Why Less Choice Means More Satisfaction
I went to a restaurant last week that had a ridiculously big menu. It took me about 15 minutes to choose something. Once my meal came out I couldn’t enjoy it. It tasted good, but all I could think about was maybe I should have tried the salmon or the lamb or the pasta or the soup or the fish of the day… The satisfaction of my meal went down as the attractive features of the other meals went up.
Why did this happen? It happened because we don’t completely forget the options that we reject in order to make a decision. These rejected options stay in our mind and haunt us as we experience the item we chose.
There is a great little place in Melbourne called the Satay Bar, that one of my business partners introduced me to. It is the size of a shoe box, but because of its popularity it usually has a big line coming outside of it.
The reason it is so popular (apart from having an amazing taste) is that the experience is so simple. When you walk in to order you have 3 things to decide: 1)What size, 2)What meat, and 3)Rice or Salad.
Because there is restricted choice, not only is it much easier to choose what you want to order but you are much more satisfied when eating it because you are not considering any rejected alternatives.
Offering mass amounts of choice may seem like it gives you a competitive edge, but it actually diminishes the satisfaction of your customers and the chance that they will return. Remember choosing almost always involves giving up something else of value, why should we suffer for it?