A guide to

Menu PsychologyRestaurant Marketing

Table of contents

Why is marketing so important?

The importance of marketing both your restaurant as well as your holiday park, and how doing so can help attract and retain visitors.

Menu psychology

The psychology of menus and how design, layout, and pricing all subconsciously influence a guest’s decisions.

Restaurant marketing

Fundamental tips and advice on marketing your restaurant according to today’s standards and demands.

Why is marketing
so important

Marketing is crucial to any business, particularly holiday parks and restaurants, as it allows you to raise awareness of your business with your target market.
Effective Marketing Techniques
  • It’s vital that you let potential customers know of your existence and give them reasons as to why they should visit your site and eat at your restaurant in particular.
  • Customers are even more likely to choose your holiday park if they know there is an onsite restaurant where they can enjoy their meals without having to cook!
  • Knowing your value proposition is crucial in the hospitality game.
  • Once you have a sound understanding of your potential customers and what you can offer them, you can utilise techniques in the areas of menu psychology and restaurant marketing to effectively market your business for tangible results.

Menu psychology


This is not just the aesthetic or visual appeal of your menu. Designing a menu that is efficient, pleasing on the eye, and has the ability to draw more patrons to your premises is very important when running a restaurant business.

First of all, design starts with the actual dishes that you have on offer. Design starts with the taste of your food, your specialties, and what ingredients you use.

Tips For A Great Menu Design
  • Locally sourced or seasonal ingredientsIf you use locally sourced or seasonal ingredients, emphasise this. Diners are becoming more conscious of what they consume and knowing food is locally sourced will make it more valuable.
  • Describe your food wellStuff the descriptions with adjectives. A ‘juicy patty made from 100% Australian beef served with crisp organic lettuce and a creamy garlic aioli’ sounds much more appetising than a simple ‘beef burger with aioli’. Describe your items and describe them well.
  • Pictures are importantWe’re talking full colour, professional photographs here and not sloppy, dark photos shot on a camera. Take photos of your most profitable items, display them on the menu, and watch the sales increase.
  • If your veggies are organic, say soThis will make them more enticing. This also adds to the experience for those visiting your holiday park as it ties the local area into the cuisine and allows visitors a more immersive experience.
Layout Pricing

Menu psychology


Your menu should always be laid out in a clear, easy to read format so that diners can understand what’s on offer with no struggle. This is the most basic of tips, of course.

To delve deeper into the psychology of a menu layout, the style and positioning of items can have a great impact on what your customers decide to order.

Tips For A Great Menu Layout
  • Use different fonts to draw attention to certain items and highlight particular ingredients.
  • Ensure everything is large enough to read, particularly if your dinner service has dim lighting.
  • The upper right hand corner of a menu is recognised as the first place a customer’s eyes go when they read a menu. Use this corner to highlight specials or any dishes you particularly wish to sell.
  • Ensure your restaurant name and logo are clearly printed for brand identity, and keep the menu itself simple and ideally on one page so as to allow guests to view the full menu at once.
  • You can split sections on the page by utilising stylistic boxes, different fonts, or even white spaces. Use these boxes and spaces to highlight particular dishes and hide others.

The layout of your menu will make an impression on your customers as it’s their first experience of seeing what you have on offer (almost akin to a marketing flyer). Be careful to ensure that it is user friendly, clear, and concise.

Design Pricing

Menu psychology


From an economic perspective, pricing is also a vital component of your restaurant. In the end, your restaurant is there to make money and if it’s not profitable then there’s simply no point in its being there
Effective Techniques
  • Remove the dollar signThe first rule when noticing down prices on your menu is remove the dollar sign! The sheer presence of this symbol conjures up thoughts of spending money, causing customers to subconsciously focus on the price and not on the dish. This effect is exacerbated by prices placed in columns. Instead, allow your menu items to appeal to the reader, then tell them the price with a simple display of numbers.

Spaghetti Bolognese     5.99


Spaghetti Bolognese - $ 5.99

Tell them the price with a simple display of numbers.

  • Decoy pricingAnother technique employed by some restaurants is that of decoy pricing. This is when an item is added to the menu at a much higher or lower price than the rest of the items, in an attempt to increase sales of the surrounding menu options. Consumer psychology dictates that customers want to feel like they’re getting value, and will rarely go for the cheapest or most expensive items on a menu.

So if your rump steak is the priciest item, consider adding something a little more expensive next to it to boost sales. The rump now looks comparatively cheaper.

You need to ensure when pricing your food that you factor in ingredients, staff, and overheads. Before pricing menu items, therefore, you need to make sure that you have a good understanding of all costs as your restaurant must contribute towards the overall profits of your holiday park. If you’re stuck, knowing competitor’s prices may help you determine ballpark figures. That’s not to say that your items should cost more or be cheaper, but it will help you determine whether it’s worth charging more for higher quality or larger dishes.

The menu for your onsite restaurant is an extremely marketing tool as it’s the one piece of collateral you can guarantee will be read by your customers. Ensure you put in the appropriate efforts into optimising your menu and your message to diners.

It doesn’t end here, however! Once you have an optimised menu you’ll want to turn your attention towards marketing your restaurant on a larger scale.

Design Layout

Restaurant marketing

The latest trends in restaurant marketing focus on the use of technology. Social media, websites, email, and online menus are all things that can help you market your restaurant.
Tips For Use Of Technology
  • Engage with your audienceEnsuring you have a presence on social media and engage well with your audience will set you apart and ensure you’re ‘with the times’.
  • An up to date websiteYour restaurant or holiday park’s website should also be up to date, reliable, and easy to navigate. Many consumers will first judge you by your website, and will also expect to see a sample of your menu online. The added benefit of this is that search engines can index your menu items so you can even benefit from traffic resulting from potential customers searching for their favourite dishes online.
  • Online reviewsOnline review sites have become very popular amongst consumers, and ensuring you stay abreast of what people are saying about your restaurant is another important aspect of restaurant marketing. Deal with negative reviews immediately by responding to customer queries and attempting to make things right.
  • Build a databaseFinally, emails are a great way to build a database of potential customers, whether it be current and/or future. Asking for a customer’s email address in return for offers or deals will allow you to capitalise on another channel in order to drive business and entice customers.

These major methods and considerations, when used appropriately and in combination with one another, can help you retain and increase visitors to your holiday park and restaurant. A well designed and consistent marketing campaign will provide you with consistent exposure and ensure you don’t get left behind.

Fundamentally, it’s also important to remember that you’re running a people based business, and investing in training and providing an amazing experience for your customers is what will build long term value. One day, your holiday park might actually be more recognised for its restaurant than its location!