Have you had this kind of experience?

Hastening Service

Have you had this kind of experience?
Have you had this kind of experience?

While the film has yet to come out, the scene that follows couldn’t be funnier. It’s a preview of Disney’s new film, Zootopia, in which a rookie cop needs to run a license plate–fast. The scene brings us to the one place nothing ever goes quickly–your local Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll see why in this clip.

The last thing anyone visiting a Disney theme park wants is to feel like they are visiting their local DMV. Efficiency is one of the four keys at Disney’s parks and has been for many decades. With thousands of guests moving through the park experience, it’s important that processes are established to move guests as quickly as possible. Let’s look at the idea of improving Guest Service by Hastening Service.

Take this example at Cosmic Rays in Tomorrowland. This restaurant is one of the busiest counter service facilities–not just at the Magic Kingdom–but in the entire country.

Bay 3 used to be Soups and Salads. I guess burgers are more popular. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Bay 3 used to be Soups and Salads. I guess burgers are more popular. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

First, they host 3 sections each with 4 registers, allowing for 8 lines per section. That’s over 24 queues, two for each register. In doing this, they are able to accommodate one set of guests while the other set of guests move forward to decide what they want to purchase and to retrieve their wallet/purse to make that purchase. And, if they want to, they can quickly make that purchase with their MagicBand or with an Apple Watch without even pulling out the wallet.

Note that quees form on each side of the register and then are funneled in to one pick up line. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Note that queues form on each side of the register and then are funneled into one pick up line. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

At most counter service locations, you order your food and pick it up in the same location. Here, they separate purchasing from picking up the food. Guests converge to pick up their items after paying for them, then turn to exit down a separate lane.

Additionally, you’ll note that the condiments are available in a location completely separate from the purchasing/pick up activity. This again, helps to disseminate traffic and to reduce bottlenecks.

Condiment area is separated out with two-sided queues. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
Condiment area is separated out. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Disney has been doing this for years in their counter service restaurants. In their new Starbucks stores, there are other techniques they employ. Here, they also separate purchasing from pickup. But this time, they’re working to move the product as efficiently as possible. Take a closer look and you’ll see monitors that communicate how long it’s taking to get a drink to a guest. Blue is good. Yellow is caution–pay attention. And Red is past due.

A monitor at the end of the production line. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
A monitor at the end of the production line. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Even the individual drinks have their own queue when going through the process of moving from one of several registers into the activity. Take a look at this little queue for cups at the Starbucks in Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Is there such a thing as FastPass for paper cups? Photo by J. Jeff Kober
Is there such a thing as FastPass for paper cups? Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

I wouldn’t have noticed this, except that in the business of giving my order, I noticed my cup was at first just put to the side of the register. I could see how it might easily get side tracked. But then the next employee picked it up and put it in this queue. Within a few minutes my drink came out.

Anyone who has observed a Starbucks in operation at Walt Disney World will usually agree that people are hustling while doing their job. And there are a lot of them as well, all working around each other. I’ve easily counted 20 Cast Members at any time hovering behind the counter at The Magic Kingdom. It’s quite the contrast to our friends in Zootopia.

At Disney, you work to hasten guest service. What does it look like in your organization? What things do you do to efficiently move your customers through the experience? What processes do you have in place to move people as quickly as possible? What’s your commitment to not having customers wait any longer than needed? Are you hastening customer service?

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