Thursday, December 07, 2006

How to Succeed in Business

Attention marketing gurus, class is in session. Let’s say that you and your uncle are tempted to open up a small chain of restaurants, which will boast the best burgers or gyros (depending on your ethnicity) this side of the Mississippi. Your intentions are noble and your food might actually be decent. Yet, as any MBA earning, trans-fat slinging, business owner will tell you, you have to have more than that. And while most so-called “experts” would tell you that little extra somethin’-somethin’ that it takes to succeed in business can’t be taught, I’m writing today to inform you that it can. Know this, these laws do not cover every business venture you will pursue. I also cannot guarantee that they will keep you in the clear with those fat cats in Washington. What I can promise you is this, my fellow entrepreneur, after I’m done with you, your eatery patrons will rave about your confections.

Law One: Buy Low, Sell High
People like Trump and Maxwell will tell you that this is a rule for every corner of the business world. It is simple math: if you buy something for $5 and then you sell it for $10 you have made a profit. Try to do that as often as possible.

Law Two: Location, Location, and Location
This rule will seem a little off-centered but it works every time. If you want to generate a 38% buzz growth about your restaurant the best thing you can do is put it in an area of the country that is far away from the people who love it. That way, people will re-arrange their travel schedules in the summer eat at your establishment. This is evident in eateries like In and Out Burgers (which in the end, is just a hamburger) and Skyline Chili (which serves more cheese on their meals than chili and in the end, is just a glorified Stake and Shake). This strategy has also worked well for the Chili’s franchise, which has still not opened an establishment in the greater Joplin area. Do you think this is intentional? Yes, of course. The leadership of this great-American bar and grill realizes that whenever the citizens of Joplin are heading down the highways and byways of this great country of ours and stumble upon a long lost Chili’s they will stop and think, “This will be a treat. We don’t eat at Chili’s everyday”. That’s what we call, “money in the bank”.

Law Three: Mascots
Your facility needs a personality, a face if you will. Nothing says personality like an underpaid high school kid standing out on the street in 30-degree weather waving at cars as they drive by. In my studies of the American eatery biz (that’s what we call it in the biz) I have spoken with several people about why they choose the diners they choose. 46% of the time they say that they chose to eat at the establishment because, “the happy young man dressed as a hot dog looked so accommodating”. Whether you have a wiener or not, this does not have to be a hard choice for your management team. If you specialize in Bar-B-Q, a pig wearing a chef’s hat would be a great spokesperson… I mean spokes-pig. If you are a burger joint, you are wise to go with “Milkshake Man” or a more generic “Burger Clown”. Honestly, you can’t go wrong as long as you keep this in mind, kids like mascots, kids have parents (or at least legal guardians), and parents buy food.

With these three rules in one hand and a smile in the other, you will be well on your way to changing the way America eats. Remember, the customer is always right. Unless they break one of these laws, which would mean that you are right in that instance.

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