Of Pizza Hut, ringing the bell and service brands

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Is it well known that at a Pizza Hut outlet, you can ring the bell on your way out, if you ‘had a good time’? It was news to me as I discovered over the several visits to a single outlet in the last 4 weeks. My wife and kid simply adore the place and we’ve ended up going there frequently.

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Apart from meeting the first tenets of a retail business (location, location, location) this particular outlet is buzzing with energy. Amidst the cacophony of squealing kids, screaming brats and amused fathers, the staff go about their job. They even remember to shout out a ‘Good show! Well done!’ when the occasional balloon bursts. And I think the gesture of ringing the bill is so simple yet so powerful. It reminds the consumer to physically acknowledge (to themselves and all others) that they had a good time. A synchronized ‘thank you!’ that follows from the Pizza Hut employees sends out the message that they enjoy making the customers happy and what a great time is being had by the world, thanks to them. And the kids love it – the free balloon, the novelty of the bell ringing etc. No wonder I played a significant role in their increase in revenues last month.

All of which reminds me, in which other service brand category do we force acknowledgement of good work? We may write the occasional ‘good food’ in a feedback form of a restaurant. But in so many other categories – courier services, garment outlets, hotels – even advertising there is so much scope to acknowledge good service. In advertising, we service clients and each department in turn is a client of the other. Do we say a thank you or make a gesture that acknowledges the service of others? It’s all left to the individual. Something to learn from ringing the bell?

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  1. Agreed. After some hell with bureaucratic diplomat staff I was aided by a security officer who was just a superstar and used her smarts to break a few small rules for me. I told her how much she had made me happy and her response was that she loved her job. Awesome.

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