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Tricks of the Trade

Rising food costs and a flailing economy have spurred restaurants nationwide to rethink menu wording and portion size, and also to consult experts like Chris Mentzer, a menu re-engineering and recipe development specialist (really his title): "Take a typical two-column menu: The description of the food is on the left, and the price is an inch or two from the description, on the right. Bad idea, says Mentzer. Get rid of the second column, he recommends, and put the price at the end of the sentence that describes the dish. 'You want people to read the price after they've read the description,' he explains, 'not before.' ... Another tactic that's gaining favor: Spell out the price instead of using a number, because it's easier to part with thirty-four dollars than $34 ... All of these concepts, Mentzer says, have been around for years, but more restaurateurs than ever are putting them to use." [Washington Post]