Signs of Great Service

On one occasion, I came across this sign when visiting a very popular dining spot. It was written on receipt tape, and pegged to the regular sign created for the restaurant. Its message was intended to re-direct customers upstairs past the store and to the dining portion of the restaurant.

Photo by J. Jeff Kober
Photo by J. Jeff Kober

I will grant you that the host or hostess at least had the diplomacy/tact to use “please” and “thank you.” But beyond the content, what message consciously or subconsciously does this sign deliver? What does it say about their preparation/readiness to host you as a guest? What does it say about whether they can carry through in delivering a great meal?

I should note that the message is tacked to a sign that cost a lot of money to create. And that sign is attached to a customized podium that cost thousands of dollars to create. But with all of the money spent on theming the guest entrance, it boils down to a hastily written sign on a paper receipt.

I was readying William “Sully” Sullivan’s biography, From Jungle Cruise Skipper to Disney Legend: 40 Years of Magical Memories at Disney. He speaks of the early years on Main Street, U.S.A. when most of the stores were run by lessees. His role was making certain that their stores were in keeping with the theming of the experience. He mentions not only making certain that employees were in costume and that the area was kept clean, but specifically notes making certain that there were no paper signs.

Here’s the irony: The picture I took was from a lessee of a Downtown Disneyland Resort restaurant.

I came to appreciate the attention to this detail when I was part of the Cast at Walt Disney World. Consider something as simple as selling bottled water at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor:

Menu at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Photo by J. Jeff Kober
Menu at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. Photo by J. Jeff Kober

Before you go changing that price, you not only have to have a new sign created, but you have to be in harmony with every other sign of bottled water sold throughout property. So if you’re changing the price, you’re changing the price across property. That’s a lot of signage, and it shows up in many ways. No wonder many of the new signage in food & beverage locations there are using digital displays.

New digital menu includes a lot of moving parts in the toys and clock surrounding the board. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.
New digital menu at Pinocchio’s Village Haus in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom includes a lot of moving parts in the toys and clock surrounding the board. It is a sophisticated sign to create, but it is easy to modify. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Signage is one of the most important ways we communicate to our customers. What message are you sending through the signs you create?

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