Quirks in Food and People: The Lure of the "Today's Special" Signboard

I went into the cafe, aiming to get either a cup of tea or a slice of cake. What I really wanted, thought, was a place for me to study Japanese for the upcoming exam, but hey, you've got to order something if you're in a cafe, right? That's why I love libraries. Quiet, relaxing, "conducive" for study, as they call it. Then again, libraries can sometimes be a bit too quiet, causing one to eventually fall asleep without intending to.

I eventually settled on their pavlova (a crispy, slow baked cloud of egg white and sugar topped with fresh berries and fresh whipped cream), which was scrumptious by the way, but not the point of today's "Quirks in Food and People" story. This happened a couple months ago, but it’s still fresh in my mind.

The waiter introduced their special dish for the day, “Shepherd’s pie with mashed potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli”, as he handed me the menu and pointed at the creatively written item on the chalkboard behind the bar.

Good move, I thought. After all, that is the way to upsell your product because if no one knows about it, and it isn’t introduced to the customer, you really have got nothing to complain about if it doesn’t sell well.

Anyway, I still only ordered a pavlova at that point and started opening up my books to study. The thing is, there was just something about that chalkboard that keeps getting my attention.

After an hour of intense study, motivated by occasional bites of the pavlova, I decided to take a break. Tip of the day: Food is always a good constant motivator for when you need to go through strenuous work. Just make sure you choose healthy choices of delicious food, though, or you know what will happen to your waist. Who says healthy food can’t be delicious? You just need to look harder and be more determined to find it.

While taking a glance around the room, my eyes happened to crossed the chalkboard again and I thought, “Hmm, you know what, maybe I’ll give it a try, plus a nice glass of red wine to go with it as well".

And thus was the conclusion of today’s story. How did one slice of pavlova turn into a Shepherd’s pie and a glass of wine? I can’t confirm it, but I’m pretty sure there is some kind of ingenious psychological tactic employed here. Whether it’s the good service, the ambience, the music or that the food is just darn good, I know not for sure. What I do know, is that it worked in getting “the customer” to spend 5 times more than then initially planned to.

All in all, there’s something to be learned here, business-wise or on being a wiser consumer, and if you have any thoughts about this or further insights on the subject at hand, do leave a friendly, helpful comment so that we can all decipher this phenomenon and see it in a clearer light.




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