Lean lessons from the pub

    Last Friday night I was in a small local club with a client, co-incidentally as they had the weekly member  “badge-draw” which had jackpotted to $19,000. As you can imagine the joint was packed, it took 20 minutes lining up  just to get a beer.

    What struck me, apart from thirst,  were the inefficient “production” conditions behind the bar, resembling many factories I have seen, but in this case, the problems were easily diagnosed.

  1. There was extra staff to handle the anticipated crowd, and they were absolutely run off their feet, but achieving little of value to customers
  2. All the lines to the 4 bar stations were similarly packed, there was no “quicker” line. At first glance, the “line” was running at its maximum capacity.
  3. Expedition was rife, people would see their mates in line, and get them to place a bigger order, annoying all who had lined up, and slowing the whole process considerably.
  4. The key production point, the beer dispensers, were idle perhaps 85% of the time, (I did not measure it, thirst was getting the better of me) as staff took orders, juggled the tills and  change, communicated with customers about which beer was which, the total of the bill, the slow service, and Aunty Fanny’s kidney stones, and did all the other stuff that created bottlenecks in front of the key “production” point.
  5. In short, there was no “flow” at all, it was a mess, and the sales lost were enormous, as the 19K jackpot went off at the first draw, and the crowds thinned out immediately as they went home thirsty, and angry.

    How easy would it have been to have one staff member pulling beers, and moving them to an “inventory” point for delivery to a thirsty waiting customer? Increasing the estimated 15% utilisation of the dispenser, would have removed the order  backlog very quickly and  easily, and would have removed a major source of customer irritation, increased sales, and reduced the obvious stress levels of staff.

    Whilst only one person could win the 19k, everyone else would have been much happier!




About strategyaudit

StrategyAudit is a boutique strategy and marketing consultancy concentrating on the challenges of the medium sized manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of our economy. The particular focus is on their strategic and marketing development. as well as the business and operational efficiency improvements necessary for day to day commercial survival. We not only give advice, we go down "into the weeds" to ensure and enable implementation.
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4 Responses to Lean lessons from the pub

  1. Pingback: Thinking “Lean” is instinctive. | StrategyAudit

  2. dongrgic says:

    Great example. There are many ways that bottleneck could have been reduced and more customers satisfied… not to mention the fatter till.

  3. Phil Jackson says:

    The problem is too many brands of beer factored times two for middies and schooners then all those people drinking wine or mineral water. It was so simple in the old days when the choice was “Old”, “New” or “Resches”.

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