Behavioral Geography + Restaurants = Profit
I know we’re supposed to be continuing our discussion on customer service and customer experience management, but I just don’t have it in me at the moment. I mean, there is still plenty of material to cover, but man, it’s been like three weeks. I need a break, and I’m pretty sure that all of you do, too.
With that in mind, we’re putting service and customer experience on the back burner for the time being and shifting gears. Well, I am at any rate; you guys should never put customer service on the back burner. I figured that we’d shake the cobwebs out with a new topic and we’ll go back to the customer service stuff later.
So today we’ll give a brief introduction to our topic (behavioral geography) and set up our discussion for the next couple of days or so. We’ll then be diving into some of these topics more in-depth as we go along this week.
This week’s topic is going to be using behavioral geography and environmental psychology to increase table turns and boost profit. Let’s do some definitions first, and then we’ll dive in a bit further.
Here’s how those crazy cats at the Oxford Dictionary define behavioral geography:
This view of geography counters the simplistic views of geographical determinism and neoclassical economics and suggests that, far from being an economic man, an individual is a complex being whose perception of the environment may not correspond with objective reality. A distinction is made between the objectively observed environment—things as they are—and the perceived environment—things as they are seen by the individual. See behavioural environment. Individuals react to their perceptions, rather than to the phenomenal environment. Furthermore, their decisions may not be rational, or optimizing, but may depend greatly on chance.
Note that they spell “behavior” with a u.
An easier way to explain behavioral geography is to say that it deals with people making sense of their environment. That is, people are reacting to environmental cues that influence their cognitive processes, but their perception of their environment may be different (or even entirely at odds with) their actual, objective environment.
Environmental psychology deals with the interfacing of human behavior and the environment, be it natural or man-made. That’s pretty simple, right?
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
Well, for starters, behavioral geography deals more with perception and cognitive process, environmental psychology deals more with behavior with regards to the environment. Environmental psychologists tend to be more interested in the psychology of these interactions, whereas behavioral geographers are more interested in the practical applications of said psychology to influence behavior. And seriously, how awesome would it be to be able to tell people that you’re a behavioral geographer. It would be like this:
“Hey, I’m a doctor. What do you do for a living?”
“A doctor? Pfffh. I’m a behavioral geographer.”
At which point the doctor’s head would probably explode because all of that medical school couldn’t have possibly prepared him for how awesome you’d be as a behavioral geographer.
Stupid asides aside, the two disciplines are reasonably closely related (does that read as awkwardly as I think it does?) and share some common origins; as such, I’m not going to bother to break things out one way or the other during the course of our discussion.
And while we’re talking about the differences here, a quick note: the reason why I chose behavioral geography as the title of this post instead of environmental psychology is purely for practical purposes: I want to rank in Google for the term. I’ll probably alternate between the two terms with several variations throughout this series of posts. That’s a pro-tip for you folks.
WHAT’S IN STORE
This week we’re going to talk about using environmental cues to encourage people to spend more, eat faster and linger less. Here are a few examples of topics that we’ll be covering:
- Spacial Relationships
And probably some other stuff, too. People are extremely receptive to environmental cues; we’re just wired that way. We carry a lot of cultural and emotional baggage with us, so why not use that to your advantage?
In other words, there’s some cool stuff coming up over the next few days, so get yourself pumped. And in the meantime, talk to the chili geographers at Vanee Foods for more ideas on tuning your operation’s environment for MAXIMUM IMPACT.