I’ve never really given it much thought but quite a lot of effort has to be put into designing a menu. It’s an equivalent to the window displays in stores, it gives restaurants a chance to share and showcase the items they have available for customers.

It is thought that increased item awareness will significantly increase purchase likelihood (Reynolds, 2005). So some popular menu design recommendations focus on making sure that consumers know that certain products exist by repeatedly drawing attention to them or by making them more memorable.

Some examples are:

1) Items which are targeted for increased promotion through design or high profit items are recommended to be boxed or highlighted (Hopkins, 2005) or

2) Placing high profit items at spots where guests scan-paths pass through most frequently (Hallup, 1987).

3) Placing items at the beginning or the end of the list of their category options. It was found that they were up to twice as popular when placed at the beginning or the end of the list as when they were placed in the center of the list. (Hopkins, 2005; Gallup Report, 1987)

According to Dayan and Bar-Hillel (2011), given this effect, increase in favor of healthier food choices should result by placing healthier menu items at the top or bottom of the lists and the less healthier ones in their center.

The primacy and recency theory is one of the very popular theories used to explain why this happens. It refers to a person’s overall ability to more accurately recall the first and last (more recent) items of a list than any other item on that list. (McCrary & Hunter, 1953). Another popular theory is the Von Restoroff effect which is a person’s ability to more accurately recall distinctive items from a list of items that are presented in a way where they somehow violate the prevailing context of the overall presentation. (Hunt, 1005).

Eye movement

It is said that most people do not “read” a menu from page to page but instead they “scan” the menu with their eyes. Therefore with the use of eye magnets can help direct the gaze of the reader to where you want them to see, making that particular area stand out by using a larger or different color type font.

So here i’ve provided a few examples of such diagrams based on a two-page menu scan-path.

Industry Convention

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This is said to be cited quite often though the pattern depicted has not been empirically validated and it’ underlying reasoning has not been explained either. The most desirable locations are positions 1, 7 and 5.

William Doerfler published in an academic journal one of the first maps of customer focal points.Although no reasoning had been prodivided as to why, it is suggested that the customer focus lies in the region above a diagonal line cutting across both facing pages (shaded region). And in this, the most influential area is said to lie just above the mid point of the right page.

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And lastly the Gallup Report (1987) which used an infrared pupil/corneal reflection eye tracking system to record subject’s scan-paths showing a book-like reading pattern.

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I’ve also included an interesting guide i found from Softcafe.com on menu marketing.

1) Price Point Justification. Move prices into descriptions to avoid price-shopping by customers. Using the same font or slightly small and removing the dollar sign can further help customers focus on the product and not the price.

2) Item Placement.

3) Boxing. As a general rule box one out of every 8 to 10 items. It draws attention and usually get orders, so its best to use them on high profit items.

4) Page Positioning.

5) Hospitality Symbols and Icons. Make menu unique by using stars, bullets or other food symbol icons. Graphics can set items apart and icrease sales as much as 15 eprcent.

6) Keep food descriptions short, wherever possible, use word pictures rather than lengthy descriptions.

7) Showcasing. Highlight types of food with interesting menu headings such as “Fresh Pasta” or Our Specialties” instead of generic ones like ” Entrees”.

8) Know your customers. If you have customers mostly above 50, keep font large enough to read. If you’re a family style restaurant, make menus appealing by including colourful artwork, unusual fonts and lots of boxed items.

9) Using menu inserts to help promote high profit specials or new items. For example ” You can only get this here”.

10) Keep menus clean. Customers often associate a dirty menu to a dirty kitchen.

 

Also i’ve included here a menu placement chart i found from Barkeeper.ie for the different type of menus.

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References

Dayan, E., & Bar-Hillel, M. (2011). Nudge to nobesity II: Menu positions influence food orders. Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6, no. 4, June 2011, pp. 333-342.

Gallup Report. (1987). Through the Eyes of the Customer. The Gallup Monthly Report on Eating Out.

Hopkins, K. (2005). American Restaurant Menu Design. Michigan State University.

Hunt, R. (1995). The subtlety of distinctiveness: What Van Restorff really did. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2(1), 105-112.

McCrary, J., Hunter, W.S. (1953). Serial Position Curves in Verbal Learning. Science, 117, 131-134.

Yang, S.S. Eye Movement on Restaurant Menus: A Revisitation on Gaze Movement and Consumer Scanpaths.

They say two is better than one. And three is better than two and so forth.

But this is not something new…

Not to marketing companies or consumer researchers. This has been going on for years. Ever gone into a shop and see it on offer “buy 2 for the price of 1” or “this gift set priced at only $….” and end up buying more than you went in for? All the time. This marketing strategy is known as bundling. As defined by Guiltinan (1987) bundling is “the practice of marketing two or more products and/or services in a single package for a special price.” The perceived value of the package is key in determining whether or not consumers purchase a package.

If you take a look around in stores and even online you’ll see that bundling strategies are used a lot. And here are some of the many examples…

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A screenshot taken from Sephora website, you can see these gift value sets with it’s selling price and value price shown as well. FRESH – Spa Escape Set with $91 value selling for $50.

 

 

 

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Another screenshot taken from Catertrade which is a UK based website offering Kitchen equipment bundle.

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 And IKEA too.

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This applies to the food industry as well.

Notably, when bundling items together, merchants often find that consumers purchase items, which they would not ordinarily purchase if they were only available individually. (Stremersch and Tellis, 2002). Many of the existing research with regards to bundling draw reference from consumer behavior paradigms like anchoring and adjusting (Tversky and Kahneman, 1974), prospect theory (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979), mental accounting (Thaler, 1985) and the cost of thinking (Shugan, 1980). 

There are existing research examining three different product offering strategies, with the first being the “pure bundling” strategy whereby only bundles of goods were offered, and no items are offered individually.  The second is the “mixed bundling” strategy offering both individual item and bundled offerings. The third strategy according to Stremersch and Tellis (2002) is when no bundle goods or services were offered, also known as the “unbundled” or “pure component” strategy. Not only that, consumers also pays attention to the framing of price information in a bundle offer. And there are quite a number of studies done talking about the framing of price with regards to the bundling strategy.

Why does it work?

Some literatures stated that in bundling, the bundle in a way “transfers” some of a consumer’s surplus associated with one item in the bundle to another item that initially has a negative surplus, making the bundle s a whole have a positive consumer utility.

A personal example, just recently I was looking to purchase the Clarins – Eau de jardins fragrance, and I found out online that on it’s own it costs 29 pounds for 100ml.

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After some search online I found that some websites offer a discount with the lowest price being about 25 pounds… After more searching I found that they had also came out with a gift set with 100ml of the fragrance I wanted together with a 50ml shower gel and 100ml body lotion for 29 pounds.

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I didn’t really care for both the shower gel and the body lotion but guess what I ended up buying? The gift set of course 🙂

A possible reason for this could be like what Yadav (1995) talked about the weighted addictive model, which predicted that the impact of a price discount on the overall evaluation of the bundle will be greater when the more important product in the bundle, or the “price leader” so to speak, is discounted.

Another explanation that I found to be interesting was that consumers might view the bundled items as synergistic or in other words complementary. In which consumers value the bundle itself more than the sum of the values of the individual items, which in turn gives consumers a positive incentive to purchase the bundle. (Venkatesh and Kamakura, 2003) Consumers may also prefer getting bundles because it helps them reduce the search or assembly effort needed to make a purchase. And another really interesting point is that to consumers benefit, they perceive a lower risk for functional incompatibility among the items bought in bundles as opposed to those bought individually. Harris and Blair (2006) found that by experimentally priming fears of functional compatibility risk, it actually increases the likelihood for consumers to choose bundles over individual items, and even more so for consumers with less product knowledge. So to consumers benefit, they perceive a lower risk for functional incompatibility among the items bought in a bundles as opposed to those bought individually. I thought about this finding and it seems to be quite true for me personally when I purchase electrical appliances or other tech stuff. Would you buy them individually or as a bundle?

 

In relation to the rising obesity rates and increase of sales in the fast food industry, Sharpe and Staelin (2010) did a really interesting study in the context of the fast food industry and the offering of combo value meals. If you are interested you can take a look at their paper. Study results indicate that by “featuring” a pair of items as a bundle can increase sales. Like in this case were the fries and soft drink. When the bundle is offered, more consumers purchase fries and also move up in size for both drinks and fries more often than move down in size. These findings however do not provide us with any deep understanding as to why this happens, there could be a number of different factors affecting consumer’s decisions. Like the price being cheaper for the consumers.

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So in conclusion what you first thought was a wonderful set of items you purchased at great value may soon become surplus. All I really wanted was that perfume or skirt. Why did I end up with many other things I don’t really need?

But then the next time I step into a shop and see those bundles, logic goes to sleep and the happy girl inside me rises and smiles. I know I shouldn’t. But who cares.

 

 

References

Guiltinan, J. (1987), “The Price Bundling of Services: A Normative Framework,” Journal of Marketing, 51 (April), 74–85.

Harris, J., & Blair, E. (2006). Consumer preferences for product bundles: The role of reduced search costs. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 34(4), 506–513.

Sharpe, K., & Staelin, R. (2010). Consumption Effects of Bundling: Consumer Perceptions, Firm Actions, and Public Policy Implications.

Shugan, S. (1980), “The Cost of Thinking,” Journal of Consumer Research, 7 (2), 99–111.

Stremersch, S., and Tellis, G. (2002), “Strategic Bundling of Products and Prices: A New Synthesis for Market- ing,” Journal of Marketing, 66 (January), 55–72.

Thaler, R. (1985), “Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice,” Marketing Science, 4 (Summer), 199–214.

Tversky, A., and Kahneman, D.  (1974), “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases,” Science, 185 (September), 1124–31.

Venkatesh, R. and Kamakura, W. (2003), “Optimal Bundling and Pricing Under a Monopoly: Contrasting Complements and Substitutes from Independently Valued Products,” Journal of Business, 76 (2), 211–31.

 

 

Yadav, M. (1995), Bundle Evaluation in Different Market Segments: The Effects of Discount Framing Buyers’ Preference Heterogeneity. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 206-215.

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Deal sites have become very popular, offering many different discounted offers for restaurants,events,services and other items. Deals provided are at a substantial discount to the listed price, and the availability of the deals may range from a period of one day or more. (Byers, Mitzenmacher & Zervas, 2011)

Despite it’s popularity and growth, this business is not as lucrative as it may seem to be. According to articles and reports from TIME Tech dating from 2011, Groupon and LivingSocial has been suffering substantial losses.

The underlying marketing tactic which is deep discounting in groups has been around for a long time. Merchants are using these sites as a form of advertising, spreading their message,location, products and offers to a large amount of new customers. Additionally, Groupon for example can also be a good tool for new businesses to gain a high brand awareness at an affordable price as opposed to other media such as ads or television. It results in a significant increase in sales however because of the deals being so heavily discounted, the high cost makes it difficult to be a long-term techniques and in sustainable customer retention. (Edelman, Jaffe & Kominers, 2011) In comparison to other deals like the recent Black Friday deals for example which are on outdated products stores need to get rid of, even though they are discounted, stores still can make money selling other products. Deal sites on the other hand mostly offers discount on fresh stock and not on clearance items.

These coupons also did not help with customer loyalty. Very often, customers will purchase deals and try them out once and then purchase another deal from another merchant or until the next coupon, and the cycle continues. And the fact that the deals were purchased at a discounted price, customers usually would not want to pay full price again for the same deal, because the reciprocal relationship is solely on the basis on the deep discounting. Additionally, once customers become used to seeing a certain merchant or retailer constantly appearing on a deal site, they will learn to wait and only visit or purchase when a deal or coupon is available. With so many other deal sites out there,customers usually just go to whichever sites offer the best deals, so what can merchants do to increase the customer loyalty?

Another important consideration that needs to be made is the benchmark or appropriate pricing of the items or services offered. Rather than offering steep discounts on the price, merchants can consider adding value instead. (Withiam, 2011)

 

 

References

Byers, J., Mitzenmacher, M., & Zervas, G. (2011). Daily Deals: Prediction, Social Diffusion, and Reputational Ramifications.

Edelman, B., Jaffe, S., & Kominers, S. (2011). To Groupon or Not to Groupon: The profitability of Deep Discounting. Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 11-063.

Withiam, G. Strategies for couponing and discounting: Moving away from price promotions.

The opportunity to touch products has a persuasive influence on customer’s attitudes and behaviors. It has been found that touching a product increases attitudes and purchase intentions and increases the confidence in evaluation of the products. (Peck & Childers, 2003) And that touching an object compared to the inability to touch resulted in greater feelings of psychological ownership and more willingness to pay. (Peck & Shu, 2009) Marketers focus on touch, with products providing a specific attribute information like for example Paper Mate pens have portions of their packaging cut out to let shoppers examine and testing out the unique grip of the pen. The haptic system is adept at encoding object properties like texture,hardness,temperature and weight information. In consumer behavior, products are touched for various different reasons, Peck’s (2003) study found that four distinct types of touch were evident.

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In another research by Hornik (1992) in three different field settings,bookstore,restaurant and supermarket, found that unobtrusive touch by an employee on the arm of the customer enhances positive feelings for the external stimuli which is the setting itself as well as the touching source which is the employee. Customers that were touched by a requester tended to comply more than those who were not touched. 

Another interesting study done by McCabe and Nowlis (2003)on whether products differed on material properties and whether participants had the actual product to evaluate a picture of the product,list of attributes or a combination, with the dependent variable being the likelihood of purchase. Results were that product categories varying in the diagnosticity of touch were more likely to be preferred in shopping environments allowing for physical inspection as compared to those where touch is not available. And there was no difference in the preference of products across shopping environments when a product did not vary on material properties, since for these categories, visual was diagnostic. Additionally results also show that a difference in preference between two environments were reduced when verbal description of products were given. However when there is a lack of touch, written description can compensate for that. 

Peck and Childers (2003) came up with a “Need for Touch” (NFT) Scale designed to measure individual differences in the preferences for haptic (touch) information. It is a 12 item scale consisting of autotelic and instrumental dimensions. The autotelic factor views touch as an end unto itself,hedonic is nature whereby touching is fun, sensory stimulating, arousing and enjoyable. The instrumental factor reflects aspects of pre-purchase touch with a salient purchase goal. 

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In summary, object or product differences,individual differences and situational differences all come together to determine the motivation of a consumer to touch  product before purchasing it. Peck and Wiggins (2003) suggests that touch can create an affective response which in turn can have an influence on a customer’s decision-making process even though touch adds no product related information to the decision. Based on studies done in this area,if hedonic aspects of touch can increase persuasion then using touch in marketing may be broadly applicable to a broad set of products and services like for example packaging design, print advertising, point-of-purchase displays and so on. 

Kotler (1973) defined atmospherics as “the effect to design buying environments to produce specific emotional effects in the buyer that enhances his or her purchase probability.”, which is referred to as a five-dimensional experience based on our five senses. Adding on to Kotler’s definition, the term atmospherics was redefined to include “ambient factors” that emphasized sound, feel, smell and sight.

Hull and Harvey (1989) developed a framework stating that a distinction should be made between the research in retail environments on a “micro” and “molar” level. Micro characteristics include physical characteristics of the environment that create a particular atmosphere. Molar characteristics on the other hand are “emergent properties” that result from the sum of micro characteristics, like atmosphere. Whether or not lighting can be categorised as “atmospherics” have been vague, some researches include them and some do not.

A study by Bitner (1992) analysed how consumers respond to a retail environment noted that consumers react to a retail store in a cognitive, emotional and biological way. Research by Quartier et al. (2009) examining the association between in-store lighting and consumer behaviour defined lighting as an atmospheric tool that operates below the level of immediate awareness and beyond perception, has an influence on consumers. Researchers have shown an increased interest in the indirect effects of lighting, how it has an effect on mood, arousal and consumer behaviour.

On a very basic level of consumer behaviour, people are drawn to light (Taylow & Sucov,1974). Similarly an early research done by Mehrabian (1976) suggested that brighter light increases consumer arousal which in combination with atmosphere’s pleasantness and higher consumer arousal it increases the likelihood of approach responses, which in a retail aspect suggests that lighting can be an effective tool in helping retailers attract and retain patrons. And according to LaGuisa and Perney (1974) on a product-based level, which can influence people’s behaviour, light can draw attention to products. Interestingly, Summers and Hebert (2001) found that under conditions with “bright lighting”, products are more often examined and touched in comparison to under “dim lighting” conditions. Additionally, Summers and Hebert (2001) also found that bright lighting is associated with more product handling, and that consumers spent significantly more time at displays that has additional accent lighting.

In a test-lab store,researchers found that shoppers could actually recognize the lighting style of high-end stores they had visited before. And that people experiencing the high-qualoty store lighting gave the market test a higher grade for product quality and service as compared to people experiencing other lighting scenarios. They also perceived the prices of products to be higher as compared to other people who were exposed to other lighting scenarios. Additionally, shoppers also found the lighting style of the high end grocery store to be more pleasurable. to This showed that lighting style influenced the perception of the store. Many retailers put a great amount of effort into the development of a lighting ambiance in which they feel sends the right messages to shoppers. (Quartier et al., 2009)

Research on lighting itself has had various results. Some research done showed that lower lighting levels were found to be related to increased comfort levels (Hopkins et al, 1966) and in contrast brighter lighting has been found to be more preferred for activities of a visual nature like in a retail environment. (Biner et al., 1989) But there has not been much study results showing the influence of lighting on mood or buying behaviour or sales volume. With the necessary to measure whether or not lighting has an influence on both mood and behavior, Quartier et al. came up with an interesting model based on the S-O-R model – stimuli, organism, response by Mehrabian and Russell (1974) and PAD model – pleasure, arousal, dominance by Donavan and Rossiter (1989).

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I’ve included a few examples of various stores that make use of different lightings.

Abercrombie and Fitch

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Hollister

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Superdry

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Optical shop

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Bakery

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Grocery store

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Affective conditioning

According to Baker (1999), advertising that evokes positive feelings can influence brand evaluation. By taking a product and putting it next to things we already feel positively about can make us feel good about that product too. It is also said that affective conditioning is most effective when we don’t realize that it is happening. Why do we choose things we feel good about? The good feelings we have often can be a good marker on what is safe to do and might often indicate that it will turn out well. So if we have to make a choice, we are more likely to go with the option that we have a good feeling about. (Markman, 2010)

 

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Authority

Just like in the infamous Milgram experiment which Milgram showing the willingness to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority. Researches about authority show that people are extremely inclined to follow the instructions of someone who looks like they know what they are doing. People respect opinions that of someone who they assume to have expertise in the subject. It also makes people feel better about buying a product. (Cialdini, 2006)

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Attention catching

I guess this is pretty self-explanatory, attention has been so widely discussed in consumer psychology and advertising. The first aspect of the cognitive learning process, a marketer needs to ensure that they capture consumer’s attention. Being overwhelmed with all the stimulus in the surroundings, failing to capture the attention of people would mean that their marketing messages become part of the clutter that is only processed momentarily which will be quickly replaced by something else. (Jansson-Boyd, 2010)

There are so many examples of advertisements of such..

Beautiful and famous people

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Bright colors

 

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And other interesting ones..

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Chartland (2005) stated that the mental processes that occur outside of the conscious awareness can influence consumer behavior.With that, three types of awareness have been identified.Namely (a) the environmental features which trigger an automatic process, (b) the automatic process itself and (c) the environmental features that trigger an automatic process. 

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Fazio & Olsen (2003) mentioned that people are not unaware of choosing but often not aware of the automatic process influencing that choice. And that “these choices were introspectively blank” meaning that on introspection of a choice that is made, consumers are often at loss as to why they chose what they did.Environmental features activate an automatic process which then leads to an outcome. So in a consumer behavior domain, where the outcome is often a choice between products, the decision maker is most often aware of what he or she chose. What they may not be consciously noting is the environmental trigger like for example,the presence of friends. To explain this, an example by Chartland (2005), the consumer being aware that she is shopping with a friend (A), aware of purchasing a $100 blouse (C) but not aware of the automatic intervening process that led to that purchase decision (B). 

One of the important reason why researchers need to identify precisely the stage or stages of which consumers are aware or unaware might be because control,modification,elimination and change can only come with awareness. Many automatic processes are functional and adaptive for people, however some are not adaptive nor as beneficial or even harmful.By first being aware of a given process, it can then be changed and consumers can gain a greater control.

Being aware of (A) which is the environmental trigger that sets off an unwanted automatic process, individuals can avoid or even associate the trigger or situation with a more constructive behavior which overtime might then become automatic. Being aware of (B) individuals can also try to change of stop the automatic association, for example parties leading to a higher alcohol consumption. Being aware of (C) leads to the understanding of why a certain outcome occurred. Each stages require different mechanisms for change. Additionally, there are quite a few specific automatic processes that has been discussed to determine where awareness lies, like for example Dijksterhuis et al. (2005) discussed nonconscious behavioral mimicry and nonconscious goal pursuit. Chartland (2005) believes that with additional clarity regarding which aspects are nonconscious in which domains and the specific role that awareness plays, we can then begin building a more comprehensive model of nonconscious processes in consumer behavior.