Restaurants use ‘sneaky tricks’ to increase food bill – from fast music to alcohol

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The average Brit spends £715 on takeaways and dining out per year, but they should not have to sacrifice luxuries that make them feel good. Therefore, Andrea Knowles, personal finance expert at has shared her tips for families and individuals to make the most of their money when eating out.

The experts branded the advice as “10 sneaky tricks restaurants use to make you spend more money”.

It is worth looking out for these in order to save money on meals.

The personal finance expert noted that many restaurants make customers drink at the bar before a meal if their table is not yet ready.

However, drinking alcohol before eating could lead to getting tipsy, which is likely to make people buy more drinks and blow their budget.

Andrea recommended arriving at a restaurant on time to avoid drinking at the bar.

The expert went on to explain that restaurants play certain music to make diners eat quicker at lunch, or slower if they’re fine dining.

It is worth being aware of this, to ensure that the music doesn’t influence how much you spend at a restaurant.

A restaurant’s lighting is also used to influence a diner’s experience.

Bright lighting can be used in an attempt to get people in and out of the door faster, while softer mood lighting is likely to make diners spend more time at the restaurant, and, in turn, spend more money.

Even the fact that waiters and waitresses request a diner’s drink order as soon as they sit down can influence their spending.

It is worth looking at the menu first before ordering a drink straight away, making sure you know which drink you’d like and avoiding paying for one that is overpriced.

According to Andrea, restaurants highlight their most expensive meal on the menu to make everything else look cheaper.

This is a technique used to make people spend more money, and so it is again worth being aware of it.

Using set menus is another “sneaky trick” employed by restaurants – these menus makes it feel like diners are getting more bang for their buck, but this tactic can in fact make them spend more money than they normally would.

Interestingly, restaurants use smaller plates to make it seem like customers are getting their money’s worth.

Smaller plates allow more table space for drinks and decorations, such as a plant or a candle.

Andrea concluded by focusing on the wine list.

Customers usually go for the second-cheapest wine, thinking it may be better than the cheapest – or to avoid seeming “stingy”.

However, since this is such a common occurrence, many restaurants hike the price of the second-cheapest wine up.

Andrea recommended making sure to look at the difference in price between the cheapest and second-cheapest wine before ordering.

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