October 27, 2012


Venture in to any coffee shop - mine included - and you'll nearly always see a bevy of signs, filled with chalked drink names and descriptions. There's a lot to take in, for your average customer, and so many of them don't, opting instead to ask the barista for what they want. There are those, however, who do gaze at the whole menagerie, characteristically swamped by the informations presented to them.

Neither scenario is ideal, of course. We'd rather have something clear, concise, and useful. We'd especially like something useful, given that the entire point of a menu is to streamline the ordering process. Efficiency is the goal, and most shops - again, including mine - are not achieving this.

The problem, in almost every case I've seen, is volume. Nearly every drink one could commonly order is listed, with a description, sizes, prices, etc. It's all a bit too much. It's all a bit, to use current internet parlance, TL;DR.

The volume is such the people, very often, don't even bother. This leads to misunderstandings, and frustrations on the part of both baristas and customers. Clearly, this is opposite of what we want our menus to do.

So, I'm going to set about fixing mine. Or rather, some of my coworkers with better penmanship will set about the task. In any case, it's easy to blame customers for being slow orderers, readers, or apparently clueless. But those assumptions are both useless, and usually, false. They're our menus, and it's our job to make the useful. So let's do that.

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