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Noise and the Rule of Two

Noise and the Rule of Two

In an interview on Zagat Buzz, Cornell University professor Brian Wansink talked about some interesting research on noise in restaurants. If it's noisy, an eating place can turn tables more quickly, and yet people spend roughly the same amount of money.

"But here's where things really backfire," he says. "...If it was not noisy a restaurant makes a lot more on alcohol. We were finding the average bill for alcohol was about 40 percent higher if it was a quiet place instead of a noisy place. People wanted to stick around longer and socialize."

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Restaurants, please take note. ...

(Photo courtesy of Zagat Buzz)

Wansink's Food and Brand Lab has also shown in numerous studies just how much what we eat is influenced by external cues. No surprise there, but he has some advice if you tend to overeat in restaurants.

He calls it the Rule of Two.

"We tell people you can have any two items you want besides your main course, but that's it," he says. "You want an appetizer and a drink? Fine, no bread. You want a second glass of wine? Fine, but don't get anything else. We find that it actually really empowers people."

Wansink's book, Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, was published last month.

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