Is this the psychology of in-store menu display?

I went to Jamba Juice yesterday. I’ve gone there somewhat regularly ever since the first one opened back in 1992. (Man, I remember that first carrot squeeze got me so buzzed I thought I was gonna jump outta my skin.) I’ve been ordering this all-fruit peach smoothie lately and since Jamba has two different peach smoothies I glanced at the menu to make sure I was ordering the correct one. After searching the menu I realized they had redesigned it again. I think this may have been the third or fourth time I’ve noticed a menu change. I’m not talking about just the addition of a few new items they are testing. They had redesigned the look and rearranged the items on the entire board each time. (Just how many possible presentation variations of their free boosts could there be?)

As I ordered it occurred to me that this repeated rearrangement of the menu may actually be a strategic tactic that Jamba Juice deploys. I likended it to a department stores’ purposeful positioning of escalators that force you to wander past more displays of consumable goods as you find your way to where you had planned to go in the first place. When you are not conscientious of this ploy it may influence you to consider purchasing additional items along with the thing you had originally gone to the store for. Standing there I thought: redesigning fast food display menus is like trying to find the up escalator. I get to see other things. No, I’m forced to see other things. Is there a psychology of purchase that drives displayed menu design? I think it’s human nature to go to your favorite restaurant because you hunger for a particular item that you’ve had before. Rarely do I order a different item because I may be disappointed if it’s not as good as the item I craved in the first place.

Maybe that’s why Jamba Juice changes their menu often. Maybe not. Maybe it’s simply because there are new items. I asked the young girl mixing my smoothies what she thought. She shrugged and said something offhanded that made me think she hadn’t given it much thought. In the end, I didn’t order anything new. Just the same old peach perfection smoothie with vita boost in a 16 ounce plastic cup with no lid or straw. Like I always order.

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