I am a new business owner and work with healthy cookies. I currently have thirteen different varieties and want to expand more but have been warned that too many can be overwhelming to consumers. Is there a magic number??
As an aside, I wouldn't offer 13 of anything. Why appeal to people's biases?
That aside, I don't know if there's a magic number of not. But, from a marketing standpoint, keep in mind that there's no reason you have to offer your complete line at one time. That is, say you develop several more cookies, for a total of 20. You could have a base of, say, 15 that get offered every day, with one or two of the others being rotated as daily specials.
Not only does this make things more managable for you, from a production standpoint, it encourages daily visitation by people anxious to try that day's special.
I get overwhelmed by the donut counter at times. I like KY's idea of rotational cookies as well. I don't know anything about magic numbers but the number 13 is lucky in my book so why not. What's really important is to pay attention to what your customers are buying and what they're not buying. If you see that nobody is touching the flax seed cookies for example you know it's time to get rid of them for your own sake.
Something I really appreciate that major chains seem to do well is seasonal products. I love the idea of pumpkin cookies in fall, gingerbread cookies in winter, and so on. It's a nice way to alternate things a bit.
I agree with KY and KouKou on the rotational cookie idea.
I'm not sure how vast your resources are at this point, but why limit yourself to just a few cookies for the rest of forever? No matter what business your in, that sounds like an uninspired and non-progressive company. I, too, love seasonal items from a variety of places (Starbucks, Saladworks, etc.). It gives you something to look forward to each season.
On the flip side, I also agree that you need to keep a sound business-minded approach. Keep the staples that everyone loves, and rather than throwing another 5 or 6 into the daily mix right away, try a weekly rotation of new cookies. Add some of the favorites to the daily routine once you get a feel for your customers' likings.
Thanks for all the input!! I have been really leery about downsizing the amounts because I don't want it to look like I just opened yesterday and don't have recipes stacked to the ceiling. However, my fiance has been pushing me to slide the number down and rotate some of them out exactly like some of y'all have suggested. I have employed seasonal flavors and love that idea. I love the classics as well but my cookies are much different being that they are a healthy/more nutritious cookie- so I suppose Im going for a rotational schedule of yummy deliciousness! Lots of good feedback, thanks everyone!