When neighborhood diners offered a menu item named “chef’s choice” it usually involved a combination of food items that the cook had in excess. It was a way to efficiently use the inventory and avoid waste.

Other companies have developed ways to create their own version of “chef’s choice.”  Instead of cleaning the machines between each of its 16 flavors, the Dum Dum sucker company created a “mystery” flavored lollipop which is a mix of the flavors in the line during the switchover. Oreo is now promoting its own “mystery” flavored cookie, presumably for the same reason. Other companies sell “grab bags” with an assortment of products, sold sight unseen for a reduced price.

All these companies have found a way to make their waste into something profitable. How can you capitalize on your unused excess and turn it into an opportunity instead?

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