Your Menu Stinks
I love a good Mexican restaurant. Our family has our favorite where we tend to go elbow-deep in the chips and salsa as often as we can. And like most Mexican restaurants, their menu is huge. Immense. There’s a page for the lunch specials, a page for dinner specials, a page for special specials, a page for a la carte items, and a page for combos. And then I’m pretty sure the whole menu starts over, just to mess with your head.
I love our Mexican joint. I really do. The food is always great, but the on ramp to the food is frustrating. Let’s face it: whatever I ever order at any Mexican restaurant on the planet is going to involve some sort of layering of three ingredients: meat, cheese, and rice or beans. That’s it. It might be beans / cheese / meat, or it might be cheese / meat / beans, but there’s not a lot of creativity outside of that. And yet because of the menu, all of my family sounds like we’re trying to deactivate a bomb…
Ummm…I think I’ll have theeeee….number 27…NO the combo 6…NO WAIT THAT’S NOT IT the mixed fajitas…NO THE RED WIRE! CUT THE RED WIRE!
Contrast that to the assembly-line-style Mexican restaurants, such as Chipotle. Chipotle takes the same menu items (meat, cheese, rice or beans) and simplifies it. You walk into a Chipotle and instead of dealing with a menu that looks like the US Federal Tax Code, you basically have to answer three questions: what do you want (burrito, taco, bowl)? What kind of meat do you want (chicken, steak, pork)? What do you want on it (rice, beans, salsa)?
Same options. Different approach.
Chipotle has done all the heavy lifting for us. Without taking away any of our options, they’ve removed some of our choices. And by the same token, they’ve removed most of the frustration.
I still get a halfway decent burrito (albeit with sour cream squirted out of a caulk gun), but I don’t have to look through six pages of options to get there. At a glance, I can see a clear pathway to get delicious Mexican goodness into my belly.
What does this have to do with church? I’m glad you asked!
Our menus stink. Too often we give people 47 million choices, when they just need a simplified next step. We want to talk to First Time Guests about how they can become a covenant member and start tithing and rock babies in the nursery and go on a mission trip…when they just need to know where the bathrooms are. We want to start a member down a 472 step discipleship process, when really they just need a list of the small groups in their zip code. We’ve taken the simple and made it complex, and by doing so we’ve frustrated people and possibly sabotaged a next step.
What is simple to us is complicated to our people. And it doesn’t have to be that way.
What menus do you have that you’ve overcomplicated? And where have you taken the complex and made it simple? I’d like to hear more…comment below.
(Oh, and Chipotle, if you’re listening, I’m currently accepting sponsorships.)