3 secrets restaurants use to make you eat more

When we sit in a restaurant, we relax into the ambiance, the music, the lighting. The delicious aroma of a rustic vegetarian pizza lures us in. The atmosphere lulls us into comfort, as their playlist becomes our playlist. The lighting is dimmed to “just right.” We sit back, relax and let the restaurant work its magic. (By the way, you need to see this underwater restaurant.)

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3 Secrets Restaurants Use to Make You Eat More
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3 Secrets Restaurants Use to Make You Eat More

Menu Science

Did you know that menu engineers and consultants are a thing? Yes, these are real jobs. And when it comes to creating a strategy to get diners to eat more, they start with the menu. For many restaurants, each element of the menu is an form of advertising thought out by these savvy food experts. Especially pricing. You see, restaurants don’t actually want us to think about spending money. So menu engineers use techniques, such as removing zeros at the end of their prices, to put us at ease. If a dish cost $12.00, for example, they may remove the .00. These extra numbers apparently remind us of how much the meal will actually cost, according to a study conducted by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. The less you think you’re spending, the more you’ll eat.

Eliminating dollar signs altogether is another crafty tactic. But remind yourself: A number is still a number. So whether the menu says $12, $12.00 or 12, order what you like, but remember you’ll have to break out the bills or plastic eventually. (Here are some other simple tricks to save money when you’re at a restaurant.)

Color Me Hungry

Another way restaurants get us to eat is to use warm colors, such as yellow, red and orange, which have proved to make people feel hungrier. And when we’re hungry, we want to dig into comfort foods, which is why so many fast-food chains have red and yellow in their branding. (Here’s the best American comfort food in your state.) Conversely, there are restaurants that center on purple, green, and blue hues. These cool colors act as appetite suppressants, so if you’re watching your weight, you may want to steer toward one of these spots.

Desserts to the Right

Ordering from the salad menu or lighter-bite options can make you feel as if you’re making a healthier choice. But beware: These dishes are often positioned on the left side of the menu. As your eye automatically shifts to the right, you see the desserts. (Raspberry Chocolate Cake, anyone?) Because you’ve only had a salad, ordering a sweet treat won’t hurt. Genius, right?

To avoid being duped, just wait 20 minutes after you’ve eaten before ordering dessert. That’s how long it takes to feel full. Do this and you might find that you’ve had enough while also saving yourself money and inches. (Here are a bunch of other secrets your server isn’t telling you.)

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Yes, there are things going on inside of restaurants that you may not have consciously realized. They know their target audience well. Restaurateur Danny Meyer says in The New York Times, “The chef’s write the music and the menu becomes the lyrics.” When a restaurant owner tells you this, it’s worth paying attention. After all, there is a psychology involved in many aspects of restaurant dining. Here are the most-surprising tactics restaurants are using to trick you into eating more.

RELATED: Server confessions 

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15 server confessions that will make you gag
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15 server confessions that will make you gag
"I'm a waitress and when I was taking a salad to a table, I noticed a long black hair on it. I didn't say anything and when I came back the whole salad was gone."
"I'm a server, and when really attractive guys leave, I lick their straw silverware so it's like I kissed them."
"I work as a server at a restaurant that doesn't serve ginger ale. Whenever a customer asks for it, I just mix sprite and coke. No complaints yet."
"When they make me clean toilets at work I use the same towel to clean the tables!! I'm a server not a toilet scrubber!"
"I'm a server... When people ask me for low fat ranch, I always give them regular ranch. If you were really trying to diet, you wouldn't eat ranch at all."

"I'm a waitress and one time at work these guys kept calling my coworker fat so I filled their cups with toilet water and spat in their food."

"I'm a server and one time I stuck my tongue in a guy's juice to see if it went bad in the fridge. He drank all of it afterwards."
"I'm a server, when a customer is rude I pick my nose and dip my finger in their drink before giving it to them. It makes it worth it to keep serving them."
"I work at a pretty rowdy bar and one night I was collecting empty glasses and found a torn piece of ear in a glass - someone must of grabbed the person by the ear and got stuck to the earring."
"I work at a pretty rowdy bar and one night I was collecting empty glasses and found a torn piece of ear in a glass - someone must of grabbed the person by the ear and got stuck to the earring."
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