Front Stage vs. Backstage

We often talk about the Disney concept of “Everything Speaks” – a concept that suggests that service is manifested everywhere your organization touches the customer. These touch points affect the customers’ perception of your brand and puts them in a mood or a frame of mind that can affect their experience at your winery. Every minor detail within these touch points says something about you or your winery to your guests – ‘everything speaks.’

Another concept we often talk about at WISE is Front Stage versus Backstage. Think of the guest experience as a theatrical production. When guests arrive, the curtains go up, and you, company, and your whole team are on stage. As the term implies, Front Stage actions are visible to the ‘audience’ and are part of the ‘performance.’ Front Stage activities are customer-facing – everything the customer sees, hears and experiences at one of your winery touch points, such as in your tasting room on a tour, or online.

Backstage activities are our back-of-the-house functions that are required to make a great performance happen.  For example, a server in a tasting room is likely to communicate one way in front of customers but might be much more casual in the cellar or break room. It is likely that he or she does things “backstage” that should never be part of the guest experience.

When something goes wrong in our guest experience, it’s usually because something in our backstage needs adjusting. Are club brochures on display or are they on hidden behind the bar?  Is the bathroom spotless, glasses polished, parking lot clear of debris?  Is our POS system providing a flawless check out process? And innocent mistakes are often made in front of guests such as inappropriate staff discussions. For example: Who is on lunch? Johnny never buffs the glasses! Is Sally having a bad day again?

Seemingly small details (or touch points) can make a big difference. These details convey ideas about the organization to the customer. Make sure each touch point is inherent of the level of service and brand reflection you wish to provide – this requires meticulous planning and execution. Make sure your backstage is in place to help support the Front Stage activities.


  • Developing a map indicating each customer touch point (called a Guest Journey Map)
  • Employing unbiased mystery shopping services
  • Checking your visual merchandising – is the stage set to tell your brand story? It’s a performance: Lights! Music…Action (of staff – attitudes, discussions, knowledge, sales skills, etc.)
  • It is a continual cycle of improvement. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat. In other words, monitor your ‘front stage’ or guest experience, make any changes necessary, and repeat.

Don’t leave the quality of your service and experience to chance. Set the stage for success and give your customers a great experience at every touch point.