7 Ways Disney Food & Beverage is Leaving Money on the Table
This week I’ve been in three of the Walt Disney World parks and noticed that opportunities for purchasing food & beverage were limited due not so much to COVID, but simply poor decision making on the part of management. In the wake of this, when Disney needs to make all of the money it can to get through this once-in-a-generation moment, we have instead money being left on the table by guests who frankly are ready to spend in the parks.
In this Disney at Work podcast we look at 7 ways Disney is missing the opportunity to improve their per caps. You may not run a restaurant–that’s not important here. But if you have a business, you may learn some thing about how you could be generating greater revenue than you thought possible–especially in uncertain times like these.
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1. Be Our Guest for Breakfast
Passing through Magic Kingdom the other morning I noticed that the ever popular Be Our Guest Restaurant is not open for breakfast. Neither is Cinderella’s Royal Table. Two of the most popular dining reservation restaurants in all of Walt Disney World, and no one is interested in breakfast?
Indeed, there are not table dining locations available for breakfast at Magic Kingdom. Not Tony’s. Not Plaza. Not Crystal Palace. Not Skipper’s Canteen. Not Liberty Tree Tavern. Yes Sleepy Hollows and Friar Tucks and Gaston’s. But no formal sit down dining options. Are we missing something here? Are we saying that there isn’t anyone who wants a sit down breakfast at Magic Kingdom. I know those reservations went like hotcakes prior to the pandemic. Maybe vaccinations are turning people off of eggs and bacon.
My guess is this decision is being made by a bureaucrat who drinks coffee for breakfast on their way into work. It’s not being made by someone who gathered their family for a big day at the Magic Kingdom and wanted to start off with a big breakfast.
Are you walking in the shoes of your customer? Or are you making bureaucratic decisions?
2. Don’t Outlaw the Outpost Popcorn
Since the pandemic, Kat Sakas’s has been closed. I initially thought this was due to the confined space Cast Members could work in. After all these months, I’m not so sure. The other retail spaces aren’t really much bigger, and in fact, some of those don’t allow more than one guest at a time. So why not just have on guest in Kat Saka’s at any moment? It’s a riddle?
Is it that the popcorn isn’t a sell? If not, then sell something else. They were selling Galaxy Green toward the end.
On the other hand, why don’t they sell it in the shops? After all, other popcorn varieties are sold in the retail locations. Oh yeah…I remember. It’s retail. Retail doesn’t talk very well with Food & Beverage. Because they operate in silos, there are a lot of great products that could be sold in either venue, but they aren’t.
On this same note, do you know that in every park you can find caramel apples, or hand dipped chocolate covered rice crispy treats or fudge in every park? Except one. Disneys’ Hollywood Studios. In perhaps the biggest blunder of all, retail took out those items and replaced it with a “show stopping selection of Pixar merchandise and pre-packaged treats”. And when they did, sales went down considerably. And why did they take it out and put in Pixar? Because budget cuts took out any retail options when Toy Story Land was added to the park. As an after thought, they took out the employee break room at Toy Story Mania and added something–which is perhaps the most hidden retail location ever contrived.
By the way, when you are at Pixar Pier, be sure to check out Bing Bong’s Sweet Stuff–a store that sells both Pixar and the kinds of candied goods I mentioned earlier. And it does a fantastic job of it.
Lots of lessons can be had in this situation. But at the forefront one has to ask what options would be available if you drop the silos within your organization?
3. Mix the Savory and the Sweet
While we’re at it, why can you only by beverage products when you are at the Milk Stand. Is the title keeping you from making better sales? In food & beverage, you should never sell something sweet without something savory or salty, and vis versa. You never sell sodas without chips or popcorn. In fact, why not sell the Outpost popcorn at the Milk Stand?
You probably don’t sell popcorn, but you do offer your own array of products and services. What’s missing from those products and services that would be a natural compliment?
4. Update Specials on Mobile Apps
My experience at Restaurantasourus in March reminded me how they nearly missed a revenue opportunity because the Mobile Ordering app wasn’t tracking seasonal items. Worse, my having to wait for a meal that was not ready created a terrible customer service experience.
How is technology keeping you from making the sale?
5. Bento Box That
My daughter purchasing a Bento Box in Japan the other night at Epcot reminded me of prepared package meals that were sold in connection with seeing Fantasmic and other shows/events. In a pandemic, these previously prepared items would be a great way to make sales–especially at the end of the day when perhaps people want to just grab and go. Better yet, an option of having Disney themed Bento-styled boxes would be cool. It could be a collectors item all on its own. And it would offer you an opportunity to uncharge. And who at Disney doesn’t like uncharging.
In short, how could you better package opportunities that weren’t there before? Could your packaging upgrade the value of your offering in a way to provide a better price point?
6. Stay Awake
It is stunning how few dining options–particularly casual style options–are available up until closing. In the Magic Kingdom you can typically find Pecos Bills and Cosmic Rays–maybe Sleepy Hollow. But not Pinocchio’s, not Friar Tucks’s, not Lunching Pad, Not Liberty Square Market, Not Gaston’s and especially not Tomorrowland Terrace.
And this is not even counting those not open at all like Columbia Harbor House, Casey’s, the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor or Tortuga Tavern. Table dining? Crystal Palace and Even Tony’s and Skipper Canteen this evening closes two hours before the end of the day. Meanwhile, I drive down 192 afterwards and every restaurant and drive through is slammed. Slammed!
Then there’s the Studios. Pizzarizzo, Backlot Express, ABC Commissary, Ronto Roasters, Baseline Tap House. ABC closes at 4:30 and Ronto at 3:00! What are they thinking! Meanwhile Woody’s Lunchbox is so packed that if you haven’t ordered 2-3 hours in advance, you may not get anything at all.
To summarize, are you missing revenue because you’ve closed up too soon, or made yourself unavailable?
7. Second Starbucks to the Right
Most egregious is Trolley Car Cafe or Starbucks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I could understand Epcot since it’s location is floating and Animal Kingdom since it’s a little off the beaten path, but if I told you some 3-10,000 people might walk by your place of business in a certain hour of the day, would you re-consider staying open during that hour? More business is done at the key gift shops at Disney in the last 2 hours of the day than the rest of the day combined (Emporium, MouseGears, Mickeys Of Hollywood, Island Mercantile). Why wouldn’t you stay open as well? Starbucks at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom stay open after hours, why not the other stores? Again, look at your benchmarks around you. If they’re making money, should you?
By the way, what does Trolley Car Cafe? Traveler’s Cafe, Main Street Bakery and Creature Comforts all have in common? The primary reason people visit is for Starbucks and yet none of them have the name Starbucks in the title. Just call it a Starbucks.
Souvenirs for Your Organization
- Are you walking in the shoes of your customer? Or are you making bureaucratic decisions?
- What options are available if you drop the silos within your organization?
- What’s missing from your products and services that would be a natural compliment?
- How is technology keeping you from making the sale?
- How could you better package opportunities that weren’t there before? Could your packaging upgrade the value of your offering in a way to provide a better price point.
- Are you missing revenue because you’ve closed up too soon, or made yourself unavailable?
- What are your other benchmarks doing out there?
The Wayfinder Society: A Patreon Site for Disney Fans
We are offering a new program where you have the opportunity to enjoy exclusive offerings from Disney at Play and Disney at Work. Join us as we introduce our new Patreon program, the Wayfinder Society, intended to give you new insights to all things Disney, whether its work or play. I am truly excited to share this new opportunity with you and look forward to creating new experiences that you will enjoy whether at home or at the Disney parks. There are a variety of options for joining, depending on your interests:
When you join, you will be given access to unique, interactive apps that explores the parks in new ways, offering stories, photos, videos and more.
Here are some of the interactive apps we share with members of our society:
- Pandora: World of Avatar: This is an expansive and detailed look at every aspect of this land. You can’t find any source that has covered this entire land with its attractions, retail and dining more in depth.
- Pirates of the Caribbean Across the Globe: We not only compare this attraction in parks world-wide, but we deep dive into what makes each unique. Currently we’ve covered Tokyo Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. More to come!
- Coming Soon! S.E.A. Assembled! The Society of Adventurers and Explorers are coming to the Wayfinder Society. We’ll document their whereabouts and showcase their imprint on Disney attractions world-wide.
- Disney at Work Interactive Tour: Disneyland. For our upper tiers, we have an interactive business tour of Disneyland to include more than fifty attractions spread throughout the park. These are best-in-business ideas you can apply to your own organization.
- Coming Soon! Disney at Work Interactive Tour: Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary. Looking at the heritage of Most Magical Place in the World, we draw best practices from over the years that you can again, apply to your organization.
As you see, we have so much to share. And when you donate, a portion of your contribution goes to Embrace Celebration, dedicated to helping Disney Cast Members and others in this area who are unemployed during this pandemic. To learn more, visit our site to discover our offerings and various tiers. Join us!