flowing motion

Menus are for strangers: Good menus=Good strangers=Good business

Posted on: November 11, 2009

Eating at your local

I love walking  into my local restaurant and being greeted by name. Isn’t it wonderful to go where our preferences are known and the proprietors add that special touch that takes the food from great to delightful?

I love it. I work at it. I always want a ‘local.’

Menus for strangers

At my ‘local’, I never look at the menu. I leave the choice of my meal to the chef. They know what is is good today.

But a stranger, as stranger, as stranger needs a menu. Menus help them get oriented. Menus lay out the terms of a contract clearly. Menus help a “noobe” get through the first stage of finding their way about. If it is clear, they settle down, and fit in.

A modern economy needs ‘good menus’

We hear a lot about trust these days and the converse ~ targets. UK seems to have got itself in a muddle.

  • We do need good menus,.so that strangers can find their way around.
  • We need to put back the road signs that were taken down during WWII as well and rearrange the others so they aren’t cluttered.
  • We need clear ‘menus’ for all public services so that people know what is on offer and what they must do in return (the price).

But menus aren’t there to limit people

We don’t have to stick to the menu precisely. It is not an “offer” nor a “contract”.

We look at the menu and then we make an order.  That is followed by a confirmation. It is OK for a restaurant to say we are out of fresh scones but we do have some delicious waffles.

It is also OK for a restaurant to vary the price because the menu is not an offer. Restaurants just don’t do vary the price because it would cause a muddle and muddle is what we are trying to avoid.

Menus are for noobes

The menu is there to help ‘noobes’ quickly establish the main points.

  • It’s infuriating when the menu is garbled.
  • It’s soul-destroying when the menu is full of spin and is nothing like the “real contract”
  • It’s unwelcoming when the provider wants to stick to the menu and can’t move up to a real-relationship when we are ready to do so

Successful economies have good ‘menus’ to welcome strangers

In a fast-moving modern economy, most of us are strangers most of the time. We need good information to keep the movement going easily.

  • Good menus welcome strangers whom we need to prosper
  • Good menus help strangers get oriented so we move quickly towards a contract
  • Good menus are not the contract and should not be confused with the contract. Confusing the menu with a contract is, well, confusing.   is not good manners. It is not legal. It is not honest. It is neither good business nor good running of the economy. It is certainly bad politics. People understand when they are getting ‘done’ even if there is little they can do about it a the minute.

First good menus. Get a sense of what is possible at what price. Then make the order. Then give the confirmation. Then deliver. Then pay.

That’s how it works. Good businesses move people to status of ‘locals’ as quickly as possible and let them tweak what they want at step 3 where they vary

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2 Responses to "Menus are for strangers: Good menus=Good strangers=Good business"

[…] Menus are for strangers: Good menus=Good strangers=Good business (flowingmotion.wordpress.com) […]

[…] Menus are for strangers: Good menus=Good strangers=Good business (flowingmotion.wordpress.com) […]

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