Think back to the last few entertainment venues you went to. Maybe it was the race track with mini versions of “fast cars”, a mini-golf course, bowling alley, or even an arcade. Cool activities in a place that is appropriately type-casted as whatever the main attraction may be. What is most interesting is how the place is literally designed around the main event and not the end-user.
Most entertainment places are designed to race you through as quickly as possible
There is a forgone conclusion drawn by the operators of exactly how your time should be spent and everything else is a distant second. An afterthought. You are shuffled into the space, cue up in line, get your pass, begin the activity, then you leave….you are a transaction. In fact, most of these places spend a significant amount of their resources in trying to figure out how to make the process go by even faster so they can make way for more “sheeple” to pass through their gates and pay the price of admission. Most people are happy to spend their precious time in the way that it's been designed by the corporate machines that are more focused on “throughput” rather than memory making. How often do you ever hear these places solicit feedback outside of asking about your level of satisfaction with their program? When was the last time one of these businesses asked you questions before the experience and not after? Do you ask someone how they want their steak cooked before it's cooked or when it hits the table? Why would we accept anything less for the rest of the experience? If someone cares about your time, wouldn't it make more sense to ask you about how you want to spend it rather than asking you if you are ok with how they used it?
What if there was some way for the business to know who you are, what you are celebrating, and what your goals are heading into your visit? Being empowered with this knowledge about you and the person(s) that will be spending time with you can develop an emotional connection because you were able to share a humanizing nugget with them which transforms you from a wallet into a human being.
Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him”, has never been so obvious as watching large venues fill up with groups who have all chosen to spend their precious time with their companions while you see surly wait staff, check-in associates and managers who are incapable of feeding off of the tremendous energy these anonymous people bring into a room. We all have a biological instinct to create snap judgments based on physical appearances and other obvious traits, but what if the business model started with really getting to know you? What if we could create a systematic way to eliminate anonymous people in a simple, non-invasive way that allows us to better serve their needs. When you know better, you do better, right? Start by eliminating anonymous business.
Servers vs. “Connectors”.
Entertainment venues should not be a “one size fits all”. Sure, this way of thinking allows them to process groups faster and more efficiently when they give a cookie-cutter experience to guests, but that Starbucks cracked the code being "in the people business serving coffee"
shouldn't be the case in a place that's designed to make memories. If it's not customized for you, you are living the business’s best life and not yours. When Howard Shutlz, of Starbucks Coffee flipped the script years ago by proclaiming “We are not in the coffee business serving people, but in the people business serving coffee”, the entire business model for the company changed and he managed to grow from a small coffee shop to the biggest caffeine empire in the world. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
At “Ke'nekt” you won't see “servers and bartenders”. Those positions are reserved for dining and entertainment venues that have a predetermined script for how they will separate you from your money and don't think about how you feel after. Instead, let’s have “Connectors”!
“Connectors” have three primary functions that trump everything else:
- Value Time
- Encourage Evolving Exploration
- Create Moments that Earn Memories
The “Connectors” are given a big sandbox to play in by their “servant leaders” who protect the process that says “its ok to break the rules, just not the law”. This simple statement, followed by appropriate support, empowers these “connectors” to break the script and make memories that exceed expectations for their guests by customizing the experience. When you walk through the door and hear the question “how can we help you connect today?”, this is not just a clever phrase built to support the namesake, it’s the reason the namesake exists to begin with. Our entire purpose is to “build and enrich relationships through genuine connections” and starting with empowered team members was the first and most vital step in making this more than words on on a piece of paper.
If a “Connector” can't answer these questions, we’ve failed to eliminate anonymous service and made the choice to process people instead:
- “What brought the group together today?”
- “Tell me one thing about them that can’t be seen.”
“Every group that walks through our doors is different. Each sees the world through a unique lens and has personal expectations of what “fun” means. Every group is celebrating something different that is specific to them and their lives - whether it be with friends or family or co-workers or even a blind date. There are endless reasons to go out on the weekdays or weekends with big groups or small - so why are most places designed to have diverse groups all experience the same thing? Imagine if the business was designed to make the most of your time and let you choose your own adventure. What if the menu you ordered from allowed you to give shape to your time the way you want and what if that menu had creative food, memorable cocktails, and fun activities that you could try out just by checking a box and having an open mind?
Enter the Bucket List…
The core of the term “bucket list” is to accomplish things you haven't done and want to do. We will put aside the “before I die” aspect most people associate with this and substitute that with “with my time” so we can capture the essence of the concept. Life is measured in moments and the “reminiscence bump” that allows us to retain these memories is heavily stacked in the early part of our lives because we are experiencing more “firsts”. The first day of school, the first time driving, first love, first job, and many more significant moments in our lives. We tend to hold on to these “first moments” because our brain wires them into our memory because they are feelings we had not felt before. The fear and excitement of trying and experiencing new things are significant enough for our limited memory banks always trying to free up space in our “hard drive” to not erase these moments. Why do we wait to start a “bucket list” later in life when we should be seeking these moments in every leisure filled moment we have? This is the very reason that people are increasingly craving experiences over fungible goods. According to a Harris Report, “72% of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences than on material things.”
Our Bucket List gives you a menu of entertainment options to match your goals
Along with our passionate pursuit to eliminate waiting rooms
, we realize part of this process is accomplished by simply letting people know what is available to them. Most places on busy nights have a few tired, stressed, pressure soaked teams of about 2 to 3 “front desk associates” who are processing hundreds and thousands of guests a day. In an effort to avoid big lines, they quickly size up the group and assume what they are looking for and avoid delving into other options that require follow up questions or other forms of inefficient processing because the group behind them wants to sign up too. No one looks at the silly digital menu above their heads when they are cueing because it's too hard to see and there are too many distractions. Also, because there is a tiny glimmer of hope that when you reach the associate, they may care just enough to tell you there are other ways to enjoy the facility, but unless you are a relative, college friend, or Giselle, they are not interested in spending any more time with you than they must. They check their box and hurriedly say “next”, dismissing you and giving you the sense that asking a follow-up question would have their “Soup Nazi” persona creep through.
What if we gave you a menu that had all the options available as well as the activity “soup of the day” along with a “connector” whose entire mission was to help you achieve your goals and make sure memories were made? What if you decided to play a game of shuffleboard while drinking a ”Smoked Old-Fashioned”, then followed that up with an intense doubles match of ping pong while you were tasting “Short Rib Bao with Black Pepper Glaze” and a “Sake Lychee Martini”. Then you finish the night off by playing “giant Scrabble’ while scarfing down some chocolate-laced churros and sipping some fine reposado tequila. While this is my idea of a fun night, it may not be yours. The good news is, the Ke’nekt Bucket List allows you to choose your own adventure and not someone else's. It promotes the exploration and deviation from “the script” that other places in entertainment fear.
Combine the three things:
- The elimination of anonymous
- A “connector” who is empowered
- A bucket list menu that lets you choose what fits best for you
The Ke’nekt bucket list should not only open up new possibilities but with the process of checking off what you want, it lets you save your memory for the games and not trying to recall and stress over what the whole group wants to do and consume. The same goes for the “connector” who can spend less time transposing your wishes or avoiding special requests because they slow the process down and can simply take your list and begin making your dreams come true! This begs the question - why don't more places do this? Do you like it when the server spends 5 minutes reciting the specials to you and trying to remember what they said?
Your time is too valuable and irreplaceable to be ticked away on the same old service spiel and cookie-cutter experiences. Life’s too short to go by a script a bunch of suits have “optimized” around their profits rather than your priorities. There are many roads to connection, each is unique and personal and worthy of exploration. It’s time for a change in our industry that recognizes what makes you, you. We’ll be standing by to meet you, to learn what makes YOU tick, and to help you choose the adventure you deserve. “How can we help connect you today?”