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The Sneaky Tricks Restaurants Use to Make You Spend More Money

Britons are all watching debits from their bank accounts and credit card statements very carefully, as the cost of living crisis continues to put pressure on household budgets. Gasoline prices have seen their biggest rise in 17 years, energy bills have skyrocketed and are expected to rise further in October, and prices for food and other basic necessities have also risen.

You may be thinking back to how often you indulge in luxuries such as eating out or ordering takeout. Some people might pare them down and make special treats out of them once a month or even every two months, rather than a Saturday night ritual. But sometimes it’s unavoidable when there are family occasions, girls’ nights out, birthdays or other celebrations coming up and you really can’t help but go out.

Birmingham is full of restaurants offering everything from fast food to fine dining and if you still want to go out to eat, there are ways to control the bill so it’s not too much of a shock at the end of the night. After all, not all of us have the buying power of Johnny Depp at a night out in Brum – and if you have a restaurant reservation this weekend but your paycheck doesn’t come in until the end of the month , there are a few sneaky tricks to remember.

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The Sneaky Tricks Restaurants Use to Make You Spend More

1. Drinking at the bar before your meal makes you more likely to blow your budget

If your table isn’t ready, chances are the front of the house leads to the bar to buy a drink while you wait. However, these drinks do not increase the price of your total bill, but drinking alcohol before eating could make you drunk and, therefore, likely to blow your budget. Instead, try to get to your restaurant on time so you don’t fall for the trap.

2.Restaurants play certain music to make you eat faster at lunch, or slower if you eat well

Did you know that many restaurants play certain music to influence your spending habits? Andrea Knowles, personal finance expert from, explains that many restaurants play upbeat music at lunchtime to entice diners to eat faster, as it helps their tables turn over. Alternatively, more expensive restaurants tend to stick to classical music, which makes diners feel more relaxed and sophisticated and, as a result, spend more money.

3.Lighting in a restaurant is also meant to make you pay (or speed up)

Similarly, restaurants that play upbeat music are also more likely to use harsh, bright lighting in an attempt to get you in and out faster. More expensive establishments will opt for soft lighting to put you in a more relaxed mood and, therefore, more likely to spend time and money in the restaurant.

4.Waiters and waitresses ask for your drink order as soon as you are seated to trick you into making a more expensive decision

While a waiter or waitress asking for your drink order as soon as you sit down is a positive sign of good service, Andrea says it’s often a sneaky way of forcing you to make a decision before you have had the opportunity to review the cost of all drinks. Therefore, you can order a larger glass of wine or your favorite cocktail, both of which might be more expensive than expected.

5. The GBP sign is often omitted from menus to disconnect the money number

You might not notice this nifty trick, but many restaurant menus omit the pound sign when listing prices. Andrea points out that this is not a design choice but rather a psychological decision, as studies show that removing the currency symbol means you don’t feel like you’re spending money . Without it, the number seems meaningless, so you end up splashing a lot more.

6.The menu will highlight an expensive meal so the other options seem like a bargain

Similarly, another technique that restaurants use on their menu is to showcase their most expensive item by placing it in a box. For example, their surf and turf option. Not only does this encourage big spenders to indulge in the “best” menu item, it also has the opposite effect. The size and price of this item makes everything else seem reasonable in comparison, so diners feel like they’re getting a bargain if they choose something else.

7. Fixed menus can end up costing you more

Many diners opt for the set menu because you feel like you’re getting more for your money. However, this tactic can actually end up spending more money than you would if the set menu wasn’t an option. Although a three-course menu for £20 might seem like a bargain, you might not be very keen on the starter or dessert options, but choose them anyway. Instead, opting for a £12 main and £5 dessert that you really like might work better.

8.Entrees are often served in odd portions to create a common problem

If you’ve ever shared an appetizer with a friend, you’ll have noticed that some come with three servings. Restaurants know this makes it difficult to split between two people, so this may encourage you to order another so that there is an equal amount that can be split evenly. This is also one of the reasons many restaurants don’t list the number of servings you’ll receive for an appetizer, so the surprise issue comes later.

9.Restaurants use smaller plates to make it seem like you’re getting what you pay for

Often restaurants use plates that are an inch smaller than the standard size you would have at home. Although you may not know the difference, the serving size will seem much larger than if placed on a standard sized plate. However, that’s not the only reason they’re used – smaller plates also allow for more space on the table as you can have plenty of drink options, a plant and a candle all of which can take up a lot of time. square.

ten.The price of the second cheapest wine is usually increased for this simple psychological reason.

It’s a well-known fact that many people tend to order the second-cheapest wine so they don’t look stingy, but since it’s such a common occurrence, many restaurants actually raise the price. The next time you go to a restaurant, look at the price difference between the cheapest wine and the second cheapest.

Andrea Knowles said: “The average Brit spends £715 on takeaways and restaurants a year. One of the reasons the figure is so high is that restaurants use a variety of tricks to get you to spend the most possible.”