I've never met a restaurateur that rubs his hands together and laughs an evil laugh because you've just ordered the steak. But somehow in our value-obsessed universe, we've decided that breaking down the psychology of restaurant menus is critical to make sure that said restaurateur, who has an average salary of $36,000 a year according to SimplyHired, doesn't get one over on us.
A recent piece on Moneyning looks at the five ways you can decode a menu to make sure you get the best value in what you're ordering. While the idea that a restaurant is trying to push high-margin dishes is absolutely true, it shouldn't affect what you order at all.
There are only two steps you need to perform when you go out to dinner. First, order what sounds good. Second, decide if what you ordered is worth the price of what you pay when the check arrives.
Whether a steak is $20 or $30 on a menu is irrelevant until you've actually eaten that steak. Great meals are worth more of your paycheck. Eating out is about the excitement of eating out. And if a menu has you excited about dinner, that's a good thing. Plus, it's still up to a restaurant to deliver on the promise of what's being offered.
Restaurants depend on repeat business. And that means that they can't consistently overcharge. If you think a meal was worth less than what you paid, you probably won't go back. It's time we stopped searching for the hidden value on menus and instead looked to value what we have on the plate in front of us.
[Image via Flickr: Randy OHC]