Handwritten Fonts On Menus Have This Surprising Effect

Published on July 26, 2019
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Most people don’t think much about a restaurant’s menu beyond glancing around to find something to eat. However, you’d be surprised at just how much a restaurant’s menu can affect the diner’s psyche, even subconsciously.

Handwritten Chalk Menu
Handwritten Chalk Menu

Now, everyone can agree that the length of the menu is extremely important. Too short — then there aren’t enough options. Then there’s a menu that’s too long: aka anxiety and inability to choose something to eat at all. But that’s not all…

A recent study has found that even the menu’s font can affect a diner’s perception of the food and the restaurant as a whole. The most interesting find was that diners would associate better food with a menu with handwritten font.

Stephanie Liu, Consumer Sciences Assistant Professor at the University of Ohio, has conducted a study that has found that using handwritten fonts that featured imperfection were generally more favored. The fonts were even equated by the diners with higher food quality, the perceived healthiness of the food, and increased engagement on social media sharing.

Handwritten Seasonal Menu
Handwritten Seasonal Menu

As written in the abstract of the paper, published in the Journal of Business Research, “The results show that handwritten typeface creates a competitive advantage by conveying a sense of human touch, which subsequently induces the perception that love is symbolically imbued in the restaurant’s offerings.”

Liu continued, “The handwritten typeface conveys love, and that sense of human touch feels even more salient. It feels to the customer like there is more heart, more effort, and more love in it, even though it doesn’t cost any more money.”

However, Liu makes the distinction that the restaurant already has to have food that is marketed or perceived as being healthy for this to take effect. She stated, “This wouldn’t apply to a fast-food brand that sells low-quality hamburgers.”

Handwritten Menu
Handwritten Menu

She credited this to the sense of a human connection, “As a marketing strategy, customers are just subconsciously processing information, and they feel that human touch in the letters on the menu. And they feel that the restaurant put more effort into the design of this menu and they are getting this product to you with more care.”

What do you think? Do you agree with the results of the study?