Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Quality Is Our Recipe": Wendy's and Dave Thomas

Growing up with several fast-food/restaurant choices, my family and I often turned to the most frequented or popular, including McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Culver's, and (I'll defend this one) Hardee's. Until recent months (and with the possible exception of Culver's), I've never really taken into account the amount of "quality" put into a popular chain until I read a great deal about Wendy's.

Founded by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969, Thomas had a passion for food and for people. It was his dream to own "the greatest restaurant in the world," and to share that dream with everyone. That sounds cliche enough, and yet his goal was to "make hamburgers people love by doing things the right way" (my emphasis).

Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, pictured with his 1994 book,
"Well Done: The Common Guy's Guide to Everyday Success"
One of my favorite things about going to this restaurant (which I occasionally visit with coworkers) is looking around inside at the framed pictures that show their many fresh ingredients, all of which showcase their slogan, "Quality is our recipe." For instance, their square patties (remember the ads from the 1970's that asked, "Where's the beef?") consist of "100% North American beef, raised on ranches close to our restaurants so it's always fresh, never frozen." Their salads, meanwhile, are "crisp and fresh," and their fries are "natural-cut." Some of their suppliers include Coca-Cola, Talley's fries, and Woodland eggs (from New Zealand), and other food/menu items include chili and Frosty ice cream.

Thomas also revolutionized salad bars in restaurants, as well as "quick service" pick-up windows with separate grills. And from 1989 up until his death in 2002, Thomas appeared as the official spokesperson in more than 800 Wendy's commercials for what became one of the most successful ad campaigns in the food service industry.

I gave a speech a few months back about Thomas's mission statement regarding customers, service, and standards, and one of the notes I had made was how he was influenced by his grandmother as a child while she would cook in the kitchen. He would help and learn from her, including her philosophy on "never to cut corners on quality." Said Thomas, "When I started Wendy's in 1969, 'Quality is Our Recipe' was our motto. Our focus on quality hasn't changed, and it never will. Wendy's offers customers the highest quality food, and freshest ingredients, made-to-order sandwiches, and fast, courteous service." He continues, "When you like a restaurant's food and are treated well, you'll go back again. We have to earn our customers' loyalty every day, and exceed their expectations on every visit. That's our mission and our focus and, in my opinion, that's what generates loyal customers."

Wendy's today
And it's this emphasis on quality that makes Wendy's food, atmosphere, and customer service worthwhile, as well as a recipe that keeps this writer coming back as often as he can. After all, they don't call it a "value" menu for nothing.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Employees and Entrepreneuers

According to the Bealstone, Inc. Leadership Notebook (a resource I received at my job a few months ago), there are various definitions and pointers that define and differentiate an "employee" from an "entrepreneur". (The following are paraphrased versions of said definitions and pointers.)

- Employees do things only because someone tells them to. Entrepreneurs just get the job done on their own accord.

- Employees take a paycheck at week's end. Entrepreneurs create their own paycheck.

- Employees only look for as big of an opportunity or role as they can get, and are only satisfied with just enough (or, as much as they can do) to get by. Entrepreneurs exceed what they think they can do, and are committed to it.

- Employees tend to focus on the problems in certain or various circumstances. Entrepreneurs always find a way to solve the problem. On that same note, employees tend to let circumstances define them, as well as react to them and blame them. Entrepreneurs define their circumstances and take control of them.

- Employees only work hard to impress their employers. Entrepreneurs work hard to impress (and top) themselves.

- Employees don't generally like getting out of their comfort zone. Entrepreneurs thrive on being outside their comfort zone.

I asked myself a few weeks ago, Is what I'm doing the behavior of an entrepreneur or the behavior of an employee? And can there be someone in between, or just one or the other? After hearing one of my mentor's speech the other day on what it means to have a winning mentality, it comes down to the following:

1. Don't compete with anybody but yourself. Go above and beyond what you've done. (For example, I hit a "personal best" at my job a few weeks ago, and made it a goal to exceed that "stepping stone". It's still in the works, but progress nonetheless.)

2. Keep your mental blinders on. Call your shots, and hold yourself accountable. (The same applies for others holding you accountable.) Make a list or schedule what you need to do and what's important for you to do now (e.g., books you're reading, meetings you're setting up, training coming up, etc.) and what's not important but secondary (e.g., movie nights, binge-watching Netflix, surfing your phone, etc.).

3. Along with the second point above, don't be afraid to talk the big picture of where you see yourself in one year, two years, five years, and so forth. For some, that means paying off their student loans from college. For others, it means reaching Management in six to twelve months. And for others, it means buying a house or a new car.

4. Lead from the front. Set the example your colleagues and/or leaders need to see in order to be successful. Work ethic and student mentality are two of the most important qualities and skills you can gain and grow in.