In 2010 we were approached by Harrah’s Entertainment, which has since become Caesars Entertainment, to help them solve their beverage problems. They approached a large company, a medium company, and us…the small company. The goal was to improve beverage service at their slots and table games because they had made a correlation between customer satisfaction and revenue. A happy customer (with drinks) stays longer and spend more. The problem was that their beverage service was horrible. The journey went like this:
- Beverage host would come take your order while you were gambling
- Beverage host would continue to walk down the aisles between the slots taking more beverages (doing their rounds)
- When 10-15 drink orders were jotted down on the order pad, the Beverage Host would walk over to the beverage well
- Beverage host would call out the orders to a bartender
- Orders were all prepared then placed on a tray
- Beverage host would walk out and deliver these beverages
This often took about 20 minutes and we knew that if a guest is losing at a slot, most time that guest would move to another slot machine within 7 minutes. As you can imagine, the process I just outlined above takes much longer than 7 minutes. So the guest doesn’t get their free drink and the casino throws away these beverages. After speaking to some of the beverage managers, we discovered that up to 20% of beverages were just thrown out. And when the guests did get their drink, it was often watered down by the time they started to drink it.
We set off to develop a solution that would allow us to get the beverages in the guests hands in 7 minutes or less. This required a complete shift in how beverages orders were being taken by beverage hosts and how they were ultimately being delivered. We developed a three-person solution that included a beverage host to take the orders, the bartender that prepared the orders, and a beverage server that delivered the beverages.
The software we created would take in the order and automatically group beverages that would simulate the trays that would ensure they went out after a time our count threshold was met (e.g. When 5 minutes were up or 10 beverages were on the tray). The result was that 95% of beverages were delivered to guests in 7 minutes or less and customer service scores went through the roof immediately.
Another benefit of the beverage ordering platform we created was that there was a tremendous amount of data on the types of beverages that were being delivered and how long it was taking to deliver beverages. We were able to pin down sections of the casino floor that needed better service by looking at the beverage order data and customer service scores. I feel like I now have a deep understanding for what and how people drink in Vegas!
This project ended up becoming a fantastic journey of understanding casino operations, beverage service, and deploying software and hardware in pretty harsh locations. Harrah’s used Kaizen to improve operations and technology was often a part of this equation. They had an Innovation department that lead initiatives like this and I was able to be right in the middle of the action. It was truly a special feeling to see our software implemented and in action at casinos on the Vegas Strip.
A blog post is still available on the Caesars blog if you would like to read a bit more.