UTILIZE COLORS.

According to Allen, different colors help conjure feelings and “motivate” behavior. Blue is a very soothing color, so often times it is used to create a calming effect,” he says. And have you ever noticed the number of restaurants that utilize red and yellow in their branding? Conclusive evidence on how color affects our mood is hard to find, but one review suggests that red stimulates the appetite, while yellow draw in our attention. “The two combined are the best food coloring pairings,” Allen says.

7. THEY USE FANCY LANGUAGE.

Longer, more detailed descriptions sell more food. Nearly 30 percent more, according to one Cornell study. “The more copy you write on the menu item, the less it costs in a customer’s mind because you’re giving them more for their money,” explains Rapp. So plain old “chocolate pudding” becomes “satin chocolate pudding.” Customers also rated the more thoroughly described food as tasting better.

“People taste what you tell them they’re tasting,” Rapp says. Consider this: In another study, researchers presented two different groups with the same red wine but with different labels. One label said North Dakota (do they even make wine there?), the other said California. In taste tests, the “California” wine squarely defeated the “North Dakota” wine even though both groups’ glasses were filled with “Two-Buck Chuck”. Also, “those who believed they had been drinking California wine ate 12% more of their meal than those who instead believed they drank North Dakota wine.”

Adjectives like “line-caught,” “farm-raised,” or “locally-sourced” are big turn-ons for customers. “These things all help increase the perception of the quality of the item,” Allen says. This verbiage is so effective that many states have “Truth in Menu” laws designed to prevent restaurants from lying about things like how a piece of meat was raised or where it originated.

8. THEY MAKE YOU FEEL NOSTALGIC.

We all have that one meal that takes us back to childhood. Restaurants know this tendency, and they use it to their advantage. “Alluding to past time periods can trigger happy memories of family, tradition, and nationalism,” one study says. “Customers sometimes like the feeling of tasting something wholesome and traditional because ‘They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.’” Keep that in mind the next time you’re tempted to order “Grandma’s Chicken Soup.”

PHOTO CREDIT: M01229, FLICKR // CC BY 2.0


Great ideas for your menus…

 
So consider LED back lit menu holders and Read your menu Easily in the darkest of venues

ABOUT LED MENU LIGHT

LED Menu Light manufactures and sells LED illuminated Menu Covers, Boards and Check Presenters
All of our LED menus are made with soft white LED light for easy reading just like the Kindle and E-Readers. This is perfect for customers who have a hard time reading tiny type on menus in dimly lit restaurants.

WEBSITE:  https://ledmenulight.com

Contact: Marvin Barenbaum, 201-741-8292

LED MENU 2-Panel Backlit
LED Backlit Menu Board
LED Check Presenter

The Difference Between Embossing and Debossing

The Difference Between Embossing and Debossing

The Difference Between Embossing And Debossing

REPRINTED: Kwik Kopy

Author: Karin Ingram

To emboss, or deboss – that is the question.

They are both techniques used to imprint impressed or depressed images onto paper which can add that extra something to your print jobs. To decide which approach could be right for your business, let’s take a look at the differences between the two.

Embossing Vs. Debossing

Embossing is when you raise a logo or other image to create a 3D graphic. This raised design is achieved by pushing a metal die into paper, card stock (or other chosen material) from underneath. The raised area can then have ink or foil applied to it for added effect or it can be left unprinted or unfoiled (i.e. known as a blind emboss).

Example of embossing

Debossing is the opposite of embossing as you are creating an indent in the material you are using. A metal die is stamped onto the front of the material you are using causing depressions that leave a (debossed) imprint of the image on your paper, card stock (or other chosen material). You can choose to leave the debossing as it is (i.e. known as a blind deboss) or you can fill the indentation with ink.

Example of deboosing

 

Both embossing and debossing can be used in combination with offset printing or foil stamping to add depth and impact to a design. Dies can be sculpted as single-level, multilevel, sculptured or with beveled edges to create striking, multi-dimensional designs.

Business cards, stationery and presentation folders are just some of the collateral that can be custom embossed or debossed for your business. Business cards really lend themselves to both techniques, although embossing is far more common than debossing. When you emboss your business card you will most likely have the reverse image on the back of the card and the embossed image on the front. If you choose debossing on a thick card material however, then only one side of your business card will be affected.

If embossing or debossing aren’t for you, there are many other finishing options to choose from.  For advice on the right finishing touches for all your print collateral, speak to the team at your local Kwik Kopy today.

Foiling finishing

Foiling produced by Kwik Kopy Hornsby


ABOUT LED MENU LIGHT

LED Menu Light manufactures and sells LED illuminated Menu Covers, Boards and Check Presenters
All of our LED menus are made with soft white LED light for easy reading just like the Kindle and E-Readers. This is perfect for customers who have a hard time reading tiny type on menus in dimly lit restaurants.

WEBSITE:  https://ledmenulight.com

Contact: Marvin Barenbaum, 201-741-8292

LED MENU 2-Panel Backlit
LED Backlit Menu Board
LED Check Presenter

Would You Like to See the Menu? Try Using Your iPhone Flashlight

Would You Like to See the Menu? Try Using Your iPhone Flashlight

Would You Like to See the Menu? Try Using Your iPhone Flashlight

As restaurants grow increasingly dim, even younger diners are reaching for their cellphones.

Sitting at the bar at Pops for Champagne while in Chicago on business, Joseph Davey, 52 years old, couldn’t read the menu to decipher drink options in the near-darkness.

So he did the only reasonable thing he could: He pulled out his phone flashlight and lit up the page.

“I’m no spring chicken, but I don’t consider myself a senior citizen either,” said Mr. Davey, a restaurant beverage director who lives in Indianapolis. Scrutinizing what he described as “a great selection of bubbles,” by the light of an iPhone 7 might have hinted at decrepitude—except, he said, drinkers decades younger than him were doing the same.

The trend in restaurant design isn’t just romantically moody and dim, but downright inky, leaving aspiring menu-readers with little choice but to whip out their cellphone flashlights. They may illuminate the mysteries of the entrees, but can also bust the vibe of any downtown brasserie’s amber glow with the cold lasers of light-emitting diodes.

Pops for Champagne sets the lighting to appeal to a “diverse demographic, young and old,” and hears few grumbles, said co-owner Tom Verhey. The bar did recently increase the font size on the menu, as part of a re-design, and that made it easier to read, he said.

“I’m not Abe Lincoln that I can read by candlelight,” said Lisa Beach, 54, a freelance writer in Orlando, Fla. “I need more than two watts to read an entire menu.” Alas, Ms. Beach said, she often must provide those watts herself with mood-killing “bright white-bluish light” from her iPhone 7.

Lisa Beach at a restaurant in Florida using her iPhone 7 to read the menu. PHOTO: KEVIN BEACH

 

Brian Maier, 37, said using his Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to read the menu at a Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin, Texas, made his mind flash to a late-night commercial for a credit-card sized magnifying glass with a light, featuring white-haired actors.

“It made me feel like, ‘have I reached that stage of my life, where I’m that elderly person?’ ” he said.

Dinner has definitely gotten darker, said Andrew Knowlton, the 44-year-old editor at large at Bon Appétit magazine, who has eaten in roughly 400 restaurants annually for nearly 15 years. When he began his career, restaurants were generally split between upscale places and “mom and pops,” he said. Now, more restaurants are competing in the in-between zone, expected to provide good cuisine and a fashionable atmosphere. For those with lower budgets, turning the lights down is a quick fix, he said.

 

Mr. Knowlton said he finds it embarrassing when other diners—even worse are his own dining companions (“I’m going to give my wife up,” he said)—resort to the cellphone solution. He vowed he will never succumb. “I’d rather give up restaurants.”

Television host and comedian Scott Nevins, 37, once took an equally hard line, mocking friends when they resorted to the cell phone flashlight while dining out in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, where he lives. Then he ended up in the hospital after eating some undercooked chicken in a restaurant.

Since then, Mr. Nevins wouldn’t dream of putting a piece of chicken in his mouth before an analysis aided by his iPhone—“on full high beams, like you could land at LAX,” he said. His mortified friends groan and threaten to abandon him at the table. “I always say, ‘Oh be quiet. It’ll be three seconds,’ ” he said.

 
Granville West Hollywood on Friday night. PHOTO: KEN BARNETT

The ideal way to balance atmosphere and legibility is two-pronged, said David Rockwell, an architect who has designed restaurants including Nobu and Union Square Café in New York. One set of lights along the room’s perimeter or ceiling sets the overall ambience, while each table also gets its own light to enable diners to see close up.

That’s expensive and hard to perfect, which is why some restaurateurs celebrate the cultural shift in which patrons arrive packing their own lanterns.

“It means restaurants don’t have to worry about it,” said Marc Dix, food and beverage manager for Granville Restaurant Group, which has four restaurants in Los Angeles. “They can just go ahead and create the atmosphere they want.”

Though Granville staffers try to help diners who complain by bringing extra candles or even aiming their own cell phone flashlights at menus, one thing they won’t do is turn up the lights.

 

“We do get a couple of complaints about noise level and darkness,” Mr. Dix said. “But that’s the vibe that keeps everything going.”

In Scottsdale, Ariz., when David Gottlieb and his wife, Miriam, took their seats on the patio of Local Bistro, they quickly turned on their phone flashlights. When he looked up, Mr. Gottlieb said he saw other patrons doing the same. “There was no shame in it,” said the 72-year-old software engineer. “There was no other way to read the menu.”

Mr. Gottlieb said it was so dark that when he put down his phone to eat, he couldn’t tell whether he was stabbing steak or potato with his fork.

Laura Osio, marketing director for Osio Culinary Group, which owns Local Bistro and two other restaurants in Scottsdale, stands by the secret sauce of dusky ambience. “Diners prefer to have a more intimate atmosphere at dinner, which is created by dimming the lights,” she said, adding that lighting complaints are rare.

Stephani Robson, a lecturer at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, said her research has shown changing the lighting doesn’t change what people order. But she said restaurants probably cling to the concept because a “yellow, firelit glow” makes both people and food look better.

Moreover, diners don’t hesitate using their smartphones for just about everything else, said Greg Sage, operating partner and general manager for Ocean Prime steakhouse in Beverly Hills.

“They text, check email, check reviews of the restaurant they are in,” he said. “I walk by and see that they are trying to figure out what to order from Yelp.”

Write to Katy McLaughlin at katy.mclaughlin@wsj.com and Anupreeta Das at anupreeta.das@wsj.com


ABOUT LED MENU LIGHT

LED Menu Light manufactures and sells LED illuminated Menu Covers, Boards and Check Presenters
All of our LED menus are made with soft white LED light for easy reading just like the Kindle and E-Readers. This is perfect for customers who have a hard time reading tiny type on menus in dimly lit restaurants.

WEBSITE:  https://ledmenulight.com

Contact: Marvin Barenbaum, 201-741-8292

LED MENU 2-Panel Backlit
LED Backlit Menu Board
LED Check Presenter