Cook Tube

A man reading a menu

How diners read menus is the subject of much research and debate. Photograph: Tim Klein /Getty
 
Some restaurant menus can tell the diner as much about themselves as what’s for dinner

Restaurateurs and those who advise them have long argued that people read menus in predictable ways. The received wisdom holds that a diner will start on the right-hand side of a menu, a little way above the middle, before zooming up to the top right-hand corner. Then he’ll jump backwards to the top left and down the left-hand page, then finally fill in the gaps in the bottom-right and the middle.

Not so, apparently. New research from San Francisco State university claims to overturn this notion. Once they had hooked people’s heads up to computers, presented them with menus and studied their eye movements, the researchers found that participants read menus sequentially from left to right, like books…

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