Good Hummus

There’s an Israeli restaurant in Philly called Zahav, and the place is constantly packed. The name Zahav means “gold” in Hebrew, and is a reference to Jerusalem, which has been a cultural crossroads for thousands of years. The hummus at this place is gold, too, and brings people together from all over the tri-state area. Among their many delicious dishes, the hummus stands out. It’s good. Like, really, really good. Ask someone from Philly about Zahav and they’ll start talking about hummus.

After you finish your meal at Zahav, your waitress will hand you and the guests at your table a survey and ask you to fill it out. After you fill it out, your waitress will collect it. On that survey is a question that caught my eye the last time that I ate there — it’s highlighted below:

Will you join us again?

This is a clever question because of an age old influencing tactic that marketers call consistency or commitment.

People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done, especially when their positions are publicly stated and written down. We tend to view consistency as an attractive social trait and as indicative of someone being rational, trustworthy and stable. So we all want to be seen to be consistent.

I’m writing this on June 13th, 2018. Today over 265 Zahav reservations were placed on OpenTable. The restaurant isn’t that big, so the next available reservation for a party of four is 37 days away.

In 2008, Zahav was named one of Esquire’s Top 20 New Restaurants in America and Philadelphia Magazine selected Zahav as its Best New Restaurant. The owner, Michael Solomonov, is now a celebrity chef. He’s released a few cookbooks and opened a few more restaurants in Philly and up and down the east coast. So it’s unlikely that many people are coming back to Zahav because they checked the “yes” box on a survey. It’s probably because of the hummus, among other things.

But when positions are voluntarily stated in public, and especially when they’re stated in writing, remember consistency. Sure — Obama really wanted free healthcare for everyone in America. But he was likely even that much more motivated to go to the mat over it because of this concept. He campaigned on it. He promised it.

If you encourage your customers to make a small commitment to your brand, could that leave you in a better position to motivate them to stay engaged? Probably.

If your friend bets on Clean as a Whistle to win the Kentucky Derby, will she be more sure of the horse winning? Will she be more likely to increase her bet before the race begins? Probably.

Next time someone makes a commitment to you, remember that it could be part of a subconscious, influential recipe for consistency. Spread it on a plate. Dust with paprika. Drizzle it with olive oil. Sprinkle it with parsley. Whip it up right, and they’ll come back for more.