Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Getting "Loose/ Tight" Right: Dinner at 50's Prime Time Cafe

"Customer experience design is not about scripting your people, or prescribing exact behaviors at every point. It’s about creating the right environment, with the right ‘back-stage’ support and technology and then enabling your people to facilitate an experience that will be valued by your customers." (1)

My team had dinner together at 50's Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios, and they delivered the best customer experience I've had at WDW so far. From the black and white TVs, and 50's inspired uniforms, to the home-cooking inspired menu, the environment absolutely set the stage for a unique experience. We were called to our table by, "Alston Kids! You're late for dinner!" (Alston is Marc's last name, who made the reservation, by the way). Our server, Laura, reminded us of the Mom's house rules - no elbows on the table, hats off, and finish your food. She was strict and all-business, yet playful and accommodating at the same time. Despite minor glitches in service delivery, Laura was so engaging and so in character that the small errors were completely overshadowed by her attentiveness, her positive attitude, and her frequent smiles.

One of the concepts that resonated with me from the readings was the idea of the "loose/tight" management approach. Instead of being loose about what Disney's brand represents, yet tight about cast member behavior, it was evident that 50's Prime Time Cafe worked in reverse, giving Laura and her cast members the freedom to create an experience that was overwhelmingly creative, fun, and true to the Disney spirit. The service may not have been perfect, but the 50s Prime Time Cafe created happiness for our team. Mission accomplished.


(1) Defining customer experience. Smith&Co. 2013. Available online: http://www.smithcoconsultancy.com/pdfs/uploads/Customer_experience_design.pdf

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