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Cadbury World


The service concept of Cadbury World is the form, function and overall purpose of the design and the benefits it will provide to meet the needs and expectations of the customers.  By means of form, the overall shape of the service concept is the contemporary leisure experience to permanent exhibition devoted entirely to chocolate but also to have educational value and be guided by the spirit of the old tours.  By means of function, the service concept operates in a way of servicing social responsibility and the desire to be a good neighbour.  By means of purpose, the service concept is intended to satisfy the adults who fondly remember their childhood tours to Cadbury¡¦s factory visit, the requests from educational groups and individuals who are interested in visiting the factory.  By means of benefits, the advantages the service concept will bring to customers are to enjoy leisure experiences with educational value at low prices.

The service package of Cadbury World consists of the series of core (the experience), supporting (the shop, restaurant, coffee and ice-cream parlour) and facilitating (parking) processes which all need to be designed.  The design of the service package is compromised by:

The service concept

In order to achieve low price objective, Cadbury World keeps the staff costs (hiring limited numbers of unskilled staffs), technology costs (lack of technology to streamline the operation process) and facility costs (old and outdated facilities) at lowest possible.  In return, they have to compromise low costs with their other objectives. 

The unskilled staffs and outdated facilities are compromised with the quality in the core process.  For example, the brief video (facility) in the packaging plant is outdated and requires commentary notes from some guides.  However, the unskilled guides are not familiar with the operations so they need to read from hand-written prompt cards, which is not professional to the eyes of the customers.  As one of the service concept is to provide educational value, the quality of the front-end staffs are important to satisfy the expectations of the customers. 

The insufficient of staffs and technologies (information technologies) are also compromised with the speed objective as they are the main components to get customers through the process.  In the core and supporting process ¡V the exhibition¡¦s reception area, the entrance, the Marie Cadbury room and the restaurant, the customers have to wait to receive their service.  The stagnation increases costs due to longer cycle time and reduces dependability to the operations.   

Finally, the service concept is compromised with the flexibility objectives.  The concept is to sell the service entirely about chocolate with spirit of old tours so the package is lack of product/service and mix flexibility.  The insufficient staffs and technologies are compromised with volume flexibility and hence there are always queues at peak times at each micro-operations.

The limited capital for the project

The design of the service package is compromised with the limited capital for the project.  The East Cocoa Block (the old factory) is remained to sell the concept of ¡¥old tour¡¦, but also due to the limited capital does not allow huge investment to rebuild a new factory (of course with old look) to integrate with the design of the new visitor center.  This has compromised with the speed (slow customers¡¦ flow), dependability (the packaging plant shut down for maintenance for 37 days per year) and flexibility in volume.  In addition, the alternative exhibition located 300 metres from the main exhibition is also possibly due to limited capital, which is also compromised with the speed objectives.

Furthermore, the limited capital does not allow installing sufficient technologies to streamline the process of operations.  For example, the ticket collector at the entrance can check the flow through information technologies to control the number of visitors entering to increase speed, eventually improve dependability and flexibility.  In addition, the self-service display at the shop is compromised with dependability (the pilferage by children directly affect the stock availability) due to a lack of automated security systems. 

Other factors

The location of Cadbury World is far away from town.  The coaches often arrive late and miss their agreed times because of the difficulty of estimating the duration of road journeys.  This has compromised with speed and dependability as the delay adds to the queues of visitors at the exhibition entrance at busy periods


The process flow chart showing how customers are processed through the operation is shown as following:

The process flow chart suggests that the process design of Cadbury World is product-based layout.  It is because the equipments are arranged in a logical sequence and the customers pass from one operation to another in a logical sequence.  Hence, the operation is very repeatable and predictable.  


The hourly capacities for each operation in 2) above are calculated as following:

The entrance:

15-20 visitors x (60 minutes / 2-1/2 minutes)

= 360-480 visitors per hour

The Marie Cadbury room:

Original design:

(70 visitors x 1/3) x [60 minutes / (5 minutes + 1-2 minutes + 4 minutes)]

= 131-144 visitors per hour

Peak times

70 visitors x [60 minutes / (5 minutes + 1-2 minutes + 4 minutes)]

= 382-420 visitors per hour

The packaging plant:

30 visitors x [60 minutes / (3 minutes + 8 minutes)

= 164 visitors per hour

The demonstration area:

(15 visitors x 8 guides) x (60 minutes / 6-17 minutes)

= 424-1200 visitors per hour

The shop:

[(60 minutes x 60 seconds)/15 seconds] x 3 checkouts

= 720 visitors per hour

The restaurant:

If the tables are allowed to sit with different families or groups of visitors:

(60 minutes/25 minutes) x 169 covers

= 406 visitors per hour

If the tables are allowed to sit with one family or same group of visitors:

(60 minutes/25 minutes) x 53 tables

= 128 visitors per hour

The coffee and ice-cream parlour:

(60 minutes/18 minutes) x 46 covers

= 154 visitors per hour

The Centre Services Manager varies capacity to respond to changes in demand by adjusting the number of visitors to get through the process.  At the entrance, the ticket collector controls the number of visitors entering to the exhibition center.  The Marie Cadbury room was originally designed for only 24 visitors but at peak times as many as 70 visitors are assembled in the room.  In the packaging plant, the two tour groups meet at the second station cause confusion and delay.  The demonstration area increases the number of guides during peak times to allow more visitors travel around.  The shop has three checkouts to serve the changes in demand.  The parking, restaurant, the coffee and ice-cream parlour have good enough spaces to serve the volume of visitors.

The major bottlenecks are at the entrance, the exhibition area, the packaging plant and the restaurant.  The service could be amended to increase bottleneck capacity in the following ways:

The entrance

To relief the bottleneck at the entrance, the speed and dependability of the exhibition area has to be improved so that more visitors are processed.  In addition, the work of the ticket collector can be improved by using information technology to monitor the customers¡¦ flow inside the exhibition area.  This can help to increase the speed as the ticket collector does not need to go in and out to check the customers¡¦ flow.

The exhibition area

The bottleneck is at the Marie Cadbury room.  To improve the situation, information technology can be used to centralize and automate the operations of the program and the door in order to reduce the workload of the attendant.  This will save about 2 minutes delay time (wait to open the door) and allow 16-29 visitors more per hour.  In addition, is the micro-operation has fully utilized the space available for seating, for example, building one more level to provide 16 seats more?  Taking this into consideration and assume the safety requirement is satisfied, the number of visitors will be increased to 574 per hour (calculated by 86 visitors x 60/9).  This also helps to improve the speed and dependability from the entrance area and the number of visitors entering can be increased simultaneously to reduce the bottleneck there.

The packaging plant

The bottleneck in the packaging plant is caused by the brief videos.  The situation can be improved by displaying the brief videos in another room before the packaging plant.  The room capacity has to be built with consideration of customers¡¦ flow from the exhibition area to the packaging plant.  As the customers are briefed, they can travel this area at their own pace.  This can reduce time spending at this area and avoid confusion.    

The restaurant

The major bottleneck is the area of serving points.  The design is self-service with payment separately at each sales point as Figure 1:

The situation can be improved by redesign the serving points in a short-fat arrangement with front-end and back-end staffs similar to the operation of McDonald as shown in Figure 2:

There are several advantages in using this new arrangement.  The layout provides higher mix flexibility as each stage can serve different mix of foods, which can avoid the problem of original design serving separately.  It also provides higher volume flexibility as stages can simply be closed down or started up as volume varies.  Finally, it provides higher robustness as the other parallel stages are unaffected if one stage breaks down.

The overall operation

To improve the overall operation, it is suggested that the opening times should be adjusted to 10:00 am ¡V 6: 00 pm from Monday to Sunday.  The tour is a half-day trip for about 4 hours (1.5 hours in the exhibition, 0.5 hour in the alternative exhibition and 2 hours in the shop, restaurant, coffee and ice-cream parlour).  This arrangement allows one trip in the morning (10:00 pm ¡V 2:00 pm) and another trip in the afternoon (2:00 pm ¡V 6:00 pm) for those visitors who would dine at the restaurant.  Including the visitors come in different timing, this arrangement can fully utilize the operations and increase the capacity while reducing the bottlenecks at busy hours.


The low frequency of complaints might not indicate a high level of customer satisfaction.  Pensioners might be the group with higher rate of complaints as they do not need to work and have time to make the complaints.  The opinions of the following groups might be ignored:

(1)  Families with working parents who do not have time and their children are too young to make the complaints.

(2)  School parties who pay more attention to the notices and narrative material.  As long as the materials can satisfy their needs, they would not complain on the process of the operations.

(3)  The individuals who would not consider coming again ¡V due to personal reason or disappointment of the operation.  So they would not spend time to complain.

Therefore, Cadbury World should do questionnaires at the end of tour timely to evaluate their performance.  For example, the questionnaires can be done at the restaurant as the customers have more time there to fill in the questionnaires.


The operation of Cadbury World is analysed using the seven characteristics of a well-designed service from Slack et al (2001):

(1)   Each element of the service system is consistent with the operating focus of the firm. 

The major focus of the operation is on cost objective and hence, they are consistent to reduce costs from staffs, technologies and facilities at each micro-operations.    However, this is ineffective as discussed in 1) as they have to compromise with quality, speed, dependability and flexibility, which eventually increases costs and dissatisfies customers. 

(2)  It is user-friendly

This means that the customer can interact with it easily.  The design of the process is lack of good signage (unmarked double doors at the entrance, no guides for most of the exhibition, etc) and logical steps (especially at packaging plant as two groups of visitors meet in a narrow walkway which create confusion) in the process.  However, some areas are user-friendly such as the demonstration area and the alternative exhibition because the staffs are available to answer customers¡¦ questions.

(3) It is robust

The operation is not robust as there is no effective backup system in place to permit service when the ticketing system is in problem.  Also the packaging plant needs to shut down for maintenance of about 37 days per year and it is a rather large proportion in a year.  

(4)  It is structured so that consistent performance by its people and systems is easily maintained

The task required of the staffs cannot be done during peak times.  The supporting technologies (ticketing system and video brief) are not supportive and reliable.  The workload of these fallouts has to be shared by the staffs and affect the overall performance.

(5)  It provides effective links between the back office and the front office so that nothing falls in between.

The case does not mention about the back office.  However, it seems there is an ineffective link between the back office and the front office as there is no feedback from the front office about the customers¡¦ satisfaction (or the feedback is ignored). 

(6)  It manages the evidence of service quality in such a way that customers see the value of the service provided

The customers seem to be satisfied for the service quality as the package is value for money.  The value for money is the trade-off between the low price with quality, but with other benefits that meet the customers¡¦ expectation.  Cadbury World provides happy staffs as they believe that happy staffs create happy customers.  They provide supporting facilities such as carpark, the shop, the restaurant, the coffee and ice-cream parlour.  They care of minors such as the visitors in wheelchairs in the packaging plant.  They provide very clean and comfortable environment in the overall operations.  They are concerned for every single complaint and handle in serious.  They also allow flexibility to satisfy the customers (kept the restaurant open an extra 45 minutes for the late customers to eat).  All of these are the values that the customers can see and appreciate. 

(7)  It is cost-effective

It is not cost-effective as there is waste of time in delivering the service although the service outcome is satisfactory.  The customers are often put off that appears inefficient.

Based on the above analysis, Cadbury World is not a successful operation.  However, they can meet the customer¡¦s expectation with a service package that is value for money.


Slack, Nigel; Chambers, Stuart; Harland, Christine; Harrison, Alan and Johnston, Robert (1998), Operations Management, 2nd Edition, Pearson Education Limited, Essex

Slack, Nigel and Walley, Paul (2001), Warwick MBA: Operations Management Course Notes, University of Warwick, UK

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