A serious business lesson from a bunch of guys with their legs crossed:

(Time to read this Blog article is about 1 minute)


Whoever designed the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto simply didn’t take the time to understand their customers…or they suck at math. This 10 year old performance venue is built specifically for opera and ballet…but not for peeing.

At intermission the other night, the line-up for both the men’s and ladies Restrooms stretched clear across the lower lobby. I didn’t check the ladies washroom, but here’s the inside scoop on the ‘Gents’…5 urinals for an 850 seat theatre. Somebody didn’t think it through.  Here’s the math, as I see it. Pay attention, there is a business point here.

  • Number of seats in the theatre…850.
  • Estimated ratio of males to females at any given performance is 40% males = 340 males.
  • Estimated percent of older adult males (remember, it’s an Opera and Ballet venue, so there’s a preponderance of ‘older’ males) who will need to use the washroom = 75%, or 255 males who need to pee.
  • Assuming it takes men one minute to pee, this means 255 minutes of total peeing time is required.
  • Number of urinals in the main washroom of this 850 seat theatre = 5.
  • To accommodate 255 ‘peeing minutes’ with only 5 urinals would require an intermission of 51 minutes.
  • But the time available to pee during a standard 20-minute intermission, allowing 5 minutes to get from your seat to the lobby and back to your seat, is 15 minutes.

So, if anyone had done the simple ‘customer service’ math here, they’d have known that 20 urinals are actually required…not 5.  This is not even a near miss.  How can architects and engineers be this bad at math…or do they just not care?

I know financial advisors who promise every client that they’ll give them 12 to 14 hours a year of analysis, planning and face time…and they have 370 clients.  Do the math; this is 4,810 hours a year. If they bust their behind, the most time they could have for client-focused work is about 2,000 hours.

So, here’s the business point…have you done the customer service math in your business?  Do you have the phone lines, the staff, the cash desks, the shipping bays, the production capacity, the hours in the day, the ‘whatever is required’ to keep your service promise and delight your target customers? 

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