The Orange Juice Test (from the book “The Secrets of Consulting”)

In consulting, people is familiar with “Airport Test”. And I recently read this “Orange Juice Test” from the bookThe Secrets of Consulting, which not only clarified the relationship between consultants and clients, but also for supply chain and suppliers.

Here is the link of the post (, and I copy/past the core content down below from Des Traynor’s blog.

“Oh, The Orange Juice Test has nothing really to do with orange juice. It’s just named after one particular application of the test in which it’s used to select a conference hotel. But you can use the test for selecting any service.”

“Like consultants?”

“Or software houses. Which is how I learned about it. One of my clients told me about it, when I asked her the same question.”

“So how does it work?”

“Well, imagine that you had to choose a site for an annual sales convention, accommodating seven hundred people.”

“I have some experience with that problem. It’s not easy”

“Yes, but with The Orange Juice Test, you can do pretty well. At the very least you can eliminate some of the losers.”

“I’m all ears, how do you do it?”

LeRoy smiled over his coffee cup. “When you see the banquet manager for a hotel, you pose the following problem: The founder of your company has established a hallowed tradition for your sales meetings, requiring that each morning’s sales breakfast starts with a short toast to success, using orange juice”

“A sales breakfast for seven hundred people?” I grimaced. “That’s downright disgusting!”

“Oh you don’t really intend to have the breakfast. It’s just part of the test. You then explain the breakfast has to start at 7am…”

“That’s even more revolting!”

“… and that each of the seven hundred people must have a large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.”

“A large glass?”

“Yes, large. Not like this one, which they simply call large on the menu. But a drinking glass size, at least.”

“And freshly squeezed?”

“Yes. No more than two hours before serving”

“I see the problem”

“Well that’s the test. After posing this problem you listen to what the banquet manager tells you.”

“They’ll probably say it can’t be done.”

“That might happen,” LeRoy said, “in which case they flunk The Orange Juice Test.”

“But I know managers who would say, ‘No problem’, just to get the business”

“… which also flunks The Orange Juice Test. They might be lying, or they might really think there’s no problem. I don’t know which is worse, but I don’t want to have my convention at either place”

“So who passes?”

“The one who says what you said to us, when you took this job”

I was puzzled, “I don’t remember discussing orange juice. What did I say?”

LeRoy smiled. “You said, ‘That’s a real problem. I can help you with it, … and this is how much it will cost.’ So you passed The Orange Juice Test.

“But surely you considered more than that? No doubt I could get workers to squeeze oranges at 5 a.m. if I paid them a thousand dollars apiece. But would you be willing to pay that much?”

“I might, or I might not, but it’s not for the banquet managers to decide that for me. That’s my job, not theirs. If your price had been too high, we would have eliminated you, too. But that’s a different test. There’s no sense in getting a low price if they can’t do the job, or if they’re going to con you and give you canned orange juice in small glasses”

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — -

From a client’s perspective (or the supply chain side looking for a supplier), it’s their problem to decide if they’re going to pay you that much or not.

From a consultant or supplier’s perspective, it’s your problem to figure out how to actually fix the problem or make it happen — and charge a great fortune.:)

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Rebecca Gee’s story.