mwotw simplify the menu

Simplify The Menu

One of my favorite spots in Boulder is a little elixir and oxygen bar named Tonic Alchemy Lounge.

It’s cute, it’s quirky, and it’s my go-to place for meeting up with a friend. 

The menu, though, is a disaster. 

Spiral bound. 

30+ pages long. 

Tiny print.

Confusing words like “hydrosols” and “spirit offerings” and “quintessentials.”

And that’s just in the section headings. 

(Seriously, see for yourself.)

I’ve been going for years and I’m STILL discovering categories of drinks they offer.

Tonic’s menu is extreme — so bad it’s almost good.

I also see it as an emblem of one of the fundamental principles of consumer psychology: More choice is not always better. 

There’s science on this.


In a famous study circa 2000, researchers found that people were 10 times more likely to buy jam on display when there were fewer jam choices.

24 Jam choices = X sales

6 jam choices = 10x sales.  

This result has been replicated many times across product categories. 

Less choice, more sales. 


Let’s visit the opposite side of the spectrum, shall we?

Chipotle’s menu is a paragon of elegance and simplicity.

(Seriously, someone should win awards for this if they haven’t already.)

Choose your format.

Choose your filling.

Choose your toppings.

Boom. Dinner, here we come.

I’m not gonna do the math, but I’m sure there are literally a million things you could order at Chipotle.

But you’re NEVER confused about where to start or what decision comes next.

The moral of the story for our businesses?

Make it easy for people to know how to buy from you.

Be the guide.

Limit their choices a little.

Think through the logical next step, so they’re not making too many decisions at once.

It might help if you even just sell ONE thing as an entry point.

For example, my friends at the Conscious Leadership Group require all their clients to start with 1:1 coaching for the top leader before they’ll sell anything else.

After that, they have a Conscious Culture program you can bring in for your team.

Simple, right? 

Simple sells. 

And the menu matters more than you might think.

Deliciously yours,


PS – Want some laser-coaching to simplify YOUR menu? Let’s spend an hour on it.

PPS – The menu is fairly simple over here at Magic Words Marketing. For most people, I start with rewriting their homepage so it’s super clear and compelling. Once they’re feeling proud to send people there, then other options emerge. Do I do other things? Sure. Are they on the menu? Not usually. (Interested? Let’s talk.)

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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