Are You in the Business of Serving Customers Profitably?

Are You in the Business of Serving Customers Profitably?

we_are_in_the_business_of_serving_customer_profitably.jpgI recently blogged about how hard change is while also reiterating how essential it is. I believe that, and it is certainly true in business. Within the Great Harvest Franchise, this manifests itself in two recurring conversations that I have.

The first is one that I have had since 2001, which is: “I didn’t get into this to own a restaurant.” And the second is: “This isn’t what we expected, but it beats losing money.” Frequently, that second one is followed by “. . . and we are having fun.”

I am not trying to stir a pot here and do not want franchisees in either camp reading this and thinking I am talking about them. I am not. I have these conversations a lot, so I don’t think of any one person as the face of either statement. But I do think they are worth exploring — specifically for people in the Great Harvest community (franchisees, prospective franchisees and customers) and generally for people in business.

First, I want to frame the discussion. To have a useful debate you have to agree on the subject. In the context of my recent blog on agreeing to disagree, here I want to say what I think the subject is. Not surprisingly, it is: what business are we in?

I think we are in the business of serving customers profitably.

Serving customers profitably requires flexibility. There are a lot of things in business I don’t consider fun. But I understand why they need to be done to serve customers. And those things keep changing over time. As long as they are legal, moral, ethical and centered on fresh baked products made from scratch daily I think they are fair game for Great Harvest. 

why shouldnt we make sandwichesIf that means we add more seats and have smaller production areas then so be it. That model is what is working today. And it is completely logical. People are eating fewer meals at home and more out. Our breads are taken home and made into sandwiches already. If people are now having other people make those sandwiches for them at an increasingly frequent rate, why shouldn’t we be doing that for them?

In a Freedom Franchise, I can’t tell people what to serve in their bakeries. I can say that if people want to give me money for a product (again, as long as the transaction is legal, moral, ethical and centered on fresh baked products made from scratch daily) I don’t see how that’s not something I got into this to do.

Are we a bread store or a café? Realistically, the answer is we are a for-profit business, one that increasingly looks like a café and not just a bread store.

Seth Godin recently wrote about the importance of being interesting. Better than average. The point is if you don’t stand out it is much harder today to grow or even sustain. Our bread is outstanding, but we can’t change demographics. People do want to eat out. People do want things that taste great, and occasionally that means more than whole grains. People do want modern conveniences. Increasingly, within the Great Harvest Franchise
we are looking for new ways to meet those needs.

finding new ways to meet customers needs

Find out where we’re going to serve customers profitably next:

What Are the Best Cities to Open Your Bakery? (eBook)

Read more about the evolution of the Bread Business:

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