Quality of Work and Service, Part 2


Phoenix: Pizzeria Bianco – Traveler Reviews – Pizzeria Bianco…Very Stressful.. – TripAdvisor

I wrote the other day about the wonderful high quality food at Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix. I looked at some reviews online and some people are very unhappy with the “Quality of Service” at the restaurant, at least before they get seated for good service and high “Quality of Work” (I talked about the difference between Work and Service quality here).

Reading the one complaint on Tripadvisor.com, I realized…. yeah, I had been putting up with part of the experience that IS stressful, the part where you arrive early to wait in line before the doors open for them to seat people or take names at 5 PM. The one reviewer wrote:

Let me please first say that the food and employees are excellent. BUT…

We've been there three times, two of the times (including the last time which was so bad that it prompted me to write this) the line was so stressful due to people cutting in line.

The pizzaria opens at 5pm, but the bar opens next door at 4pm. There is no way to put your name in at either place, so you have to take your drink (if you want one) and wait in line like a 3rd grader standing out in the hot sun for around an hour outside the door waiting for it to open. For the non-Arizonans reading this, standing in the sun most months here at 4:30 pm IS NOT FUN!!!

One of the times somebody claimed to be in line early, then went to get a drink at the bar and came back to an angry crowd when it looked like he was cutting (3rd grader thing again)The last time was the ugliest. There was a nice neat line of people seated on benches somewhat in some shade, although it was probably about 100 degrees still. Everything was fine, when some crowds showed up later and got in line right next to the door claiming that even though there was a line formed in the shade for almost an hour, the actual line should be starting right at the door (like you must be touching it or something).

Oh, brother was the crowd ugly on that one. The biggest problem is that the place is so cozy (small) that now you must eat and try to enjoy a meal when many members of the crowd were cursing at each other moments earlier.

I've always wondered why they can't have a simple “take a number” system to cut down on the stress of the customers having to self-manage the queue. As the reviewer said, the bar (in the building next door, that they own) IS open at 4 PM and could easily facilitate a take a number dispenser. Very cheap and it would reduce customer stress, quite a bit.

When I was there Saturday, someone took cuts (or it looked like it) and customers were confronting each other. I guess Pizzeria Bianco doesn't have to do better, in that aspect of service, because the “Quality of Work” is good and the place is still packed every night. I guess this is an example where Maister's theory might be wrong, his theory that people value Quality of Service more than Quality of Work. I guess if your “work” is THAT good, people will tolerate bad service, at least for a while (or the restaurant customers forget the bad start of the experience after the tasty ending?).

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. In (small town) South Bend, Nebraska there’s an event called the Testicle Festival put on by a local bar. Nobody ever went to this bar, apart from the regulars, except for this one day per year. They served pork, turkey, beef, or the combo. There were so many people, at least 50% of the patrons were standing in line at any given time. Show up at 7:00PM, you’d be lucky to get served by 8:30. We stood in line, drank, socialized, and generally had fun.

    Then things changed. They moved the event from the little bar to the county fair grounds. They reduced the menu to one item – combo. Show up at 7:00PM, and you’d be eating by 7:02. There was plenty of room, plenty of tables, and no need whatsoever to talk with anyone except the people you came with.

    I haven’t had rocky mountain oysters before or since, so I can’t tell you if their food was exceptional. I’d bet it’s quite average. The waiting in line *was* the fun. You met new people, you were forced to share a table with strangers, and the waitresses kept your glass full while you waited in line.

    Sometimes efficiency hurts.


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