A lesson from Domino’s: people do not like too much choice

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I was fascinated by a story in the FT this morning. This does, admittedly, largely relate to the US-based Domino's Pizza, but it's still relevant. As they note:

"Let's just order a pizza.” That Friday night mealtime capitulation has become a much more common refrain these days as government stay-at-home directives keep Americans homebound.

This has positioned Domino's Pizza well to survive the fallout from the coronavirus crisis. The $14bn company dominates the US pizza delivery industry with nearly 6,000 stores. It said on Thursday that US same-store sales rose 1.6 per cent during the first quarter. That marks the slowest quarterly sales growth in nine years. But it is a more than decent performance. Especially when compared to the sales collapse forecast for chains that rely largely on dine-in customers.

It's confession time: sometimes we have a Domino's. Sometimes a dad needs a night off cooking, and can't face his sons' efforts. That's just the way it is.

But there's a curious fact in play here. Domino's is offering a vastly smaller than normal menu at present, and it's not impacting demand. Now that could just be because they're still open and people are desperate. But they are not the only takeaway functioning around here: I can assure you of that. And still they are seeing demand. Indeed, it's so big that they apparently need a smaller menu.

Now, here's the question: did they ever need the bigger menu in that case? And will they restore it after this is all over? Or have they discovered that people actually don't like that much choice and really don't want to wade through multitudinous, and often quite similar, choices?

If I was Domino's I would be giving serious thought to this. I suspect that there are lessons to be learned by them and many others after this is over. People do not like too much choice. It's why I like restaurants where I do not have to spend hours reading before the evening can begin. Just do something well please, and give me a few options, and I'm happy.

Domino's and others, please take note. This is the way the world may be going.

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