Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Interesting design challenge

When experts smoke ribs, one of the ways they know (and educated customers know) that it was smoked properly is that the meat gets a pink color. But pink is also the color associated with meat that is undercooked. So uneducated customers often think that it is not well cooked, even though it is perfect. This is a function visibility and population stereotype error. Most people associate pink meat with undercooked. But smoked ribs is a special case that violates the general rule.

I saw an interview with the owner of a high quality restaurant that specialized in smoked ribs. He was joking that the most common complaint he gets from customers is that their meat is undercooked and they ask for a new piece. He has to tell them that the meat is supposed to look that way. Sometimes, they aren't convinced that he is being honest, and may leave dissatisfied with the service. How can a company overcome this problem?

In this case, they put a label on the menu next to the smoked ribs warning customers that it will be pink, even when properly cooked.

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