Queue Management

Queue Management

People feel that "occupied" time passes more quickly than "unoccupied" time, and generally overestimate the amount of time they have waited by around 36%. Therefore, giving people something that will occupy their interest while they are queuing will make the time pass more quickly and reduce the likelihood of complaints.

As a result of COVID-19, it is widely reported that many people are nervous about going into spaces where they may come into contact with other people.   Providing information on the measures your facility or event has taken to protect your employees and customers will lower anxiety levels and increase customer confidence.  If visitors don’t feel comfortable and safe in a retail or event they are unlikely to return in the future

Queues outside your premises or event
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In many cases the land on which you may want your customers or visitors to queue will not be land you own and will be “public domain”.  It may belong to the local authority, a private landowner or neighbouring retail store.  Under normal circumstances queuing outside of stores rarely has a major impact, however as multiple stores in close proximity may now require queue space, this should be carefully managed and coordinated.  In areas of high footfall and where the footpath is public land (public domain) the local authority or council should consider proactively managing pedestrian movement.

Consider your proximity to any roads and reduce the risk of queues extending into roads or across a pedestrian crossing.  Ensure that people can pass the queue within a safe distance without the need to walk on a road.  If space is very limited the queue could be set up away from the store front in an area where there is sufficient space.  Staff at the entrance and head of the queue can communicate when there is available capacity for people to enter the building.   


The areas around the queue must also be taken into consideration as people circulate.  Any queue systems created must not negatively impact on other people or customers of neighbouring facilities.  

REUTERS:Piroschka van de Wouw.jpg

This example demonstrates poor queue planning and operations.  The queue for the cafe starts in the middle of the footpath immediately outside the cafe.  Taking account of 2m social distancing the queue totally blocks off the path of pedestrians in either direction.  Pedestrians are then forced onto the road to then rejoin the footpath 20 metres further down.