You’ve reduced your portion size of fries, so what’s next? How do you make sure your customers are happy and come back for more?
Tip 1 of 3: Change it up!
We aren’t very accurate at estimating size changes. We underestimate portion size increases and think the increase is smaller than it really is. When a portion is doubled (a 100% increase) we estimate the increase as being only 50% to 70% bigger. This means super-sized portions aren’t judged as being as excessive as they actually are. Take a look at Chandon’s 2013 paper for more on this (see bottom of page).
However, we are much more accurate when judging how much smaller a portion gets. This means if you reduce a portion size, it is highly likely your customers will notice. Let’s say Joe Bloggs orders a burger and fries from your pub every week at his regular family get together, and then one week, the portion of fries has noticeably shrunk. Poor Joe is going to feel understandably shortchanged. The experience may leave such a negative memory that he then associates your food establishment with being money grabbing, or taking away his free will to eat what he wants, and his family might decide to try eating somewhere else next week instead.
One way to overcome this is to change it up. Make the plate look completely different to before. This will distract the eye and make it difficult to accurately judge the change in portion size of fries. You could serve the fries in baskets instead of on the plate, such as these from Amazon.
Or you could change what you serve the meal on, such as changing the size or shape of your plate, or presenting your food in a creative or novel way. For example, introducing a retro burger basked instead of serving on your usual white plate. There are many dishwasher safe versions of these on Amazon.
Not only will Joe Bloggs not notice the portion of fries has shrunk, but he may also be really impressed with the novel new presentation! Follow us on social media to find out our next #ShapeItTopTips.
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Chandon, P. (2013). How Package Design and Packaged-based Marketing Claims Lead to Overeating. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 35(1), pp. 7-31.