5 Psychological Tricks for Digital Menu Design that Maximize Profits

The word psychology often makes people think of counselors. However, there are benefits for business owners to know a bit about the human mind, too. Knowing some basic, psychological traits and tricks can increase customer satisfaction and maximize profits.

What is psychology, exactly? It’s the study of the human mind, and how it affects behaviors and decisions. This speaks to every aspect of our lives as humans, including what we buy and eat.

As a restaurant owner, utilizing positive psychological studies can help you increase your profits, and keep your customers happy. Your restaurant menu is the perfect place to use psychology. You can steer customers towards specific choices, increase their appetite, and help them to leave satisfied.


Here are 5 Psychological Tricks for Digital Menu Design

1. Use bright lighting to turn tables, use dim lighting for mood

The more customers you have seated at your tables throughout the day, the more profit you’ll earn. This starts with your menu, with simple and fast ordering. Bright, easy, digital signage menus help with quick decision making, which in turn will help your tables flip efficiently.

Lighting, including your bright digital signage, prepares the brain for things we need to do during the day. Mainly, we need to eat. Of course, in modern times, we eat regardless of what the sun is doing, but if you look back at the evolution of our species, night hunting and gathering were dangerous. This is why we are hard-wired to seek most of our meals during the day, and why bright lighting can help increase our hunger.

Keeping your restaurant lighting and layout just as bright and fun as your menu can increase hunger, and decrease the time spent in the restaurant. More tables flipped, more money spent!

If your brand is more about lingering, keep the overall lighting dim and cozy. Be sure to play up bigger ticket items and add-ons, like drinks and dessert, to keep profits up.

2. Use specific colors to increase appetite

Color plays a key role in how we feel, what we’re attracted to, and what turns us away. Food is no exception! While it’s always important to keep your brand colors in mind when designing your menu, there are other colors that might help draw the eye to where you want it.

For your menu, consider shades of red in key places. The eye is naturally drawn to red first, and it can increase appetite. Having borders in red, or other design elements can help bring the eye to that place. However, it’s not recommended to put your prices in red, as this will remind people of spending.

Yellow is another color that increases appetite. Working yellow into your design, especially when mixed with other appetizing colors, is a great idea.

If you have healthier choices or have a brand that promotes organic food, consider using green. Green reminds us of vegetables, and overall makes us think of healthy foods.

When it comes to colors to avoid, it’s blue. While it is a gorgeous color, there aren’t many natural foods that are blue. Because of this, our brains tend not to signal hunger when we see it.

3. Use pictures wisely

Has your mouth ever watered while looking at a picture of a delicious meal? The brain sends signals to your stomach when you look at a meal, to prepare it for eating. Using pictures on your menu can entice customers, make them hungry, and lead them towards specific orders.

But, don’t overwhelm your menu with too many photographs. If there are too many choices to look at, the brain of the customer may become confused. Confusion will cause a longer ordering process. This not only affects the customer’s experience, but your staff and even your bottom line can feel the effect of slow orders.

Use pictures in a strategic way, to lead customers to the items you want to up-sell. Have a professional photograph your biggest ticket items, and use those pictures on your digital signage menu. Place them along the top, or within the section of your menu that they belong to.

4. Use appetizing language

Like with pictures, the language you use to describe menu items can be just as appetizing. Words like tender, sizzling, and creamy can positively prepare the mind and the body for what’s to come or make someone crave a certain item.

Even for salads! Imagine lettuce. Simple, plain lettuce. For most, this doesn’t sound very exciting. Now imagine crisp lettuce with a creamy caesar dressing. You can almost hear the crunch and taste the dressing, right?

Keep your language simple and to the point, but throw in a few of those adjectives to help your customer imagine what it will be like to eat that item.

5. Good menu flow = easy decision making

When it comes to helping brains make decisions, simplicity is king. There is already a limit on how much of the world around us our brains can process at once, and that’s not something you want to play into with your menu.

Keeping your design and flow easy and simple will help the brain process quickly, and help the customer order just as fast. Keep your sections organized by using boxes or line breaks.

If a menu design is overly cluttered or complicated, it will be harder for the brain to process the information and come to a decision. This can hold up staff and lines, which is bad for other customers. It can also lead to a snap decision, which may not have been as satisfying for the customer, or for your profits.

There are five tips for using psychology in the design of your digital menu. Use these tips to increase appetite, keep ordering simple and easy, and increase customer satisfaction. Remember, happy customers and fast turnover means more profit for your business!

For more tips menu design, take a look at our 10 Tips for Designing a Restaurant Menu.