Should Restaurants Start Giving Us Fewer Choices?



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To be on the safe side, it might be best to consider going out and eating your favorite restaurant meal sooner rather than later. If your go-to local eatery follows the example of the big fast-casual chains and advice from the restaurant-management service Upserve, it will dramatically scale back the number items offered on its menu. How dramatically? By around 70 percent.

That’s because, according to data compiled by Upserve, only 16 percent of the items on a typical restaurant menu account for a startling 80 percent of its sales, Eater reports.

Consequently, a bigger menu may not be better for a restaurant’s bottom line, Rosie Atkins, Upserve’s vice president for product told Eater. She recommends that restaurateurs, in the name of efficiency, assess each menu item’s popularity and experiment with eliminating those that are neither big sellers nor essential to the restaurant’s brand.

It isn’t the first time Upserve has preached a minimalist approach to menu design. It recommends limiting options to no more than seven menu items per category (appetizer, entree, dessert). “The best restaurant menus account for the theory of ‘paradox of choice,’” the company has noted. “The more options we have, the more anxiety we feel.”

Upserve also advises against the use of dollar signs (too painful), small font sizes (too hard to read) and giant formats (too unwieldy) as well as the overuse of photos. (One photo per page is apparently ideal.) It also suggests restaurants provide plenty of white space around high-profit-margin items, in order to attract customers’ attention.

Of course, all that white space won’t be a problem if restaurants cut 70 percent of their menu items in the name of minimalism.

Photo: iStock

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