Disney Tests Next-Gen Counter Service System

by 6 Comments

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This weekend I went to The Mara for dinner (menu) and was surprised to see a order delivery system that would replace the pagers used previously.

Before when you ordered and paid, you would get a pager that would go off to let you know your food was ready. Then you would go back up to the counter to retrieve your food.

Now, a new system is being tested. When you order your food, the Cast Member has a plastic number with a strip on it that gets scanned by a pod-like device on the counter. You receive the number, go pay, and then select a table in the dining room. Each table has an identical pod-like device where you scan your number when you sit down; a green light flashes to let you know your number has been accepted (it will beep if there is a problem, and you will have to scan the number again). Now that the system knows where you are sitting, when your food is ready a Cast Member will bring it to you, so you don’t have to get up again.

Cast Members at The Mara say they are trying out some new things in order to be more efficient. This also seems to be a precursor to the system being used for lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

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Posted on October 29, 2012

6 Responses to “Disney Tests Next-Gen Counter Service System”

  • by Ashley Parker on October 29, 2012, at 5:32 pm EDT

    They ARE still using the pager systems during their lunch-time however. Or at least they were last week.

  • Sounds similar to how they do it at ESPN Grill at the WWoS, except without the green light indicator.

  • They have been using this exact same system at a local restaurant for a few years now. It works pretty well, but we are small scale (I’m pretty sure the entire population of my county wouldn’t fill MK).

  • Disney does a HORRIBLE JOB at providing service for people that just want one quick little item like 1 fountain soda. Or like 1 forgotten side item or whatever.

    Basically, why is there a huge wait at these counter service restaurants? They should just have a bunch of food sitting ready at their peak times. They charge so much of a mark up, they can certainly afford it. (But it would actually help them make more money if they could do service more effectively.)

    What if I was taking my food to go? Do they take that into account?

    And yes, what happens when there is nowhere to sit?
    Maybe there would be a “to go” counter.

    I really enjoy counter service restaurants that bring your food out to you. (Culver’s does this; Hardee’s started doing this sometimes; ) Sonic does this (at the drive-in; although it’s more like table service at fast food quality and prices there because you order where you eat).

    This is especially advantageous with kids. You get the kids settled at the table, and you effectively have a “server” that you don’t have to tip. But then it’s annoying because they won’t bring you refills or ketchup or napkins or silverware or a cup of water or a whole host of things they would do at table service.

    It wouldn’t work in the mega counter service of magic kingdom. There’s too much real estate to cover out in the dining area of those counter service restaurants and there are several restaurants connected together.

  • RE: Not finding a place to sit
    The problem with full tables is due to the fact that a lot of groups will find a table before placing their order. This may be more efficient to just send 1 person to go place the order for the 4 person family, but it causes the tables to remain occupied a lot longer than they would otherwise. I expect that Next Gen tech will help with this by accurately tracking how long the table is in use (by both parties using the same table) It can measure the time between one SCAN IN because someone has returned from the counter – to the next SCAN IN. This timing doesnt care that someone sat at the table before another member placed an order at the counter. With this metric, you can predict HOW MANY tables will be needed and how often they should turn over.

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