Like the Food Better? Eat at a Higher-Priced Restaurant

I suppose it shouldn't surprise us.  But a new survey has found that we tend to think the food's better when we pay more for it at a restaurant.

The study suggests taste perception, as well as feelings of overeating and guilt, can be manipulated by price alone, according to
“We were fascinated to find that pricing has little impact on how much one eats, but a huge impact on how you interpret the experience,” the Web site quotes Brian Wansink, Ph.D., a professor at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University who oversaw the research. “Simply cutting the price of food at a restaurant dramatically affects how customers evaluate and appreciate the food.”

The study showed that customers who pay more at a restaurant buffet perceive the food as tastier than the same food offered at a lower price.

Those in the study who paid $8 for a buffet reported enjoying their food on average 11 percent more than those who paid $4, though the two groups ate the same amount of food overall. People who paid the lower price also more often reported feeling like they had overeaten, felt more guilt about the meal, and reported liking the food less and less throughout the course of the meal, newswise reports.
“We were surprised by the striking pattern we saw,” said Ozge Sigirci, a researcher at Cornell University Food and Brand Lab who conducted the study. “If the food is there, you are going to eat it, but the pricing very much affects how you are going to feel about your meal and how you will evaluate the restaurant.”
I don't know.  I get pretty annoyed when I go to a restaurant and spend a fair amount, and find the food only minimally pleasing.  
What do the experts say? “If you’re a consumer and want to eat at a buffet, the best thing to do is eat at the most expensive buffet you can afford. You won’t eat more, but you’ll have a better experience overall,” said Wansink.


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