Waiting Line Management at Build a Bear Workshop is interesting. In addition to this articleÂ You can also view all 40+ articles on Queueing Theory.
Last Saturday, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. For her birthday, we took her and 13 of her friends to Build-A-Bear Workshop, which is a business that where you can:
- Choose your Bear
- Create a voice for your Bear
- Stuff the Bear
- Stitch the Bear
- Fluff the Bear
- Dress the Bear
- Name the Bear
- Then go home with a nice big bear house box
Needless to say, my daughter and all her friends loved it. This business is a mix of merchandising, collectibles, and entertainment — a great business; an entire experience that really satisfies their target customer.
Our group had a Bear Guide, an employee that helped each of the girls through each step. At step 1, there was no bottleneck because there were several bins where the girls could pick out their bear. At Step 2, we chose to skip this one because it was an upsell. At Step 3, there was a fluff machine with 2 available hoses to fluff the bears with. This was the bottleneck in the process and with 13 girls at a birthday party, you wouldn’t want them to wait. Our Bear Guide was great — during this step, she had the girls play a game while she stuffed the bears and stitched them. Little do the girls know, that our guide was employing a tactic in Queueing Psychology — the waiting feels less of a burden if you’re engaged in something interesting or entertaining, while you’re waiting for the real reason for being at the point of service. This was a great demonostration of an effective use of Queueing Psychology.
The rest of the process went well and smoothly. All throughout the process there is singing, dancing, and it’s just fun for the kids.
Out of curiousity, I asked the manager of the store how the store is doing financially. I asked him, on average, how many bears are produced and the average price of the bear. He said:
“About 300 bears are produced per day during the week at about $30/bear. On the weekend, that number goes to about 500 bears per day.”
WoW! This means that this store brings in at least $60,000/week. Very nice.
As a review, below are the steps to better manage the Psychology of Queues:
- Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time.
- Process-waits feel longer than in-process waits.
- Anxiety makes waits seem longer.
- Uncertain waits seem longer than known, finite waits.
- Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits.
- The more valuable the service, the longer the customer is willing to wait.
- Solo waits feel longer than group waits.