Choices, choices, choices
I am sure everyone can identify that feeling of indecision when presented with a menu. It is now a running joke in my family that I will always be the last to order at a restaurant - almost paralysed with indecision; what if i pick poorly? What if I end up with food envy due to the wrong decision? Always holding up the table with my inability to choose anything. Thankfully, I have been more mindful this past year and it has been paying off. I have been more in-tune with flavours that I fancy at any given time, making the choice limited and as such easier. This has carried over to ordering coffee and somewhat towards my decision on ordering alcoholic beverages (this is often limited to the establishment not having Bloody Mary's on the menu...I mean, why would you not include them?)
This past week I discovered a new Podcast called The Happiness Lab. I have devoured every episode, but one resonated with me and the industry I work in. It focused on choice overload and the falsehood that having more choice makes us happier. In modern society we are presented with thousands of choices every day, most completely trivial (what should I wear, what should I have for breakfast etc?) and it leads to decision fatigue and has a damaging effect on our overall happiness. We lie to ourselves that having more choice makes us feel more in control and while having some choice is indeed positive, why overload unnecessarily?
How many times have you gone to a coffee shop knowing in advance what you're going to order? How often do you look at the menu? Most customers choose the familiar. It is why I have encountered, on countless occasions, people ordering their usual Starbucks or Costa order at the speciality coffee bar I am working on and I can't give them what they want. There is always a menu, but it has not been looked at. It can be frustrating, but when in a new environment, most coffee drinkers want what they always have. Similarly, if I read a menu and it contains absolutely everything they have in store, I just stop reading it - it's overloading.
Coffee shop owners need to find a balance between a varied and interesting menu and a familiar one. You need your environment to be welcoming to those new customers and not overkill to those that know what they want. Concisely present your drinks menu, it will not only make your cafe space seem less cluttered, it will mean your customers will be quicker and happier at ordering.
Starbucks reportedly has over 80k choices... Who has time for that?