The Menu Magician

Gregg Rapp knows just how to influence what you order

It is dinnertime at a candlelit Mediterranean eatery, and Gregg Rapp is busily devouring ... the menu. He nibbles first at the design, evaluating its overall clarity. He then savors the food descriptions--ravioli with shaved truffles, breaded tenderloin piccata--locating words that give a sense of a dish's flavors and textures. Next he looks to see whether prices are integrated into the text or standing alone by the right-hand margin. Rapp gives our menu a passing grade: the descriptions are laden with helpful adjectives, and the prices are unobtrusive. But a pattern on the paper makes a couple of the entrées difficult...

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