Going out to eat is one of life’s simple joys. Finding a great restaurant or any food establishment near your place is like discovering a treasure chest amid a vast ocean. When traveling abroad, tourists are always on the lookout for authentic culinary cultures and local destinations. In Singapore, food deals are almost everywhere, a celebration of unique blends of Asian influences.
But if there’s one thing that makes food trips difficult, it would be the endless debate of choosing where to eat. Choosing where to eat is an ongoing problem for individuals and groups of friends who can’t decide about their food goals. As simple as it may sound, picking the best tasty option is a frustrating, exhausting, and timeless struggle for most of us.
We’ve all been there, and we all understand the challenge of having too many food choices. To put an end to this never-ending debate, we’ll take a deeper look at the underlying reasons why choosing what to eat is always difficult.
Breaking down choices
When choosing where to eat, people base their decision on three factors: their current resources, value, and saturation points.
First, they have to choose a restaurant based on their allocated resources or budget. They also need to maximize the value of their choices, whether they want to eat healthily or order cheap food with a limited budget. The last stage is knowing whether a particular option will put you off, considering the number of times you consumed it.
Supposed a person managed to choose which restaurant to dine in, it’s time to decide exactly what to order. Having choices can be a good thing as it offers freedom to choose how we can take advantage of our resources for the sake of our well-being. But having limited to no choices is much worse. It’s like trying to have a healthy diet, but the only available options are fast-food chains. In this case, it’s hard to maximize the value of being healthy.
Having plenty of choices also raises a dilemma. Our minds can only process limited amounts of information, making it difficult to break down our choices. There’s also the time constraint that paralyzes our minds when making a decision. As a result, having plenty of choices can sometimes push us to feel even more dissatisfied or choose nothing at all.
Finding social proof
Today, there are plenty of digital tools we can use to navigate our food options. One example is social media and food applications, where we can discover popular dishes and foods people are raving about. In this case, checking out your Instagram feed becomes a way to seek social proof to support your decision.
This is actually an effective solution if you’re looking for suggestions to come up with a final choice. But your social media feed doesn’t always have the answer to your food dilemma. At some point, you’ll end up getting stuck on the same set of options. It’s like trying all the eateries and restaurants in your area, and now you exhausted all your options, you end up empty-handed.
Reaching one’s saturation point
Let’s say you have reached the maximum enjoyment of every possible meal option. For this stage, whichever option you pick, you’ll end up feeling dissatisfied or indifferent. In economic terms, you are already at the peak of utility maximization, so your satisfaction level slowly diminishes.
Dissatisfaction and indifference are two emotions you don’t want to feel if you want to appreciate what you just ordered. Choosing your favorite food for a certain number of times can lead to a saturation dilemma. A possible solution is to reset the saturation point — prolong the gap for each option to establish a craving for every choice. But this approach may not work for those who have a fewer set of options.
The purpose of resetting the saturation point is to create novelty and broaden the gap for each option. After a while, your inability to choose an option for a specific length of time will draw curiosity. As a result, changing the norm in your food habits will improve personal satisfaction!
Knowing why we’re facing difficulties in choosing what to eat can be the solution to this food debate. While it’s nice to have plenty of options to eat anything we want, having a clear idea about your specific preferences can save a lot of stress and even friendships! So the next time you go out for a food adventure, make sure to recognize the barriers in your decision-making to help you make a definite choice.