An intriguing survey by the Culinary Institute of America sheds light on factors that make us spend more at a restaurant.
Researchers tested how much visitors to the Culinary Institute of America’s St. Andrew’s Cafe in Hyde Park, N.Y., spent when menus listed prices in numerals with dollar signs, numerals without dollar signs and wheN the numbers were written out as words.
Their hypothesis was that people would spend more when prices were listed as words, but they found it was the menu without currency symbols that led to customers running up the check.
The researchers surmised that removing the dollar sign helped disassociate the numbers from an actual price, discouraging customers from tabulating the check in their head.
There's more at the link.
Intriguing. I wouldn't have thought that the mere presence or absence of a dollar sign would make that much of a difference. I'll have to watch my own behavior in restaurants to see whether I react in this way as well.