The latest excuse for socialism

But there’s a curious fact in play here. Domino’s is offering a vastly smaller than normal menu at present, and it’s not impacting demand. Now that could just be because they’re still open and people are desperate. But they are not the only takeaway functioning around here: I can assure you of that. And still they are seeing demand. Indeed, it’s so big that they apparently need a smaller menu.

Now, here’s the question: did they ever need the bigger menu in that case? And will they restore it after this is all over? Or have they discovered that people actually don’t like that much choice and really don’t want to wade through multitudinous, and often quite similar, choices?

As a justification for socialism it’s pretty good, as under socialism there will only be that government pizza. And you’ll like that one variant too!

People do not like too much choice. It’s why I like restaurants where I do not have to spend hours reading before the evening can begin. Just do something well please, and give me a few options, and I’m happy.

Domino’s and others, please take note. This is the way the world may be going.

And to be ever so slightly serious. Why did people come up with large menus in the first place? What was the incentive for them to do so? And the rather more major point, utility is always personal. So, what please Snippa might well not be what pleases all. As, to return to the original meaning, what pleases one Snippa does not please all.

52 thoughts on “The latest excuse for socialism”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    Our village pub is doing pre-ordered takeaway pizza on Saturday nights. By this logic when they reopen they’ll only be able to sell pizza.

    People do not like too much choice. It’s why I like restaurants where I do not have to spend hours reading before the evening can begin. Just do something well please, and give me a few options, and I’m happy.

    So now is going to tell every restaurant and pub up and down the country exactly what he likes and that the only thing they’ll be allowed to have on the menu.

    No matter how hard he tries his fascist tendencies are never far from the surface.

  2. For the single customer choice probably doesn’t matter that much, so long as they do something you like, but restaurants cater to groups, and someone will want vegetarian, somebody else doesn’t like spicy, etc. so the group will go where there is a choice.

  3. Firstly he’s taking rubbish as usual – the demand for pizzas outside London has soared while people are working from home; Doimon’s in Ely is probably deliberately reducing demand from locals who would otherwise have bought pizzas in Cambridge or London to stop itself from being overwhelmed. And why is an “ethical” commentator going to Domino’s? – my elder son has warned me off them (almost unnecessarily as I had never used them) because they cut the hours of many of their employees to evade liability to pay for Obamacare.

    Secondly in the past I have, when hungry at lunchtime after missing breakfast to catch the train, walked into sandwich shops and found *nothing* that I want to eat (really nothing even when I have a pain in my empty stomach) – all the trendy sandwiches had rocket or mayonnaise or tuna or chilli – and ended up, after four or five attempts, with a pinnacle achievement of bread and cheese (often Italian cheese rather than British but even that was an achievement).
    One of the compensations of lockdown is that I can eat Wensleydale because I bought a 5kg cheese over the internet and while it suffers a little through freezing and defrosting it’s still Nthousand% better than London ssndwiches.

  4. There’s surely a Pareto thing on any restaurant menu. A few of the dishes make up most of the trade. It’s only natural for Dommie’s to revert to this in difficult times.

    The Old Fire Engine House in Ely is pretty damn good. If you can get in. All information good up to 1985, of course, but it is still there.

  5. I guess I might be a closet socialist then because when I read a pizza menu I always check out ham and mushroom. All the better if there’s blue cheese and artichoke hearts to top it with. I even put blue cheese in the bechamel sauce in lasagne, not too much though. In the 80’s there was a great pizza, quattro stagioni. Ham, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and…prawns. melt some Castello on top!

  6. That there are too many choices in this world is a common complaint. Bernie Sanders exemplified it when he said we don’t need 23 varieties of deodorant. I’ve heard immigrants to the US state that the choices in stores are a bit overwhelming, though most get used to it. And some people just lead simpler lives, buying just a few products. However, too many of those people who do limit their consumption to a few choices are often adamant that everyone else do the same.

  7. The beauty of a free market is that it is a permanent, real-time exercise in democracy – if you have the view that people will really just want three kinds of pizza, then limit your menu to three kinds and see how it goes. If on the other hand you think people would like 99 different kinds, then try that. If you want to try being weighted towards the ham end rather than the prawn end, try that. Your daily takings will more or less instantly tell you whether your hunch is correct.

    But what is more, it’s nobody else’s business! If you are based in Ely and you don’t like the 99 varieties pizzeria, then don’t go there. It affects nobody other than you and the pizza supplier. And furthermore, if a large proportion of your fellow consumers think the same thing, you will soon find that the offerings change.

    I know I’m preaching to the converted, but why do lefties find this so hard to understand?

  8. @ TD
    As an old-fashioned Englishman (i.e. a mongrel with traces of least four different racial heritages but able to trace my lineage back to Saxon yeomen before William the Bastard invaded) I limit 90+% of my consumption to a modest range of choices BUT I respect the right of everyone else to make their own choices.
    I think that you will find that there are a lot of quiet people like me although the noisy minority of vegans and other faddists make a lot of noise.

  9. Rhoda “A few of the dishes make up most of the trade”

    But it’s good to cover more than the Pareto optimum, otherwise you will never detect a shift in customer taste until it’s too late and most of your trade has moved on to the next thing.

  10. The Meissen Bison

    I do not have to spend hours reading before the evening can begin.

    Now who would have guessed that Capt. Potato doesn’t like to spend hours reading?

    Jussi: In the 80’s there was a great pizza, quattro stagioni.
    In Ely they ought now to have one called Tre professori – the obvious choice.

  11. John77. As I think about it, I do basically the same. My wife expands my horizons a bit beyond what might come naturally to me.

    I sometimes think that there are people who live quietly, take long walks in the park (when it was legal), read and discuss books, and any evening out is likely to be fairly simple. Then there are those who live more loudly, ride jet skis and motorcycles (a teenage accident put me off those), try every new restaurant, and are are blissfully unaware that the quiet folks exist. But some portion of the simpler living folks are infuriated by that and want their choices reined in.

    AGN. The lefties think that if the shop owner only offered three types of pizza, then any additional monies spent on ingredients for the other 96 types should go to them.

  12. My fondest memory of a pizzeria was the one in Amsterdam that offered a basic cheese and tomato pizza with a list of extra toppings, priced properly not the way they do it at Pizza Express. So you want artichokes, blue cheese and salami you got it. So many places overload the toppings and don’t give you enough of the ones you want. If it has capers, somehow that becomes the dominant taste

  13. On reflection, the fact that it takes Capt Potato hours to read a menu explains a lot! How long would it take him to read an economics text book? Ten years?

  14. The Meissen Bison

    Yes, but if (and it’s hard to imagine the circumstances that might lead to this so I won’t try)one were obliged to visit a restaurant with Capt. Potato, would one choose one with a long menu or one with a short menu to hasten the moment that “the evening can begin”.

    It’s hard not to have a suspicion that the man doesn’t eat at expensive restaurants with long menus unless someone else were paying and it’s harder still to imagine who that someone else might be.

  15. However, too many of those people who do limit their consumption to a few choices are often adamant that everyone else do the same.

    This. The urge to control, as always, disguised as wanting to make life easier for others.

    In Ely they ought now to have one called Tre professori

    Marvellous.

  16. As a rule of thumb, restaurants with shorter menus are better. But that’s not what triple-prof is saying.

  17. Indeed, it’s so big that they apparently need a smaller menu.

    Twat. They have less staff in the kitchen for Social Distancing reasons, so can only make a limited range.

  18. Generally used to be the theme of Ramsay restraunt fix up shows, do less and do it well, get a reputation for good food and add stuff seasonally to the base menu to keep interest up.
    Surely you could argue though that Dominos only does a handful of things, just lots of variations of the same thing.

  19. It turns out Dominos doesn’t need a reason.

    ‘Domino’s and others, please take note. This is the way the world may be going.’

    “If I were in charge, I’d force you to cut your menu.”

    It’s the way he’s trying to push the world. It’s for the people:

    ‘People do not like too much choice.’

  20. In my pizzeria the pizza menu would be quite simple, not too overwhelming, perhaps ten pizzas, then there would be a pizza called Fantasia for the adventurous sort, one could add toppings willy-nilly – for a price.

  21. He should come to Whitby where the choice is fish’n’chips, fish’n’chips, fish’n’chips, fish’n’chips, fish’n’chips, fish’n’chips, fish’n’chips, and fish’n’chips. Oo, and there’s a new fish’n’chips restaurant opening soon.

  22. Yes, but if (and it’s hard to imagine the circumstances that might lead to this so I won’t try)one were obliged to visit a restaurant with Capt. Potato, would one choose one with a long menu or one with a short menu to hasten the moment that “the evening can begin”.

    I would choose one with a long menu. That would give more time, while the triple-professor was silently mouthing the words on the page, for me to escape through the toilet window.

  23. @ jgh
    There are choices in Whitby for those who don’t want fish’n’chips: as it happened my wife and I chose fish’n’chips because one gets better fish’n’chips in Whitby than in Hertfordshire.

  24. I generally find shorter menus are at better places, but I wouldn’t be such an utter imbecile to mandate that on every restaurant. Why one earth would someone do that unless they have a deeply sinister control freak personality? Imagine the poor sods who have been married to him and what they would have had to put up with.

    Fridge opens. Olives spotted. “Excuse what the hell are these? I’ve told you about this”

  25. I think herein lies the problem:

    “Richard Murphy says:
    April 24 2020 at 12:07 pm
    Maybe

    And tell me about the always hungry…….. ”

    The previously wider choice leaves the fat bastard not knowing what he wants to eat and ordering several pizzas, adding to his weight problem…

  26. I bought a Slimming World cook book called ‘Take 5’. Each recipe has just 5 ingredients. It’s still got 50 recipes, and if you add butter to most of them you get a nice result. So 6 ingredients with some tweaking but it’s a handy book for a single bloke who isn’t slimming now. Perhaps the authors should make a version just for Captain Potato – take a subsidised EU potato, boil, mash with some butter, tax it because of that value added you see, then enjoy what the government lets you keep.

  27. obviously he doesn’t understand cooking and the wide range of dishes you can make from the same basic items

  28. Seems a peculiar sort of restaurant for him to be criticising because they’re the epitome of the sort of socialist model that he favours. They’re a restaurant doesn’t really have a menu in the accepted sense, because they only essentially do the one dish, pizza. You might get a range of toppings & some of the established combinations have names but when it comes down to it, they’re all pizza

  29. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ As a rule of thumb, restaurants with shorter menus are better. But that’s not what triple-prof is saying.”

    That’s a good point. My limited experience of eating in very expensive restaurants is that you don’t get much choice.

    It’s also my experience that the general case is that the cheaper the restaurant/pub the longer the menu and the lower chance you have of getting even a decent meal. A cheap short menu can usually be expected to deliver quality.

  30. “What’s the special of the day?”

    “Pizza.”

    Pizza joint shouldn’t need a menu. A list of available toppings should cover it.

    I had a pizza in Paris 30 years ago. Nothing at all like ‘Merican pizza. No idea if either are like actual Italian pizza. If there is such a thing.

  31. The likes of Spud won’t be happy until all the masses have to eat is cabbage soup. Though of course those in a position of authority (ie him) will have greater choices that reflect their position in society………..

  32. Restaurants are a special case, though. As a rule, the smaller the menu, the better the restaurant. The really outstanding places don’t even have a menu, you just get what the chef is making that day.

  33. “No idea if either are like actual Italian pizza.”

    My Italian-American friends tell me pizza is originally a New York thing. And I’d never like to find I was arguing with the mafia. Could even be true. There’s nothing particularly Italian about a bread dough base, oven baked with a cheese topping. Greeks having been doing something very similar for just as long as the Italians

  34. “tre professori”

    Dunno if I’d actually order something for which the main ingredient would be lard….

  35. Ritchie: Pizza Restaurants/Take-Aways should only offer:

    Menu
    Cheese & Tomato £x
    Add toppings at 40p each: long list

    The long menus include what Ritchie wants, pre-named are to inspire/suggest/sell customers with “nice combo, will try it”. Has he noticed most are one A4 page – not excessive.

    Ritchie’s demanding everyone must choose from a long list which toppings they want and saying choice is bad – his brain is deranged

    Ritchie doesn’t like inspire/suggest/choose/sell, he wants ‘Here’s your weekly Gov food parcel”

    Please Sir, May I have some more?

    Moar, Moar, I will give you Moar whipping & jail

    @john77

    Pre made Sandwich ‘trendy choice’: it’s why at Grammar school and since I and hordes of others used indy delis who’d fill a roll with what wanted, usually cheaper than pre-prep too

    @Ummmm

    Yes, correct. Lots of variety with same base: eg Meat, Pots and two veg

    @jgh April 24, 2020 at 6:37 pm

    Do the Goths eat fish’n’chips?

  36. Re: Chips

    Some chippies here are now selling Vegan Chips and Gluten Free Chips – 10% to 20% more expensive. As Arfur would say ‘Nice little earner’

  37. Russian Socialism proved that what people like is black bread and onion soup. After all, they saw plenty of demand.

  38. @BiND
    ” the cheaper the restaurant/pub the longer the menu and the lower chance you have of getting even a decent meal”
    Probably becuase the supply logistics means that 99% of the items on a long menu are sitting in the freezer waiting for a turn in the microwave

  39. John77,

    There’s one of those sandwich chain places at Cambridge station, does warm white baguettes with non trendy fillings. They used to be everywhere but the one on the main platform at Cambridge is the only one I know of now.

  40. @ Pcar
    I should have used one too if there had been any near my then office. Sadly the decent cheap sandwich chain that sold simple edible stuff went bust leaving just the trendy expensive shops. They aren’t quite extinct: there’s one on my High Street (currently closed because staff can’t be two metres from customers) and I found one, by chance, in Southwark last year but none near my then office.

  41. BiND,

    “That’s a good point. My limited experience of eating in very expensive restaurants is that you don’t get much choice.

    It’s also my experience that the general case is that the cheaper the restaurant/pub the longer the menu and the lower chance you have of getting even a decent meal. A cheap short menu can usually be expected to deliver quality.”

    Yeah. Spreading yourself thin. Having to cut corners. If you’re doing 6 dishes, it’s worth putting in the effort to make a sauce from scratch.

    One thing I prefer about France (and I think it’s also about customer demands) is that restaurants have some constancy. You go back to a place 2 years later and the menu is barely unchanged. We have pubs jumping around from Thai to Mexican or whatever. Just do a set of dishes and do them really well. No-one is going to travel for so-so Thai food.

  42. Indeed, my first thought was that Spud ought to eat at a better class of establishment if long menus are concerning for him.

    Oh yes, and TMB yesterday @4.40pm and Theo today @8.00am – both inspired!

  43. Lockers

    “Oh yes, and TMB yesterday @4.40pm and Theo today @8.00am – both inspired!”

    TMB had the inspiration – not me.

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