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Psychological Tricks To Boost Restaurant Sales


Waiter serving the people in restaurant

The restaurant industry is extremely dynamic and competitive in nature. And maintaining restaurant sales is getting increasingly difficult.


While you’re trying your best to cut down food costs, optimize your production process and market your restaurant well you may still not reap the best results if you don’t continuously work towards boosting your restaurant sales.


There are a lot of ways to attract customers and influence them into spending more at your restaurant like social media engagement, menu designing, festival marketing, etc. We are going to focus on consumer psychology in this blog.


Here’s How You Can Use Consumer Psychology To Boost Your Restaurant Sales


1. Sense of scarcity

People hate missing out on things! When some things are only available for a limited time period or in little amounts, people desire them more. Why do you think these sneaker brands produce such limited editions every year?


People immediately feel compelled to act when online shops highlight the number of things that are still in stock because they fear missing out.


Restaurants should also try to incorporate this tactic of creating an “Illusion of Scarcity” into their marketing plans. Take control of people’s FOMO (fear of missing out) and make use of it to draw in more clients. There are numerous efficient methods to implement this:

  • Special ingredient menu items with a limited quantity available

  • Limited period discount or combo offer

  • Exclusive menu with limited serving

  • Seasonal menu items

Always make sure to not take this tactic too far and make it so impossible so that customers won’t even bother.


2. The reciprocity rule

Human tendency says that if someone does you favour then you’re most likely to reciprocate it.

It goes like this: If you offer someone something, they’ll feel compelled or inspired to give you something back as well.


Restaurant owners often use this to encourage diners to buy more food. They might provide complimentary appetizers or drink to the diners during their meal then they are most likely to order more food or revisit your restaurant again.


If you’re lucky enough they might also give your restaurant a 5-star review or spread good words about your restaurant around.


It’s a subtle benefit that will ultimately lead to increased customer satisfaction and restaurant sales.


3. The affect heuristic

This psychological trick is a mental shortcut that allows people to make decisions and solve problems quickly and efficiently, in which emotion—fear, pleasure, surprise, etc influences decisions more than facts or data.


When diners visit restaurants all they are looking for is food to feed their hungry stomachs, enjoy the experience and have fun, they don’t make decisions based on facts and data.


Therefore, you need to ensure that their emotions stay positive towards your restaurant. If they are enticed by your menu items, interior, staff and services they are most likely to feel comfortable and order more.


4. The loss aversion principle

This cognitive bias explains that individuals feel the pain of loss twice as intensively as the pleasure of gain.


As a restaurant owner, you can use this tactic to make people feel that they are missing out on something that they shouldn’t.


For instance, if you offer free dessert on meals over $ 30 then customers would think that they ideally spend more than $ 30 in your restaurant then why not go again and get a free dessert on it as well? This will compel them to re-visit your restaurant even if they weren’t planning to which will eventually help you retain customers and drive up the restaurant sales as well.


5. The sunk-cost bias

People are more likely to spend money on things they’ve already invested in, even if it’s not the best option.


The sunk-cost fallacy says that we are focused on our past investments instead of our present and future costs and benefits, meaning that we commit ourselves to decisions that may no longer be in our best interests.


For instance, 30 mins into the movie you realize that the movie is bad or doesn’t interest you but you would still continue to finish it as you have already invested your 30 mins into it.


Similarly, restaurants will tell you that your current bill amount is $ 50 and if you add something more worth $ 20 then you will get free delivery or dessert or appetizer on it. Which compels you to buy one more item even if you’re not that hungry just to get that free item on your bill.


This classic psychology trick will help you boost your restaurant sales or upsell menu items.

Apart from these psychological tricks, a Smart Restaurant Website can also help you in giving your restaurant sales a boost, cut down on food costs and understand your customers’ buying patterns better. With the help of advanced features and data analysis of the software, you can understand what works best for your restaurant business.


Hope this helps you in understanding your customers’ purchasing behavior and helps you increase your restaurant sales.


Let us know in the comments if we have missed out on any other psychological trick.