Choose where to eat, with an Algorithm (really)

Ever been out with a friend looking for somewhere to eat?

You know what you don’t want but don’t know what you do want (read that again if you didn’t get it the first time).

The search becomes frustrating as the hunger grips you making you its prisoner. Then you’ll hear ‘I  really don’t mind what we eat, I’m happy with whatever’ after having spent half an hour searching. This, ladies and gentlemen can quickly escalate to being hangry. Been there before one too many times?


adjective /ˈhæŋ.ɡri/ /ˈhæŋ.ɡri/ informal
A state of anger and irritability resulting from being hungry.

According to Brian Christian, author of Algorithms to live by: The Computer Science of Human Decisions, there is an algorithm called optimal stopping that can help us hangry foodies. The magic number is 37! It doesn’t have to stop at restaurant choices either, it can apply to all areas of your life.

Evaluate 37% of your options and don’t commit to any of them. After this point, be willing to say yes to anything that’s better than those you’ve seen.

We put it to the test at Hawker’s House Street Feast -the perfect place for too much choice and we came in on the right side of the percentage when we chose the wickedly delicious mini naan sliders by Rolawala – lamb, dal and chicken.


Our favourite was the dal slider even though we’re meat lovers ironically – naan covered with beetroot, coconut and channa dal cooked down with their EPIC 9-spice masala.

When you’re in a place like Hawker House, trust us failing is okay as there is so much choice and so much quality food (watch out for our blog coming soon). We’re also happy to go on and fail the 63% of the time with our choices (I know, we’re really nice people).

Let’s put a stop to hanger and make your eating out experience memorable for the right reasons.

Looking for somewhere to eat out in South London? Try one of our spots in Love South of the River.

Want to find out more  about optimal stopping theory? Check out the podcast, Note to Self  to see how they put the stop hanger challenge to the test, and even tried the same algorithm for finding love.



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