Less is More

I find myself watching some strange reality shows at times and last week I was watching Kitchen Nightmares. It’s hosted by that British chef who’s always swearing at people in his “game show”. The premise of this show is that he goes into a restaurant that is failing for some reason and some drastic changes, brings it back to life.

Don’t Give Customers What They Want
In the show that I was watching last week, he visited an Indian restaurant that was bleeding money. The biggest problem he found in the restaurant is that they gave their patrons too many options. The customers were able to customize the sauce that they wanted. The owner came from a sales background so he had a noble strategy – he just wanted to give the customers what they wanted. Great intentions but bad results.

The problem with this strategy is that everything suffered in the business because their was no consistency:

  • The customers thought they knew what they wanted but the fact was that the experts (the chefs) could put together a better combination of flavors that the customers would enjoy
  • The orders would not come out in a timely matter because there were so many different combinations and the chefs could not operationalize the preparation
  • The waiters could not stand behind and recommend different dishes because they were all just slight variations of each other and could not be differentiated from each other in blind taste tests
  • The customers were left paralyzed with too many choices and felt unsatisfied that they weren’t getting what they want (having too many options is a classic in limiting sales because of “paralysis by over-analysis“)

Less is More
The lesson in this when running your business is that you should limit the options for your clients. Too often, we try to satisfy the wants and desires of our clients and what we end up giving to them is something that they don’t really want. They may think they want it when they “order” it but they leave our “restaurant” unhappy with the whole experience.

Even worse than a restaurant, we get clients who just get up and leave. If we don’t present a clear offer with a limited number of options, they’re less likely to become our clients.

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