Menu wording adds value to meals

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Menus, which feature words like ‘recommended’ and ‘finest’ to describe dishes, will command a higher price, according to new research.

Analysis of the UK’s top 122 restaurant menus has found some specific descriptive words can result in the average price of a dish more than doubling – up from around £10 to £24.45, when a meal is described as ‘recommended’.

The research, which was carried out by MCA and interpreted by our Consumer Insight team, also shows the number of words used to describe dishes relates to increasingly higher prices.

If a restaurant uses more than ten descriptive words including terms such as ‘fresh’, ‘sweet’, ‘warm’ and ‘classic’, the bill could escalate by almost £10 compared to the use of just one word.

Consumer Insight Analyst Grace Randall believes the new research can now be adopted by the food service industry to help increase revenue and drive sales.

She added: “When you use words such as recommended, finest and matured, it paints a certain image of the dish which promises mouth-watering meals and an overall better eating experience.

“This new research shows that diners are willing to spend more if they believe the meal will be of a superior taste and standard. While eating healthy is a trend, the main reason for eating out is for the ‘treat’ element. By honing into this consumer need, restaurants have the opportunity to capitalise on their high end dishes.”

AHDB Quality Schemes Manager Karl Pendlebury, said: “Restaurants, pubs and food service businesses across the country invest time in sourcing quality produce and developing innovative dishes, yet this research shows if that dish is not described in a way with encourages, entices and tempts customers to try it – it won’t command a premium.

“In addition to the words which command top prices, those which conjure an image of how the dish will taste or what its texture will be like, helps to attract customers.”

To find out more information on the Quality Standard Mark visit qsmbeefandlamb.co.uk or our Consumer Insight work, visit ahdb.org.uk/consumerinsight.