Mental Anchoring, Do It And Get Higher Check Averages

A number of years ago I came across some research done by American Demographics. And at first blush it seemed more amusing than anything. According to the research, the one time people are most likely to spend the most money at a restaurant is the day they buy their home. The thinking is: “I’m already $300,000.00 in debt. What’s another hundred bucks?” So they order a more expensive food item to celebrate.

All by itself, that bit of information may not seem all that impressive. Plus, it’s not very often that people buy homes even in good times, not to mention our current economy. However, when you couple that bit of information with the fact, and it is a fact, that the hardest item to sell on any menu is the most expensive item ... then it becomes valuable. So if the steak and lobster is your highest-priced item, it sells less than many of the other items on the menu. And in many cases, it sells dead last.

Here’s the rub, though. It’s probably the single item in your restaurant that offers the best plate contribution. Plate contribution being the total dollars a given item offers the bank. Many restaurant operators get hung up on food cost percentages, and while that’s somewhat important, in the big picture, what really matters is increasing your revenue per available plate sold.

Now here’s how this can help you: just by offering an arbitrary item on your menu that is more expensive than the currently most expensive item, you will get a substantial lift in sales of the most expensive item on your menu. So if you just take the most expensive item and double the order for twice the money, the single order will suddenly start to sell. And the cool thing for you is the most expensive item on your menu is, in all likelihood, your best potential to increase your profit potential.

Victoria house didn’t embrace the idea either, so I used the center-cut pork T-bone and BBQ ribs to help mental anchor. Victoria House had two sizes of ribs to begin with, and they already offered single and double pork chops, so by adding a rack and a half of ribs for 31.99, and triple pork chops for 27.99, we were able to take some of the down-pressure off the higher price points.

Views: 4

Tags: developement, marketing, matrix, menu, pricing, restaurant


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Mark on January 20, 2010 at 8:27am
Thanks Paul - it does work on its own, but you're exactly right, it also helps to have the servers promote it, too.

Comment by Paul Paz on January 20, 2010 at 4:20am
Interesting strategy.
This would require educating the staff on this strategy... unless of course it works all by itself. Restaurant FOH marketing and sales training is notably absent in most restaurants other than making sure the SOP steps of service include the banal ivitations to alcoholic beverages, appetizers, and desserts.
Again, interesting strategy.




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Customer traffic levels behind RPI decline

Softer customer traffic resulted in the Restaurant Performance Index registering a moderate decline in June.  -More

Subway tops social media index, Chipotle bumped from Top 10

Digital CoCo's Restaurant Social Media Index determined the top digital influencers for the second quarter, with Subway retai -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Main Event Entertainment to Open First Center in the Rio Grande Valley

Main Event Entertainment, the fastest-growing family entertainment center in America, is celebrating its new center opening in Pharr, Texas, a suburb near McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley. Doors will open to the public at 9 a.m. on August 6.

Darden Announces Leadership Succession Plan

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announced that Clarence Otis is stepping down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Darden's Board of Directors has appointed the Company's current Independent Lead Director, Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr., as Independent Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. The Company also announced that it has amended its corporate governance policies to provide for the separation of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer roles.

National Restaurant Association Statement on NLRB Joint Employer Decision

Today the National Restaurant Association issued the following statement regarding the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision asserting McDonald’s Corporation is a joint employer of its franchisees:

National Restaurant Association Issues Support for Clearer ACA Definition of Seasonal Employment

The bipartisan legislation will align the definitions of seasonal employment in the Affordable Care Act and streamline the applicable large employer determination process.

Rising India, Inc. Announces Acquisition Strategy Toward a Sizable Slice of the QSR Pizza Pie

Rising India, Inc. (OTC: RSII), announces today it will immediately begin work toward the acquisition of up to 5 profitable stores in the popular Quick Serve Pizza Restaurant segment. Current targets are currently earning about $450,000 in revenues per year, per store. Acquisition of targets would provide immediate cash flow identified from profitable longstanding, absentee owner operations with proven model success.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service