Dr. Oz: Are Restaurant Menus Tricking Us?
Dr. Oz talked on his show about how restaurant menus are designed to coax us into ordering certain meals. Karen Page, author of Dining Out. came by Dr. Oz to talk about this troubling issue. She said there’s an industry called menu engineering that’s based on the principles of design and consumer psychology that makes you order more profitable items on the menu.
Dr. Oz: Upper Right Hand Corner Items
Karen Page said the upper right hand corner of the menu tends to be the first place your eye goes. It’s also the last place you’ll find a healthy menu item. Make sure to scan the whole menu to find what you want to find and discover the more healthy choices.
Dr. Oz: Avoid the Bundle
You also want to avoid the bundle, where foods are put together in categories. This is the classic fast food combo of a sandwich, fries, and a drink. More and more regular restaurants are doing this now. People go for them for convenience and to save some money, but you end up ordering a lot more food than you would otherwise.
She suggested people create their own bundle. Dr. Oz pointed out that if you order a meal and a dessert comes with it and you didn’t know until it’s time for dessert, you’re probably going to eat it even though you wouldn’t have in the beginning.
Dr. Oz: Bold Font & Chef Specials
Restaurants also dupe people by creating Chef Specials, with bold and colorful fonts, along with pictures. This is what the restaurants want you to order. So if you go in planning on a salad and end up buying a chicken-fried steak, this could be why. Often these areas of the menu will use the color red, because it’s a color that tends to stimulate your appetite.
Dr. Oz: Descriptive Language Can Be Misleading
The menu will also use descriptive language that don’t mean anything, like “Maryland-style Crab Cake”. They’ll also use something like “mom’s secret recipe” or “grandma’s secret recipe,” making you think this is special and you can’t get it anywhere else. She also warned against crispy, crunchy, and buttery, because those words mean the meal is higher in calories.
Dr. Oz: Order From The Middle
Karen Page said you should order from the middle of the menu, because that’s where you’re more likely to find the salads and nutrient-rich dishes. She also said these tend to be the most flavorful dishes on the menu.