Asian Box Befuddles Me

Sunday was a rough day for me. It started out with a memorial for a 34 year old friend of mine who decided to take his own life. Suicide is a painful event for those left wondering what they could have or should have done. For me, my friend William B. Gurk was a young man I loved, and I will always wonder what I missed and if I could have stopped this tragedy from happening. I’d known him for years and we’d been through his ups and downs with women, jobs and the joys of life in Los Angeles. He was dearly loved by many and his loss will be felt by me forever. The memorial was at a beach up the coast, right at sunset and I was emotionally drained afterwards.

On top of the emotional nature of the day, I am still living with this ghastly chest thing that everyone has, which means that I don’t want to cook, I don’t want to eat too heavy and I lack the brain power I normally possess. Sunday night was just one of those nights where I was too beat to put out any effort so I figured I’d head over to the Whole Foods on Pico, grab a box of noodles at Asian Box and call it an early evening.

I would think that a restaurant would want their customer to have an easy time ordering. In many ways it’s the key to the success of many a fast food chain like In-N-Out – they have burgers, fries and shakes. That’s it. Limited menu – easy to order fast production. Asian Box is the exact opposite of this. They have a “make your own” plan, pick the rice or noodles, pick your favorite protein then choose from a bevy of veggies, and sauces. And they have a selection of pre-defined house combinations.

Maybe it was because I’m still in a bit of a mental fog from this sickness, or maybe since I was hungry my brain was operating slowly, or maybe because the menu is too complex I couldn’t figure out what to order so I just defaulted to a Chicken Curry without reading what was really in it since there were a dozen different things that go into this meal. So was I happy with this meal? Mostly. It was fine. The kitchen made it to the specifications of the company I’m sure. Was it really what I wanted? No.

I couldn’t figure out what I really wanted, because there were too many choices. I know, I know, there are starving people in the world, but the reality is this – too many choices makes it hard for the buyer to decide and they will default to either NO choice, or you have to give them something easy to choose.

For a successful entrepreneur the answer must always be to ease the buyer into a smooth choice. If there are too many options, the consumer will shut down, and the sale will be lost. It is better to have a single, clear, message than to have too many possibilities for turning the buyer off.

A confused mind chooses nothing. To increase your sales rate, make your message cleaner and tighter with fewer options. I have this same problem when I head to Swingers and their gigantic menu. I usually just default to a couple of items that I’ve had before and then I don’t have try to weigh all the options. It’s either falafel plate, eggs, or a cupcake. I like the cupcake.

Like Henry Ford said, “They can have any color they want – so long as it’s black.” – He sold a lot of Model Ts that way….

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra