Friday, August 17, 2012

NY's Soda Ban, Default Bias, and All You Care to Enjoy

In case you haven't already noticed, we here are Mighty Men of Mouse love our food.  In fact, I recently did an audit of our episodes, and we spend a full 72% of our air time talking about eating and drinking:

See?
 I also love looking at how things work, the thinking behind decisions.  Nowhere is that more fun than in Disney, because everything down to the minute details has a rhyme and reason.

To tie this back to food, I have already said how intrigued I am by "All You Care to Enjoy."  Not the buffets, but the phrase itself (well, to be honest, I am also intrigued by the buffets too, but that's not the point of this post).  Any other time I go to a buffet (some sort of family style), I am told that the food is "All You Can Eat."  Why does Disney change this very ubiquitous language? 

I have stated my theory on the show before.  "All You Can Eat" sounds like a command to ingest as much foodstuffs as your innards can handle.  "All You Care to Enjoy" is gentler; the focus is on quality, not quantity.  It is an invitation, "All You Can Eat" is a challenge.


"Do these sound like the actions of a man who had, 'ALL he could eat?'"
 In case you thought I was over- thinking this whole thing, here's an article defending Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed large soda ban.  Now I am never going to defend Mayor Bloomberg, but the point is that there is a certain logic to the idea.  The article sets up the concept of "default bias."  The idea is that, subconsciously, most people will opt for the option that we consider to be the "default."  We will opt for the "regular" sized fry, or the "medium" soda, regardless of the absolute sizes of these portions.

You can see this in restaurants in another way.  Buffets often offer smaller-sized dinner plates than other restaurants.  The idea is that the default bias encourages people to eat food by the plate-full.  If the plate is smaller, people will less less food and still feel satisfied.

I suspect the same philosophy is at play with "All You Care to Enjoy."  By changing the phraseology, the default changes from physical limitations to "enjoyment" limitations.  If that subtly encourages patrons from eating even a little bit less, that translates to higher profits for Disney.

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