No Thanks, But I’ll Buy the Brownie

Casino managers and employees who work together to create an exceptional gaming experience for guests can actually contribute to the bottom line and that should make them proud.

(To read more about the importance of creating a consistently exceptional gaming experience click here and here.)

My wife, Lydia, and I came across an example of this in – of all places – an airport gift shop.  As a frequent traveler visiting casinos from coast to coast, it seems to me that many airport employees either don’t have the skills or have not had the training to provide the flying public with a good experience.  Some of the people are rude but most simply could care less.

But good things happen when managers make sure employees are trained so they have the skills they need to do their jobs.  Employees take care of the rest.  That’s a great team effort that creates profit.  We saw this concept in action at the gift shop.  Here’s what happened.

Lydia realized she had used the last of her hair spray and needed more.  We had a few minutes, so we went into the gift shop to buy some.  Lydia was pleasantly surprised when a gift shop employee approached her and asked if she could find what she was looking for.  (Casino employees should always be as helpful as possible for their guests and managers must be sure this simple concept is understood.)  Hair spray wasn’t in plain sight, so my wife let this person help her.  The employee didn’t just point and make a guttural sound as so often happens to me.  She actually walked over and picked up a can of hair spray for my wife.

After that, she asked if Lydia would like some gum or candy.  Then she explained that if she purchased a Coke, they would give her a free brownie or chocolate chip cookie.  What an anomaly!  This airport employee was amazingly helpful and caring.  From my point of view, the most significant fact was that she knew about the promotion they were running.  (Casino employees need to be aware of everything happening at their property – from promotions to specials at the buffet.  Managers should emphasize the benefits of being well informed.)

My wife said no thanks and proceeded to the cash register.  At the register, a different employee greeted her and asked if she would like any gum or candy.  She also explained about the Coke promotion.

Wonderful!  The first employee wasn’t an anomaly after all.  I don’t know if this promotion was a companywide initiative or just something for this one location, but my wife was very impressed and I was equally stunned when she told me about it.  I know that for a series of employees to convey a similar message, it takes training and coaching.  Judging from the consistency of the message, these gift shop employees knew exactly what was going on. Their managers made sure of it.  (Casino managers should help ALL their employees stay informed.)

Were there incentives motivating these gift shop employees to perform the desired behavior?  Did they just want to be friendly and helpful?  I don’t know the answer to either of these questions but I do know one thing.  A business puts energy, time and money into a program like this because there is profit to be made if it’s done properly.  (I know casinos don’t sell candy on the floor, but a team effort to provide stellar guest service will translate into dollars down the line.)

Now back to the brownie.  My wife entered the store with a single focus – hair spray.  She needed it.  But she became intrigued with the Coke promotion because of the message she repeatedly received from a variety people working in the gift shop.  She actually compared the cost of a Coke with the cost of a brownie.

Lydia is not a Coke fan, so she passed on the offer.  But she did buy the brownie and that store made a profit on the sale.  It was almost pure profit because it didn’t require extra staff members or store space.  It just took some teamwork, training and commitment.

To read other articles by Martin Baird, go to

Martin R. Baird
Robinson & Associates, Inc.

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