Nothing says healthy home-cooking like … good handwriting?
Restaurants that use a menu typeface with a human touch have a better shot at appealing to health-conscious customers, a new study out of The Ohio State University finds. When menus appear to be handwritten — as opposed to printed up in a standard font — diners believe that the food will be better for their bodies.
Researchers offered the study’s 185 participants two different menus for a made-up restaurant called “Riley’s Kitchen” — one done up in the popular font Helvetica, and the other in a folksier, scribbly typeface. Half of the patrons were told the restaurant featured “locally grown, non-GMO, antibiotic-free ingredients.” The rest were just handed a menu.
Across the board, the would-be diners — who ranged in age from 20 to 84 — felt that the latter option corresponded with healthier food, even though the actual menu items were identical.
That’s because an attractive scrawl “feels to the customer like there is more heart, more effort, and more love in it,” the study’s co-author Stephanie Liu said in a statement.
The researchers found that when customers believed the menu contained “love,” they were more likely to interact with the restaurant’s brand on social media — and make return visits, Liu said.
However, an appetizingly handmade font or snazzy chalkboard menu won’t work for just any eatery.
The menu items themselves have to come off as nutritious and ingredient-centric in order for the trick to work, explained Liu, whose study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Business Research.
“This wouldn’t apply to a fast-food brand that sells low-quality hamburgers,” she said.