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Chicken or meat: How the menu affects your food choice

While researching for the love & work newsletter I came across the hard choice mental model.

Mental models are frameworks that simplify complex systems. They help you understand the world and make better decisions. Consider mental models as tools that make you think in a more systemized way.

The hard choice mental model categorizes decisions across two axes, the impact of the decision and how you can compare the options.

The hard choice mental model

hard choice model
Hard Choice Model

Choices at restaurant are either a no-brainer or apples/oranges choices.

Apples/Oranges is when your decision is a low-impact decision, and you compare entirely different options.

A no-brainer is when you have a decision that has a low impact on your life and chooses between comparable options.

Restaurants can affect your choice behavior by choosing the way they print their menu.

restaurant menu
Restaurant menu

In menu one, the customer is choosing between apples/oranges decision, here between meat, chicken, and fish. In menu two, the customer is having a no-brainer choice by comparing between only chicken choices.

By choosing menu one, restaurants are nudging people to choose between different dishes and by choosing menu two, they are nudging for the easier choice. People either love the moment or the experience. People who love the moment will love menu one, they like to try new dishes. While people who love the experience will love menu two, they like to stick to what they know already.

Next time you are in a restaurant use the hard choice model to understand the restaurant menu.

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