7 ways psychology plays a role in designing a Michelin star restaurant (wine) menu

May 20, 2019 •

2 min reading

How to design a Michelin star restaurant (wine) menu?


We gained insights into the EHL’s Michelin-star restaurant: Le Berceau des Sens and found 7 easy ideas to impress your boss at the next meeting.

1. Less is more

One might think that the more choice a customer has, the more likely s/he is to find the right product that meets his needs, and the more likely s/he is to be satisfied with the purchase. A famous jam study shows that satisfaction and ease in decision-making is more likely when confronted with a narrower choice option. Therefore, think about limiting your options! A Michelin star restaurant requires some choice. But the menu should be relatively short and well organized into distinct categories to limit hesitations.

2. Sparkling comes first

As Coco Channel famously said “I only drink champagne on two occasions: when I am in love, and when I am not.” As an aperitif, champagne should come first on a menu. Moreover, if people start their aperitif with a bottle of champagne, studies show that they are likely to continue drinking with their meals.

3. Cheaper by comparison

By putting forward expensive wines on a menu, customers will tend to find other prices cheaper by comparison and will be more likely to spend more. Ultimately, customers will be willing to spend more if the menu offers relatively expensive prices.

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4. Use cheaper wines to promote others

Psychologically speaking, people who go to fancy restaurants will not tend to buy the cheapest wines, regardless of the cost of that wine. Subconsciously, they will go for the ones right above the cheapest one offered on the menu. Therefore, make sure that the wines offering your restaurant the highest margin are accompanied by one cheaper wine.

5. No dollar sign

Studies have shown that menus without dollar signs incite customers to spend more, as they are not reminded of the money they are spending. Therefore, do not put the currency on your menu.

6. No cents

Most of the restaurant’s revenue comes from alcohol and spirits. Therefore your wine menu should be carefully priced to offer you the best margins possible. As a result, you do not have to overwhelm customer decisions by including cents on the price list.

7. Organize the wine list by region rather than price

By organizing the wine list by region rather than price, customers will focus on the product rather than the price. Furthermore, organizing a menu list by region makes it much easier to read for customers and facilitates the decision-making process they go through when selecting their wine.


Authors: Juliette Billette de Villemeur and Carole Hauser, EHL EMBA Students

Written by
Carole Hauser
Written by
Carole Hauser