Employee Impressions

December 20, 2011 2 Comments

Amusement industry expert and veteran Allen F. Weitzel has either held or managed every job in the amusement industry during his 45-year career. Most recently he worked as the manager and developer of the park safety and training program at a California amusement park.

By Allen F. Weitzel

What can you expect from employees? How much of a difference can their actions make? What impressions will guests take away from a day at your facility?

What Kind of Impressions?

My wife, Susan, and I were in Santa Monica, California recently. We stopped for lunch at a popular, build your own hamburger operation. Short line to get in, as the restaurant was not yet busy. Our waiter welcomed us and explained how the order system worked.

As noontime arrived, the restaurant was packed. Someone other than our waiter brought our meals. We did not eat slowly, but we did not rush our meal. The food was good. Being a former food director, I knew about “table turns,” or making sure patrons were served quickly, without making them feel rushed, but maximizing rush-period seating. The employees were definitely motivated.

We were close to finishing our meal. Sue was in the middle of eating the remainder of her lunch. Her fork, containing the last bite of food, was in the air, equal distant from the plate to her open mouth, when a young female server came up from behind, reached around Sue’s left shoulder and whisked away her plate right out from under her, with no warning. The girl made no eye contact with me, nor did she stand next to Sue and ask her if she was done. Zap! The plate was pulled away while Sue’s fork was in the air. Had Sue accidentally dropped any food from her fork, it would have hit the bare table. Had the waitress bumped Sue in the process, Sue could have stabbed herself with her fork. In the world of safety, this is called an “independent employee action.” We both were stunned – like what happened? I asked Sue if she was done eating and she said, “I guess so!” I retorted, “Now, that’s an example of fast ‘table-turns!’ ” We joked that the restaurant philosophy seemed be to turn tables every 37 minutes and 20 seconds.

The action was so unexpected that we joked about that mid-fork move for the rest of the afternoon. Is there a message here? We will certainly remember that episode for a long time. The waitress’ actions may have been driven by the philosophy of serving customers quickly. This restaurant is part of a chain. Will it stop us from visiting one of their operations in the future? Maybe not us, but it might for other customers.

The paradox was that even though the place was busy, we did not feel pressured by “our” waiter to speed up our visit. It was a unique example of the lasting impression that one employee can leave with customers.

We all want our workers to exceed our customer expectations, but this impression is one you do not want remembered.

What Is a Good Impression?
Recently, I was walking through our park, headed for my office to get our company camera. Outside the employee back-stage door, I saw a mother holding her crying young son. I stopped and asked if he was all right. She said he was a little upset, but would be fine. I acknowledged her comment and proceeded to my office. I got the camera, but also picked up a roll of arcade tokens. When I arrived downstairs, the mother and boy were still there. I approached the mother and handed her the roll of tokens and said, “Here, this might make him feel a little better.” She looked at the tokens. It took her a second to understand what I had given her. Then she smiled and started to thank me loudly. I put my finger to my lips like a whisper motion and said, “It will be our secret.” She was then aware that other families might be watching and want tokens, too, so she smiled and whispered “Thank You.” What kind of impression will that patron take away from our facility and tell her friends about?

What Is The Connection?

Timing is everything. The waitress, working quickly, probably had the best intentions in mind, but she should have taken a few seconds to make sure Sue had finished her meal. In my case, I took the extra time to evaluate the status of the child, and then provide a positive action to the guest’s situation.

The Question?

Can you teach that lesson to employees? You certainly should try! Employees leaving guests with a positive impression should be emphasized in every training class you teach!

 

 

Back
2 Comments to “Employee Impressions”
  1. Robert A. Moulthrop,DDS says:

    The first step in teaching employees to meet or exceed our parient’s expectations is to make sure you expect them to do the “right thing” in all situations. Empower them to act on their own and “praise, praise, praise” them for getting it right.

    • Bob, Thanks adding your insight and experience to our message. The points hold true no matter what industry we are in. Praise is often overlooked as a motivator for our dedicated employees. We appreciate your interest in our Blog and your input. Always, -Allen

Sponsors

Martin Professionals

A lighting supplier of choice for the entertainment industry.

Wapello Fabrications

Inflatables and portable amusements.

Harris Miniature Golf Course

Design and construction of miniature golf courses and water rides.

Gerber Manufacturing, Ltd.

Outdoor furniture, benches, picnic tables and grills.

Price Chopper, Inc. Wristbands

Admission, financial equipment and wristbands.

Broaster Co., The

Food programs and food service equipment.

Adventure Glass

Unique paddleboats.

Kay Park Recreations Corp.

Picnic tables, grills, park benches, planters, trash containers and more.

Lil Orbits Inc.

Food equipment, donut machines and vendor carts.

SnowMasters

Evaporative snow systems.

Namco

Namco America is a premier manufacturer of coin-op arcade attractions, ranging from the hottest titles like Crazy Typhoon and Jumpin’ Jackpot to classic game-room experiences such as the Pac-Man 25th Anniversary upright that features Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Specialized pieces such as Wonka Sweetland and Flamin Finger are favorites too! For arcade gaming fun, Namco America is your answer.

Max Flight

Manufactures interactive virtual reality motion-platform game systems including networkable flight and roller coaster simulators.

Sacoa

Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

Midway Concepts (Circus Tops)

Premier designers of stainless steel food service equipment.

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Formula K Raceways

Go-karts, kiddie cars and bumper boats, go-kart parts and tires.

Precision Dynamics (PDC)

Wristbands with no hidden costs, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Wristband System.

Family Fun Corp.

Waterpark walls for rivers, bumper boat and splash down pools.

Friedman Group Ins.

Insurance for amusement devices.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Look Solutions

Fog machines.

Sureshot Redemption

One-stop source for prize redemption counters at entertainment centers.

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.

Knight Equipment

Drive cables for ferris wheels, Tilt-A-Whirls, Rock-O-Planes and many others.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

Zebec Water Sports

Large variety of waterpark needs

Splashtacular

Manufacturer of waterslides

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

Action Lighting Co.

Lighting supplies.

Jane Farrell Turf and Carpets, Inc.

Commercial carpet, printed and decorative patterns, loop and cut-pile construction. Wall coverings in fluorescents, Class A fire rated. Colored turf, both traditional and neon colors.

International Special Events (ISERA)

Risk purchasing group, a better way to purchase liability insurance, specializing in inflatables and much more.

Qubica

Sells capital equipment to bowling centers.

Money Tree - ATM

ATM machines.

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Wisdom Industries, Ltd.

Amusement ride manufacturer, new and used rides.

Rides-4-U, INC.

New and used rides, kiddie, family, major and thrill.

National Rock & Sculpture

Dedicated to the conceptual design and development of themed environments.

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Gould Manufacturing, Ltd.

Concession trailers and Antique, Jeep and Grand Prix auto rides.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Water Wars (T&D Enterprises of Brainerd)

Water Wars water balloon game, portable or startionary.

Tear Repair

Tear-Aid industrial strength patches to repair holes and tears.

S&S Worldwide

Large Park amusement rides.

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Coast to Coast

Coin-operated entertainment, crane machines.

Xtreme Inflatables

Repair and service for all inflatable products.

Spectrum
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Premier Polysteel
Cannonball Blaster
Funovation