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Issue 4 January 27, 2009

January 27, 2009


Recently I was having lunch at one of my favorite restaurants and was amazed by the experience.  In the middle of our struggling economy and in 19 degree weather, this restaurant had so many visitors that they had a team of people outside directing traffic just to help folks park! 
It got me to thinking, what is the secret to their success and how are they attracting customers in droves like a giant magnet...right in the middle of our recession?
More importantly, what can you and I learn from this super successful restaurant chain to make our businesses more successful?
To find out the "secrets" of their incredible success, take a look at this week's main article below. 
     Hidden Secrets in "Plain Sight"!
"How can I attract an endless supply of customers or clients?".  That is the question I am being asked most often these days in my consulting business.
Yes, the economy is still ugly and yes, folks are hanging on to their wallets a little tighter these days.  But look around, there are companies that are flat out defying the recession.  People are still buying from these companies and as a smart business professional, you should be studying what they are doing.
Most of their "Hidden Success Secrets" are in "Plain Sight" for us all to see.  That's great news!  Or as Tony Robbins is famous for saying, "Success leaves clues."
So let's get back to my restaurant experience.  How did this restaurant convince customers to battle the cold, rainy, 19 degree weather to come and dine at their restaurant?

Why were the customers willing to wait in a "double stacked" drive-thru line that wrapped around the block to order from this eatery?
Is it that their food is out of this world?  No, it's good but I would not consider it great.  Is it their location?  No, there are half a dozen other restaurants within walking distance just hoping to get some "spillover" from this restaurant.  Is it their fantastic prices?  No, they do provide a good value, but it is possible to eat cheaper.
Then what is it???  Before I answer that question, let me tell you about my dining experience.  Although it was crowded in the restaurant, I was met by a genuine smile from a young man that took my order.  My food was served quickly and as I thanked the young man he responded with, "It's my pleasure sir."
I found my seat and began to eat my meal.  Shortly after I sat down, I couldn't help but notice one of the companies employees assisting a mother with an infant - she helped carry her tray, diaper bag, etc.  She then pulled a high chair over and made sure the baby and mom were all situated for their lunch.
A few minutes later I was greeted with a kind smile and asked what I was drinking and if I would like a refill.  Now let me stop here and tell you that the restaurant I was in is a "Fast Food Restaurant"!  That's right, all of this great service was not occurring in a big fancy steak house - but in a fast food joint!
As I finished my meal, another friendly face appeared out of no where and picked up my tray and emptied it into the trash for me.  And of course, the kind lady came back around and refilled my drink yet one more time.
The young mother with the infant called one of the assistant managers over and I thought I was about to see a crack in the armor - but instead she grinned and said, "I've never seen a cleaner, nicer, or friendlier restaurant.  Thank you for providing a great place to bring my family."
So who is the restaurant and what are their keys to success?  Well, if you haven't guessed by now, it is Chick-Fil-A.  I've done a lot of traveling in my time and I've seen this (or similar) experience repeated in Chick-Fil-A's across the nation.
How do they do it?  First and foremost, they have a tremendous leader named Truett Cathy.  I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Cathy several years ago when I heard him speak at an event in Texas.  He is one of the nicest and most genuine people you could ever hope to meet.
Truett Cathy built the success of Chick-Fil-A on 5 basic business principles - and you and I would be wise to adhere to these same principles:
Based on the fact that Chick-Fil-A is still privately owned, operates almost 1400 restaurants in 37 states, and had $2.64B in profits, I would say they are have climbed well!
Why are customers willing to battle 19 degree weather and traffic to eat at Chick-Fil-A?  It's the loyalty effect.  Here's what Truett Cathy says on his website:
"Customer satisfaction is the payoff for spending the time to search for the best employees.  Our restaurant team members have proven time and time again that going out of your way to make sure our customer has a pleasurable dining experience will build customer loyalty." 
This principle is evident in the way that Chick-Fil-A treats their customers...ALL of their customers.  It is also evident in their Mission Statement which they live out daily:
"Be America's Best Quick-Service Restaurant at Winning and Keeping Customers."
Wow!  There are certainly a lot of corporate giants that need to take a lesson out of this play book.  Chick-Fil-A gives back to the community in ways unlike any other retailer I've ever seen.  A book could be written about all of the charity work they do!
When I heard Mr. Cathy speak in Texas, he stated that closing on Sunday has not only been one of the best spiritual decisions he has ever made - but also one of the best business decisions he has ever made.  Chick-Fil-A has achieved the unparalleled record of 40 consecutive years of sales increases.  And the kicker - they do it all in 6 days a week!
So, if you are looking to attract customers and clients like never before, take a few success clues from Truett Cathy and the good folks at Chick-Fil-A.
Issue: 4
In This Issue
Hidden Secrets in Plain Sight
GOALS - Radio Interview
Case Studies Needed
Biggest Challenge?
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