(And no, I’m not talking about eating crickets.)

Most people (69 percent, according to this survey) are interested in trying new places and different types of food rather than defaulting to the same familiar restaurant, but it can be hard to do. Why? I have a few theories.

  1. You’re afraid of the dreaded “I just spent $50 and I wish it were socially acceptable for me to ask for a refund. I would have been happier eating a PB&J at home.” This, for me, is obstacle #1 when it comes to trying new places. I’m pretty frugal, so when I spend money going out to eat, I REALLY want to finish the meal and feel like it was worth every penny – especially if it was LOTS of pennies. The more expensive the restaurant, the higher this bar is.
  2. It just takes more mental energy to choose a new place. There are marketing studies all about this. While in theory, we as consumers like “choice,” having more options actually makes pulling the trigger on a purchase more difficult. If you’ve ever found yourself staring at a wall full of pasta sauce options, apparently paralyzed by this earth-shaking decision, you know what I mean.
  3. The place you know is comfortable – you know they’ll make your drink just the way you like it, or that you can ask for the sauce on the side without feeling high-maintenance. Sometimes, like Cheers, they even know your name, and that can feel pretty nice.
  4. Beyond the food and the dining experience, there are more unknowns associated with the logistics of a new place – navigating there, traffic patterns at a given time of day, whether or not it will be crowded, finding a parking spot, etc.
  5. This one’s the real kicker: if you’re eating with a group, or even just with your significant other (or any kind of “other,” really)… all of the above are compounded. Each individual has their own set of criteria for what makes an experience positive; their own quirks and dislikes; their own budgetary concerns; their own dietary desires; and their own logistical needs. Layer on some groupthink and it’s easy to understand why “let’s just eat at Panera again” happens as often as it does. This, in my opinion, is not optimal.

And ^^^ all of THAT ^^^ is why Simili exists. It’s like a “magic eight ball” for dining decisions… but smarter, because it will suggest places that you and your group will actually like. And if your experience is less than you’d hoped for, well… you all have someone/thing else to blame – so it’s mentally a lot easier to move on and think “ah, well – at least we tried it!”

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