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The Choices We Make - This Cafe or That Cafe

by Karen Cherrett about a year ago in fact or fiction
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A Series About Making Choices and What Impacts Them

Ever been in that space of deciding where you were going to eat, this morning for me it was breakfast and not knowing where you were going?

That’s where I found myself this morning. There were cafes and restaurants that I had been to before where I could have the known for breakfast.

This morning I decided to be super adventurous and try something different.

That in itself is huge. Usually the known feels safer and easier. I go to the familiar place, knowing exactly what’s on the menu and therefore what ‘favorite’ I am going to eat today.

No difficult choices to make. Simple and easy.

And in today’s COVID environment, fast.

The café’s don’t let you loiter over food anymore because they want a fast turnaround given all eating is now outdoors. At least here in San Diego where I live.

Anyway back to my dilemma of choosing a place to eat THIS morning.

I even decided to venture outside my normal walking path to see what was available.

Okay, the restaurant that always seems to be busy, yet this morning for breakfast was empty. Hmm, wonder what that means. Breakfast isn’t as good as dinner?

On to the next one. Lots of people sitting out eating. Promising. Time to check out the menu.

The menu looked okay. There was at least one thing on it that I would eat. For me that’s a measurable bonus because often I look at the menu options and find nothing to eat, so I pass by.

Two staff members had been standing, greeters as you would call them, talking and as soon as I stopped they stopped talking and engaged with me.

That’s a good sign because it meant they had a customer focus.

So strange how little things make a difference. Had they continued talking, whilst I found something on the menu to eat, I would have continued walking right past and not even given them a second choice though, except to lock them away in my mind as ‘not providing great service’

Isn’t it fascinating how we do that?

Was ‘Great Customer Service’ on my list when I walked out my door to find somewhere to eat this morning, not consciously, yet obviously, it was there in the back of my mind, otherwise, it wouldn’t have been a factor in the choice I made.

So, I ticked off, a menu choice I could eat, other people eating (whatever that meant) and great customer service. That meant this place had three ticks, so I decided it was the place to stay and eat.

I’m sure that if someone had asked me this morning what the factors were in my decision of where I would eat I couldn’t have told them, because the things I mentioned weren’t necessarily front of mind as I went walking out of my apartment.

What is it about the fact that other people are eating at the café that made it a factor in my choice? Not really sure. As I said that particular place is usually streaming with people later in the day for dinner and there are lines trying to get a table.

The lack of people this morning didn’t hold appeal for me though. Maybe it was three times bigger than the place I chose and so it didn’t look as full, yet was. Could it have been that their menu didn’t have that one option in it that was more popular for a lot of people?

Interestingly I didn’t even stop to check out their breakfast menu.

The subtle little things that make a difference in our choices are often those unconscious things that we don’t even consider. They are the feeling things that we don’t name or even fully understand, yet they impact our choice.

Have you thought about that? What makes you choose one café or restaurant over another?

Are they conscious things that have you make the choice, or unconscious things you aren’t even aware of, or perhaps a mix of both?

fact or fiction

About the author

Karen Cherrett

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