Ways restaurants get you to spend more money


Published March 11, 2014

| The Daily Meal

Ways restaurants get you to spend more money

Ways restaurants get you to spend more money

It’s all about the upsell.

“Still or Sparkling?”

When you sit down, the first question you’re asked is what kind of water you want. You’re guided towards ordering bottled water (sometimes they don’t even give you the option of tap), and those bottles can be expensive. So unless you’re someplace where the quality of the water is extremely questionable, you’ll be fine with tap. 

“Can I start you off with a cocktail?”

Servers usually ask this question within 10 seconds of greeting customers, so diners are unprepared and haven’t even had a chance to look over the cocktail list to get a sense of the prices. Ask for some more time: it’ll help slow down the pace of the meal and will give you a chance to realize that your martini will set you back $16.

“We have some specials this evening…”

It’s rare when a server actually tells you the price of the daily specials, which more often than not are more expensive than most listed menu items. Always ask the price of a special before ordering it, and also remember that many specials are nothing special; they’re just thrown together using leftover ingredients they’re trying to get rid of.

“I would recommend the 2006...”

Restaurants rake in the dough from wine sales, and have some sneaky ways to get you to spend more money on wine than you planned. Many diners are too embarrassed to order the least expensive bottle on the list, so they’ll opt for the second-least expensive. Restaurants know this, so they tend to place the biggest markup on that very bottle (meaning that its wholesale price very well might be less than the least-expensive bottle). Also, they’ll guide you toward a more expensive bottle under the pretense that it will work better with the food you ordered.

See more ways restaurants get you to spend big.

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