The "tyranny of choice" hypothesis in retail — offering too many product choices, thus confusing consumers and lowering sales — is widely accepted if infrequently addressed in stores. A similar concept appears somewhat analogous in foodservice where restaurant operators are finding page after page of menu options are not adding up to more sales for their establishments. Today, many restaurant chains are taking a less is more approach to their menu choices.
According to the foodservice research and consulting firm, Technomic, restaurants are shrinking menu options across all meal parts. Too many choices make it hard for staff to keep up with orders and, in turn, cause customer unhappiness.
The number of menu items of the top 500 restaurant chains has dropped just over seven percent this year, according to Technomic.
"We can no longer be everything to everybody all the time," Brad Smith, COO of Tony Roma's, a steak and ribs chain, told USA Today. "I don't think customers are out there counting the number of items. It's about producing better quality products."
According to the Nation's Restaurant News-MillerPulse report, restaurant chain sales in July increased three percent. Traffic was just slightly above flat.
Do you agree or disagree that less is often more when determining the number of menu selections at restaurants?