Some time ago I was hanging out at one of my favorite watering holes, Bunny’s. My wife and I enjoyed some good grub as well as a couple of drinks (awesome bloody’s, BTW). After we were ready to split, I noticed something odd on the check; they rounded the bill down. It was a bit odd and I remember asking our server why they do it; she simply stated that she wasn’t sure but that they’ve done it for a long time because “it’s quicker”.

After noodling it a bit, it’s somewhat evident that rounding a bill makes it easier to make exact change with bills and not worry about as many coins during a cash transaction. And since it would be pretty hard to round up, rounding down is really the only way to go.

This brings me to the point. Operations can’t be separated from the design of an experience – it’s actually a key element of the design.

Operations can’t be separated from the design of an experience – it’s  actually a key element of the design.

By rounding bills down, Bunny’s is implicitly stating that they gain more in operational savings than they lose by rounding the bill down. They’re also placing a bet that faster service equals happier customers. Which it does.

It’s especially easy in a corporate environment to relegate operations to the team/division/department with that name on it. But that’s a short-sided mistake because as designers of great experiences – experiences that need to be effective, easy, and enjoyable – we’re all in the operations business.