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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Signs we love: 5 Guys Burgers & Fries

Servicescapes – the physical environments where experiences take place – give the customer cues about the service encounter about to be performed. What actions will take place, what role the customer themselves must play, and what quality they can expect. Good ones also take an intangible experience and use physical evidence to make it more tangible.

It’s not officially “burger week”, but today’s example of the service environment giving a tangible cue to the quality of the experience comes from 5 Guys Burgers & Fries.

Like In-N-Out Burger, the 5 Guys experience relies heavily on exceptional execution of a simple experience.

To communicate their simplified service model and their commitment to quality inputs, they proudly display the location the potatoes come from that will become today’s serving of fries.

Customers get a reassuring sense that 5 Guys has a simple enough service model that they both know where their ingredient inputs come from and care about their quality. That kind of volunteered accountability provides customers up-front confidence in the quality of the experience. It also makes the experience more tangible. They may not know where Shoshone, ID is, but the information creates in customers' minds vivid imagery of the life of their produce on an Idahoan potato farm.

Think about your physical environment, and what cues it provides about the quality of the experience you’re about to provide. Do you have a Mercedes experience in a Yugo wrapper? What could you do to enhance how customers perceive the quality of the experience they are about to receive? What could you do to make it more tangible? Could you, like 5 guys, promote the high-quality inputs to your experience as proof of the service quality they can expect from you?