- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

The Sour Taste Of Too Much Choice: How To Avoid The Buffet Bamboozle

20th April, 2018

The Sour Taste Of Too Much Choice: How To Avoid The Buffet Bamboozle

Hot steamed dim sum like dreamy little clouds. Silken pasta coated in creamy deliciousness. Seductive, sizzling steak on the hotplate. Precarious towers of chocolately profiteroles. Watermelon carved into crazily-intricate boats.


After months of student travelling, surviving on a diet of oesophagus-blistering local spirits, Marlboro Lights and the kindness of strangers, this hotel buffet was blowing my backpacker’s brain.


I’d gone all out on one night in a five-star hotel, to mark the end of my travelling extravaganza, before my return to the UK. And it didn’t disappoint.


After a few minutes of staring at the buffet, I dived in with my plate, like a contestant on Supermarket Sweep. A few plump prawns here. A couple of pillowy ravioli there. A hillock of shredded crispy duck.


And I was going to stop there, I really was….until I saw the tacos (well just one) and the chicken biryani (just a touch) and the steak frites (oh go on then….).


Satisfied that there wasn’t a square inch of white still visible on my plate, I sat down to eat.


But oh no! I could have cried with disappointment. Nothing went together! All the flavours had got mixed and tasted pretty horrible.


I’d got bamboozled by the buffet. I’d been tipsy with choice, picking everything I’d liked, but not that necessarily went together.




Are You Guilty Of The Buffet Bamboozle?


I see lots of businesses who pride themselves on the breadth of services that they offer. In itself, not a problem. But then you see the overwhelming smorgasbords of different products and services to choose from on their websites. Argh! You see their proposals with eighteen different options to choose from. Too much!


And these businesses then say things to clients like ‘We can do pretty much whatever you want!’ Enough!


It’s a classic buffet bamboozle. Too much choice. Too little guidance.


Because your clients aren’t the experts, you are. Left to their own devices and faced with endless choice, they might just put the chilli con carne with the sweet and sour pork. And it’s going to leave a sour taste in their mouths.


Ramp Up Your Ramsay


So how do you avoid the bamboozle? Well, try channeling a bit of Gordon Ramsay. No, not by swearing uncontrollably and calling your clients ‘effing donkeys’. No, by being the expert chef. Think about how you can curate the best dishes and menus to help guide your clients to the most mouthwatering outcome for them. For instance:


  • Where possible, stick your neck out and offer a clear opinion on the best option for them. Remember, you’re the expert.
  • If you do have to offer a range of different options, show comparisons between them so clients can weigh up the pros and cons of each easily.
  • Group or bundle services or products so your clients can get to grips with them faster and get rid of any long lists with meaningless titles like ‘Managed Services’, ‘Application Service Plus’, ‘Delivery Manager Excel’ etc. You get the idea.


Now, I feel like tradition dictates that I should end this article with some painful puns around cooking up something good or stirring things up. But I like you too much. Just give it a go, ok?

University of Cambridge


- Next trainer development cohort 10th - 14th June 2024

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