The “breakfast potatoes theory” behind why we make choices

Back when I was working in B2B Software Marketing, I had a pretty hefty commute. We’re talking about an hour and a half each way. Every day.

My mode of transport?


(Bus. Metro. Walk.)

Where I worked was also a pretty dispersed area, meaning you needed a car to get anywhere.

If you wanted to get something for lunch, your choices were stuffed unless you scored a ride with someone else from the office to hit a food court.

A good buddy of mine though, lived in the hood. 

We had worked at the same company a few years before — only he had the sense to get out and work for himself long before I did.

To stay in touch, we’d regularly go for bro-unch.

Luckily, he had a car. Which meant there were approximately 6 breakfast joints within striking distance whenever we wanted to get some mid-day grub in.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty big fan of brunch.

I take it seriously.

I don’t settle for any old slop.

Anytime I’m going in, it’s basically for late breakfast. I’m not one of those weirdos who orders from the lunch menu when brunch is on the cards.

(If this is you, please take a long hard look in the mirror.)

I’m talking bacon, eggs, potatoes, sausages and toast. 

With a cuppa tea.

Like most normal people, right?

Now, if you possess my crazy engineering counting skills, you’ll agree that’s 6 components to the standard breakfast.

If you factor in other components that determine a good eating experience — like travel time, wait time, service, & cost — that’s a nice round 10 components to consider before choosing which breakfast to eat.

That’s a lot of things playing into the equation. 

And that’s how most business owners see their businesses.

A bunch of service or product components, all playing a big role in how customers perceive them.

But in reality, there was only 1 component — above all others — that factored into where we’d go each time:

How good the breakfast potatoes were.

Finely cooked spuds were reason numero uno in determining whether we’d be haunting your doorway, or ghosting out the back door.

Out of the 6 places that were potentially on the cards each week, we’d only visit 2 of them.

Both had amazing breakfast potatoes. 

One place specialized in a mashy type of shpud. The other specialized in a crispy type.

We both preferred the mashy type, which meant that 80% of the time, we went to one restaurant.

What’s interesting is this: the place we frequented the most was the furthest, most expensive, and had the longest waiting times.

3 exclusive claims. None very appealing.

But the magnitude of the appeal behind the one key decision factor was enough to overwrite everything else.

It’s funny, because we used to visit a third place on rotation — until they changed ownership. The genius new owners decided it would be a good idea to mess with one vital part of the menu.

You guessed it: the breakfast potatoes.

(Their business has since almost tanked.)

So, how does this apply to your business?

Well, consider this…

Another restaurant in the same area could have gone out of it’s way to get the best bacon, the best toast and the best eggs. Even after all that work, it STILL wouldn’t have made any difference in influencing our decision.

Remember: You always have to look at your business with customer logic. 

Amping up the exclusivity in secondary claims of value isn’t nearly as powerful as nailing the appeal for what the customer REALLY wants.

I call this “The Breakfast Potatoes Theory” to USPs.

Figure out what your breakfast potatoes are. And make them exclusively the best in one dimension.

If you’d like to chat about identifying what the breakfast potatoes are in your customer’s world, hop on over to the link below and book some time to chat:

No fee. No obligations. No commitments.

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