Foams, reductions and dusts, it’s no secret that menu terminology is used to seduce the diner and enhance their dining experience. How about menu fonts?
Can fonts paint a picture of the dish you are ordering – or is it just superfluous decoration?
“A suggestion of broiled sea scallops draped over diced cabbage”
“Veloute of flattened duck breast presented with buttered samphire”
It’s actually legitimate! Studies have shown that the typography you choose on your menus can also alter diners perceptions of dishes.
“Small print, cursive fonts and incomprehensive language all infer that the menu is elaborate and complicated.”
In a paper published in Psychological Science, Hyunjin Song and Norbert Schwarz suggest that small changes in menu fonts can significantly alter people’s perceptions of dishes’ complexity and value. They tested diners responses when asked to summarise dishes – those who read the menu in a hard to read font rather than a simple Arial font were more likely to state that the dish was hard to prepare and required great skill.
The report concluded with the recommendation that if restaurant owners want to give consumers the impression that their food is complex and of special value, they should consider styling their menu accordingly.
With that said, the words used to describe the food are equally as important as the fonts. A recent article in BBC Future covered not just fonts, but words and the whole psychology of the ordering experience.
Words have tremendous power over our food choice. Giving dishes descriptive names can increase sales by up to 27% in some cases. After all, a “grass-fed Aberdeen Angus fillet with thick-cut rosemary fries” sounds much more appetising than a simple “steak and chips”, does it not?