Is bigger better? Well, that’s a matter of personal opinion, and several operators are listening to consumers who want it their way. There is mounting evidence of the growing trend toward more customizable meal options and variety of food choices. The experts in human behavior at Culture Waves refer to this as the Deity Complex™ and it is proof that customers want to decide every ingredient in what they choose to eat and drink along with the portion size of dishes – and they are willing to pay for the customization they perceive as value. Even if they do not choose a variety from the options available, they are more satisfied just by knowing there are options available.
To reach success in today’s market, every segment is catering to customers’ desires to create a one-of-a-kind experience. By tailoring a product or meal to someone’s personal preference, a consumer feels in charge of the dining experience because it is personalized.
Sandwich shops are certainly following the trend. One in particular, Which Wich, has taken meal customization to a whole other level by allowing customers to control everything from ordering to eating. This QSR chain even encourages its customers to help with the decorating.
When a patron goes into a Which Wich restaurant, he or she begins exercising control and making choices. Customers pick up a bag and marker and begin choosing everything from bread and meat to veggies and condiments they want on their own sandwich creations. After eating, customers are welcome to continue using the markers to draw custom art on their bags. The individually artistic bags are then hung with a collection from other customers on the restaurant’s walls.
As if that was not enough customization for its customers, Which Wich is also launching a revamped menu, including new sandwich size options. Now, the restaurant will offer 10 ½- and 14-inch sizes in addition to the 7-inch sandwich, according to Jennifer Chininis, director of communications for the chain.
More evidence of the urge for control comes from California wine maker Kendall-Jackson. In an effort to meet consumer demand for customized choices, the winemaster will spend time getting to know each customer personally. Then he will create a custom wine with a personal label according to that individual’s likes, dislikes and tastes – for only $30,000.
Consumers will pay for what they want, especially if it is tailored to their own specifications and tastes. It is all part of the growing Deity Complex trend. If it gives customers the chance to control and customize their options, they are more likely to order and pay for it – but they will want it their way.