13 October 2018


Years in the making, it has finally arrived! 

Get yours at your favorite book store or directly via this link: 

We find restaurant menus everywhere. But we know little about how they work. In May We Suggest, I investigate how they try (and sometimes fail) to influence what we buy, how we dine, and how we feel about both. 

In 77 visits to 60 restaurant brands of all types throughout the greater Los Angeles area, I asked: How does a menu’s size, structure, imagery, language, materials, and pricing dictate what we buy or how we compose a meal? Does a fine-dining table menu try to hook us the same way as a signboard over a fast-food counter or a mobile-ordering app? What convinces us that one menu has enough choice and another too much or not enough? Along the way, I show how menus of differing styles operate. I also uncover what rhetoric works when, where, and why. 

You will not find a book about restaurant menus quite like this. I define restaurant menus in an expansive way, considering spoken variants, displays of real food, and digital varieties--not just sheets of paper and signboards. My study draws on an unprecedented range of disciplines, from experience design to behavioral economics. It is also the first book about restaurant menus to explore how, in their efforts to persuade us, menus seldom act alone. I show how they cooperate with restaurant décor, service, and other merchandising devices. 

Dear reader, if you are a restaurant-goer, a restaurateur, or a student of either, join me to find out how it is that, while we order from menus, menus try to order us. Anyone interested in the workings of restaurants, the experience of dining out, the rhetoric of things, and the subject of consumer choice will find the read enlightening and even amusing.

Copyright 2018 Alison Pearlman. All rights reserved.



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