By Audrey Presley, TimeForge Educator

Having a lot of options doesn’t make things complicated. If anything, it makes them simpler, because the customer gets exactly what they need without needing to modify their processes. Our product meets our customers’ needs because of (not in spite of) the number of options we give our users. This point was driven home when Anthony and I met up at a local independent pie bar here in beautiful Lubbock, Texas.

When walking into The Choc’late Mousse Pie Bar for the first time, I couldn’t help but think, “What is this place?” It’s not a negative assessment by any means. It looks like a gourmet coffee shop, but the food presentation brings Willy Wonka to mind (Wilder’s Wonka, not Depp’s). There are six pictures of tempting dishes displayed neatly on the wall behind the counter, a large display of serving dishes and mini chalkboards reporting the flavors of the day, a neat row of different colors of crumbled crust, and a chalkboard drink menu. After absorbing how these pieces came together, the realization hit me: This place is awesome! It’s pie – deconstructed. It’s really very ridiculously simple and satisfying, because there are so many options! The customizability is why Carson has such rave reviews on sites like UrbanSpoon. These reviews are spectacular, especially since Carson does no advertising except through word-of-mouth.

We walk up to the the ice-cream-shop-style counter and discuss our flavor preferences with the owner, a 20-something named Carson. The first decision  is size of pie… this could get messy. There are six options (plus a sampler, so seven options). We are eating here, not getting it to go.

Do I want a Piebite, which is served in a small double-shot sized dish? Probably not. I feel a strong need for pie coming on, and Piebite will certainly not quench this craving.

Perhaps a Pietini? Though a martini glass brimming with pie filling is closer to my goal, it lacks crust. Not an option for my pie.

A Piefait may do the trick. Parfait dish full of pie with crusts on bottom and on top… perhaps a bit much crust, after all.

Piewich? Served between two graham crackers, a la s’mores of my childhood Girl Scout adventures? I’m wearing a nice shirt – and I’ve got a meeting in an hour downtown.

Piefection. I’ve found it at last! A wine glass with crust only on the bottom, brimming with pie filling and topped with a scoop of home-made whipped cream. Perfec – er, piefect.

Now that I’ve successfully decided on my personalized craving-quenching size, I need to pick a flavor. There are eight to choose from on any given day, and the flavors usually rotate throughout the week. Carson uses his mom’s recipes to whip up these decadent fillings.

Today the flavors are Choc’late Mousse, White Choc’late Mousse, Lemon, Peanut Butter Cup, Oreo, Milky Way, Cheesecake, Banana Creme, Key Lime, and Creamy Apple.

This is an easy decision. Lemon. Hands down, the best pie flavor ever. Sweet. Tart. Delicious.

Okay – one more pie decision to make. Crust. Carson occasionally changes up the flavors, but today I can choose from six options. Marshmallows, Pretzel Crust, Oreo Crust, Nilla Wafer Pecan Crust, Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust, or Honey Graham Cracker Crust.

Another simple choice. Lemon filling = chocolate crust. Always. Not Oreo. I don’t want my chocolate to be diluted with Oreo filling.

Okay, pie is being constructed by the owner behind the counter. This pie will be awfully sweet, I think I should get something to wash it down.

More options! About five different flavors of sodas, five flavors of glass bottled sodas, three coffee sizes, three cappuccino sizes, hot chocolate, milk, juice, two different brands of bottled water, and hot or iced tea. That’s at least 32 options, if you consider the options of sugar, creamer, and espresso shots for the coffees. I want a SmartWater.

How many options was I just presented with? It took me a total of perhaps 10 seconds to make all of those decisions, and I had to choose between 336 pie combinations which could have been for dine-in or carry-out, and 32 drink options, and of course the options of simply not getting any particular item. There were 21,504 options that I had to choose from, but at no point did I feel overwhelmed or confused.  If anything, I appreciate Carson’s decision to give me options, because he probably wouldn’t have offered a lemon filling / chocolate crust option by default. This pie bar gave me the ability to find the products that met my specific need, which was different from Anthony’s (he got a Piebite to go), and find satisfaction that pies with less options can’t offer.

TimeForge doesn’t offer a ton of features to complicate the lives of our users. We offer a ton of features to help simplify it. I managed to weigh the pros and cons of 21,504 options in a matter of seconds, and our users find our software to be just as simple. TimeForge is as easy as pie!

If you haven’t ever used TimeForge, sign up for a free trial. No credit card required – this really is a 100% free trial. It’s 10 days long, and I want you to see how simple our software is for yourself. Just like Carson helps his customers choose the best flavors for their palates, our support team can help you decide on the best options for your business.