Even though there are more and more high quality restaurants in Hungary, unfortunately, there are still some places that try to draw us into spending more money than we normally would with sneaky tricks. Penzcentrum.hu collected some of these tricks so that the next time you’re in a restaurant, you’ll know what to watch carefully.

When on vacation, we tend to indulge in going to restaurants more often. You should keep in mind the following points on these occasions as there are many tricks that routinish restaurants use to hustle us into spending much more than we would want to. Here come the sneakiest techniques!

They forget to list the currency

You can see menus where they forgot to write the currency after the prices. This is never an accident since if the guests don’t see the currency, they basically forget that they are spending money. We are more probable to spend on something if we don’t realise that it is money after all, and we can also concentrate on the food.

Chicanery with numbers

Most prices end on a 9 in Hungarian shops (e.g. 199 forints). When we look at these prices we immediately know that the product costs more than we would think at first. This is why using number 5 as an ending is much more affective (e.g. 195 forints) because people will find this menu much more friendly and familiar.

Detailed description of the food

According to some research, we find food with detailed, witty descriptions much more attractive than food with simple description. Some surveys have shown that marketing can be increased with 27% when restaurants give detailed descriptions. Nicely phrased sentences whet our appetite just by reading them.

“Granny’s cake”

Restaurants are well aware that there’s nothing better than mom’s or granny’s cooking. They try to manipulate us with the power of nostalgia in some namings since who wouldn’t want to relive the beloved tastes of their childhood? So we are more prone to buy “grandma’s hearty homemade cookies”.


Highlighting on the menu

If they highlight some meals more than others, for instance, they use different characters or add a photo of the meal, then we’ll feel that this meal is special and we might even want to try it.

Expensive vs. cheap

It looks very good on the menu if they have some expensive food as well. We probably won’t order them but we’ll think that the cheaper prices are good deals compared to them, so we’ll be glad to pay for them.

Small portion or big portion?

In most restaurants guests can choose between big or small portions. But consumers have no idea how big the small portion is and as it is cheaper, they might think that it is better value for their money. And the aim of the restaurants is to sell the smaller portion as they only use big portions for comparison. Also, since the bigger portion is more expensive, guests will feel like they made a good deal by paying less.


The importance of the order

The order of the meals on the menu is not irrelevant at all. They usually have separate sections for poultry, pork, vegetarian meals and desserts. Research has shown that people tend to choose the first option so it’s no surprise that restaurants start the sections with the meals that return the most profit.

No need for too much choices

If there are too many meals on the menu to choose from, then we can easily get indecisive and we’ll doubt our final decision. It is much more effective if there’s only 6, or a maximum of 10 options in one category.

The importance of music

According to the researchers of Leicester University, people spend much more money in restaurants with classical music, because the music makes them feel much wealthier. On the other hand, we tend to spend 10% less in restaurants where pop music is playing.

Copy editor: bm

Source: http://www.penzcentrum.hu/

  1. This is a very negative item. Travellers who want to explore other parts of the world, are naturally curious and would question anything which did not feel “right”. Personally, I set a budget and we spend it! This is no different wherever we travel, including the many times my wife and I visit Hungary. If we have been to a restaurant and the food is good, the service is good and the surroundings pleasant, obviously we would return! However, if we kept going back to the same places to eat and drink, we might as well stay at home and go to our local pub.
    This year when we visit Budapest, we will be adventurous and check out the “ruin bars”
    We have seen good service and very bad service in Budapest but mostly in shops and this is where you should focus your criticism!
    Even so, this is usually down to the language barrier. Köszönöm.

  2. Restaurants the world over do exactly the same. Tourist restaurants and restaurants for locals alike. This list is nothing unique to Hungary. The best rule to find a good restaurant when travelling is wander off the tourist streets. In Budapest that basically means avoiding anywhere in and around the Vaci utca.

  3. You really have to be living under a rock to not know about these things. But you have left out one of the most important methods restaurants use — taking drink orders as soon as you sit down at the table. Beverages, especially those with alcohol, are the among the highest-margin items on the menu. Bringing your drink at the very start of your visit means there is a better chance you will order another drink by the time your food comes. (Interestingly, I am constantly surprised in Hungary how many servers don’t immediately ask if you want another drink when your glass is empty. These restaurants are losing lots of money!)

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