How to save money the next time you go out for dinner by knowing the science of the menu

DENVER - Are you ever baffled by the bill when you go out to dinner? You think to yourself, "how could I have possibly spent this much money?" It's no mystery to restaurant consultants. They use a mix of science and psychology to plan the perfect menu, persuading you to spend more than you planned.

You can save money the next time the check comes by being aware of these three sneaky menu mind-tricks.

Expensive items to make the cheaper, yet still overpriced, options seem more reasonably priced.
When you see that double-digit price tag next to a cheeseburger, keep in mind that most businesses don't expect you to buy it. Rather, these dishes are bait that make everything else near it look relatively cheaper.

No dollar signs
Ever wonder why the cost of a pizza is $11 at one pizzerias and 11 at another? Leaving dollar signs off the price is a calculated move. Researchers from Cornell University found that customers who ordered from a menu with dollar signs spent significantly less money because it reminded them of their finances.

Ethnic terms make food seem more appealing
The restaurant may not offer ethnic food, but their menus appropriate the language. Oxford's Experimental Psychology Department found that ethnic or geographical words, like Tuscan or Venetian, focus attention on a particular feature of a dish. Some diners even report tasting flavors and textures that aren't there.

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