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Giving Customer Less Choices Drives Up Business

I often marvel at how good business seems to be at “In N Out” burger, a popular burger “restaurant” in California.

In N Out is branching into other states – the company is private and doing extremely well, and the secret lies in it giving customers “less” choices than rival burger joints.

In N Out has a very simple menu and serves up “hamburger” “cheeseburger” “double cheeseburger” (called the “Double Double”). When you go there, you don’t have to guess what you’re going to get, you already know you’ll get a burger of some kind, or fries.

However, what In N Out appears to limit customers in menu choices, it compensates with a loyalty-inducing strategy: by positioning customer choices in the customization of the burger via a “hidden” or secret menu.

The customizations are often in “code” – like 3 by 3 or 4 by 4 (# of patties, # of slices of cheese) or “animal style” (extra sauce, extra pickles).

Having a simple menu that streamline operations as well as buying choices yet customizable “code-based” menu that creates a sense of “membership” among those In-n-Out patrons is ingenious.

This “The Variation of the Number of Choices” is a strategy in many markets and in companies like In N Out, is a key competitive advantage.

p.s. the double-double’s are also super yummy, I don’t care if it’s over 800 calories.

Updated: May 17, 2013 — 9:33 am

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