Fast-Food Restaurateur Shares Secrets for Success

How a restaurant franchise rocks.

Franchising is big business. A published report indicates one in 12 businesses is a franchise. it’s a profitable way to grow your business.

In the aggregate, franchises provide jobs for 14 million Americans. It’s an accepted business model for people who want to be in business, but who need business-model support.

To be successful for either side – the company or franchisee – it takes commitment and discipline.

Companies have to be diligent about selling to the right franchisee – someone who has the character and tenacity to successfully follow a game plan and be committed to community involvement. That’s one reason for MacDonald’s success. It’s been estimated MacDonalds only selects 1 percent of the people who apply for a franchise.

On the other hand, prospective franchisees have to pick the company with a strong game plan.

Quiznos appears to have picked the right person in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, located near Safeco Field where the Seattle Mariners play. He’s 30-something Victor Twu, who’s also a jazz musician and big-time Mariners’ fan. He owns a second location on Westlake Avenue in South Lake Union.

Note: His customer service and attention to detail caught my eye. My other half and I have been lunchtime customers for more than a year off and on. Sometimes, months would go by before we returned to his establishment. But he always remembered us and our favorite menu items.

He didn’t pressure us to try other menu items, which most restaurateurs try to do. They think it insures long-term customer loyalty if customers sample all the menu options. That’s true in some cases, but some customers have specific reasons for patronizing a restaurant at lunchtime, and don’t want to be bothered. In my case, it’s the location, tasty sandwich, quick service and being remembered as a customer.

So it’s helpful if restaurateurs know when and whether to lobby customers. And the savvy Mr. Twu seems understands human nature. What makes him tick?

Here’s an edited interview:

Q: What’s your background?

A: My educational background is a degree in music from the University of Washington. That said, as a musician, I gained many years of experience in the hospitality and restaurant business. But prior to my current business, I’ve had no management or business experience.

Q: Why did you go into business?

A: I decided to go into business when I was at a crossroads. I knew I didn’t want to make a career out of teaching music and taking whatever gigs I could – I wanted to play and write music because I enjoyed it. So I did consider going deeper into my education for music hoping to attend a good school in New York (the “Mecca” of jazz). Then I remembered how much I hated school, probably ever since third grade. So what about my own record label? The riskiest most unprofitable industry to get into? No. I figure I was ready to get to work. I knew I was willing to work hard and if I am going to do so, I might as well do it for myself with these goals in mind: Comfortable living, growth in knowledge and skills, and eventually gain the time and space I need so I can concentrate on music and also do a little traveling.

Q: What’s your feeling about Quiznos’ value-pricing strategy?

A: Quizno’s new everyday lower price strategy is a smart idea based on other lower price models. Market research has shown that most people believe Quiznos has superior food compared to similar brands but are not as likely to visit more often because they think it’s too expensive. The idea is to drive more volume with frequent visits and to gain new customers as well.

Q: What are your challenges?

A: Consumers are very low in confidence and this has an effect on selling sandwiches as well. People are spending less per transaction in my restaurant or visiting rarely. Not to mention, there are fewer customers due to layoffs or offices closing or lower occupancy in buildings or whatever. It doesn’t matter; the fundamental ways to operate are still the same. Each guest must get friendly prompt service and enjoy a satisfying lunch day in and day out and now I’m giving everyone a good deal as well! I’m also trying to grow my business through catering and delivery – this is a critical component to grow my business.

Q: What advice would you like to offer?

A: If you are considering being your own boss at one point you should 100 percent decide either yay or nay. Be prepared for long hours and hard work. I believe being a good example and very team-oriented is a good way to go. Nobody wants to work for a lazy dictator. If you are indifferent to your employees, they will be indifferent to your customers. Also be prepared to be number one, be the best at your craft and exude this confidence. Be prepared to enjoy mental and emotional growth and hopefully financial freedom!

Postscript: He’s apparently achieving his goals. I stopped by recently and inquired about Victor and an employee said he wasn’t at the store – he was traveling.

Go Victor and go Mariners!

From the Coach’s Corner, one cool way to make money and to feel good about your business is cause-related marketing. For more information, see: Cause-Related Marketing Can Increase Sales by Double Digits.

“To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.”

Thomas Watson, Sr.

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

WA Entrepreneurs Celebrate 16 Years of Commerce Networking

 

Today, the world of commerce is buzzing over Bing’s proposal to pay the Fox media Web sites to de-list from Google. It was prompted by basically two reasons – Fox’s visionary founder Rupert Murdoch and newspaper publishers who have been frustrated about how they are treated by Google, and the goal of Microsoft’s Bing to overtake Google in the search.

Yes, this event illustrates the complexity of commerce and how it has evolved in the last 16 years.

If my memory is accurate since 1993, consider these developments:

  • Fox Broadcasting Company launched programs seven nights a week. That was also the year Fox acquired the rights to broadcast the National Football League games previously owned by CBS. The network has certainly succeeded. It has delivered No. 1 ratings for 18-49 demographic ratings since 2004.
  • Throughout the globe, pocket- size telephones started becoming quite the rage.
  • Intel announced its 3.1 million-transistor Pentium microchip about the time Microsoft introduced Windows NT.
  • Linux was launched as a free operating system and Apple Computer introduced us to its hand-held computer.
  • President Bill Clinton signed NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, into law.

Meantime, a group pioneering as a leads-generation organization in Federal Way, WA has created its own buzz, and is preparing to celebrate its 16th anniversary as Referrals Unlimited.

As a leads group, Referrals Unlimited (www.referralsunlimited.org) helps its small-business members attain their entrepreneurial goals. They keep track of the commerce the group generates – the dollar amount is impressive.  Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting as a guest to discuss the planned Biz Coach radio program, and met several of the charming members who are proud of their products and services.

Let’s meet some of the members:

“I offer a weight loss program for busy women who want to eat well and lose weight easily,” says Kristina Brown of Heart of Nutrition. “There is no deprivation, just yummy foods that bring your body back into balance so that the weight comes off naturally and without starving yourself.”

Ms. Brown says she’s been in business 10 years: “I bought my first health/cook book when I was just 19 and have been reading, cooking, and sharing this ever since.”

David Sobie represents a security firm, Global Technology Solutions, Inc. (www.globalts.net).

“Global Security, founded in 1988 and with offices in Oregon, Washington, and the greater Kansas City area is a full service security, fire, access control and low voltage home technology provider, “says Mr. Sobie, who boasts of more than 10,000 business and residential customers in Washington, Oregon and metropolitan Kansas City.

Richard Day specializes in identity theft mitigation and prepaid legal services. He doesn’t waste any time in succinctly explaining his services.

“My name is Richard Day protecting your assets against identity theft and giving affordable access to the justice system,” says Mr. Day (http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardday7).

Simone Perry aesthetically preserves what she calls sentimental assets at Sentimental Preservation by Simone (www.sentimentalpreservation.com).

“Whether it is something past down to you from ancestors or from a special event in your life, I can put it in a protective display for you to enjoy,” Ms. Perry says. “I also have unique textile preservation boxes for storing wedding gown, uniforms, christening gown or quilts. Call me today to preserve those treasures before they are lost.”

Isabel Tessier has marketed vitamins for more than three decades.

“Golden Neo-Life Diamite vitamin company has been in business since 1958, and I have been a consultant with GNLD for 31 years,” says Ms Tessier. She says her products deal with fatigue, stress, digestive problems, diabetes, allergies and cholesterol (www.healthplus-vitamins.com).

Renae McGregor owns Legacy Boutique Gift Baskets.

“From Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, our gourmet gift baskets contain the most mouth-watering foods” Ms. McGregor proudly states.  “Our baskets are filled with Northwest Coffee, Chocolates, Salmon, Mustard, Cookies, Summer Sausage, Nuts, Died Fruit, Popcorn and Oh! I can’t forget Tim’s Chips! Even our Beer and Wine are from the Pacific Northwest.”

With the exception of the month of December, she guarantees next-day shipping.

“Our web site www.legacyboutique.com, displays a variety of categories, for example, baby, bath body-spa, beer, birthday, chocolates, student, corporate, custom, get well-sympathy, as well as gifts for women and men, housewarming and wine to name a few.” 

Referrals Unlimited’s treasurer is a banker, Marty Markey, who introduced me to the group. She is the branch manager at Rainier Pacific Bank (www.rainierpac.com) at its Twin Lakes branch. (Disclosure: I’ve known her as a businessperson, and I’ve observed her outstanding customer service skills for a few years.)

“Rainier Pacific Bank builds profitable relationships by providing valuable financial solutions for its customers,” says Ms. Markey.  “We have served the diverse financial needs of our customers in the Tacoma-Pierce County market area of Washington State for over 75 years with consumer and business banking services, income property lending, investment and insurance services.”

As you might expect of a banker with unusually good customer service skills, she is very enthusiastic.

“We strive to be the choice for financial services in the markets we serve, and enjoy a deep level of community involvement throughout our history as a financial institution. Come see us in the local markets of Federal Way, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Spanaway, and Puyallup!”

Amen. As a kid growing up, a family friend and employer, Andy Andrews at the Palm Springs Tennis Club used to reward me with tickets to the spring training games of the then-California Angels. That’s where I had the thrill of watching baseball stars, such as Willie Mays, play in the desert sun.

As I thanked him for the tickets, Mr. Andrews once told me: “It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.”

So, to the Referrals Unlimited members, happy anniversary, kids!

From the Coach’s Corner, SCORE (www.score.org) has a site providing numerous business-management tips: http://www.score.org/business_tips.html.

PRESS RELEASE: No.1 Topic at Biz Coach Site is ‘quite a Surprise’

Press Release Celebrating The Biz Coach’s First Month Anniversary: Economic, political liberties are surprising No. 1 topic of visitors

 

Sept. 9, 2009

Yes, users are reading the performance-enhancing strategies at this new business-coaching Web site. Informative articles range from planning to technology. However, data shows the overwhelming visitor preference is public policy – and how it affects economic and political liberties.

Based in the greater Seattle area, Biz Coach Terry Corbell knows what to write for readers at The Biz Coach: www.bizcoachinfo.com, “Proven Solutions for Maximum Profits.” After analyzing the first month’s results of the site formally launched on July 29, he is happy with the reader response.

“But it is quite a surprise to learn the extent of the popularity of the first column dealing with economic policy, and economic and political liberties,” Mr. Corbell said. “I’m also surprised to learn where those readers live.”

The most-popular column suggests that governments at all levels in Washington state can help create jobs and set a leadership example for the rest of the nation – if they take new actions for economic development. The No. 1 column has a clear lead over the others – 20 times more readers than the second-place column.

“Sixty-five percent of the public-policy-minded readers are from the U.S. Five percent of them live in Washington, but 19 percent live in Michigan and 16 percent in California (70 percent of California readers live in the Silicon Valley),” Mr. Corbell added.

The most-popular column is entitled, “Analysis: Steps for Economic Success in Washington State.” It was the kickoff column to launch the site and the column continued to gain in popularity even though the site is updated every other day with a new column.

The Web site’s other 10 most-popular columns:

1. Case Study: Mistakes Companies Make When Losing Profits

2. Airbus-Boeing Rivalry: Lessons in Strategic Planning

3. 5 Safety Measures to Thwart Mounting Social-Network Attacks

4. Need a Job? Recession and Offshoring Don’t Have to Be Obstacles

5. Planning an Event? Consider 25 Emergency Preparedness Tips

6. What No One Tells You about Raising Investment Capital

7. New Strategies for International Trade

8. How Can Micro Businesses Position Themselves to Win?

9. Cause-Related Marketing Can Increase Sales by Double Digits

10. Web Security Checklist, Warning about Mobile Banking

As a business-performance consultant and profit professional, Mr. Corbell’s Web site provides proven solutions for maximum profits on eight topics:

• Planning

• Operations

• Marketing/Sales

• Finance

• HR

• Tech

• Public Policy

• Wall Street

The site also provides late-breaking video reports on each hour’s featured business story. Other news-video categories include:

• Economy

• Regulatory Compliance

• Personal Finance

• Sci-Tech

• Health

• Press Releases

The average Biz Coach visitor returns twice, reads more than six pages, and reads for more than six minutes each visit.

The top 10 countries in visitors:

• U.S. (80 percent)

• Canada

• Austria

• China

• Philippines

• Great Britain

• Sweden

• France

• Australia

As one of the Northwest’s longest-running columnists, Mr. Corbell has written 450+ business-coaching columns since 2001 for several media Web sites. He currently writes an Internet business-coaching column, The Biz Coach, for the Money News page at Seattle’s KIRO (www.kirotv.com), the “2009 National Edward R. Murrow Award Winner for Overall Excellence.”

Many of Mr. Corbell’s business-coaching columns are updated and archived on The Biz Coach Web site, which was developed by Solid Technology, www.solidtechnology.com, “Trusted Experts, Solid Results.” in Portland, OR.

He is a member of Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW). 

The New York Times featured Mr. Corbell twice in 2008. For some his business tips, simply Google each of these headlines:

• Been There… Done That… Here’s How

• Advice on Taking an Entrepreneurial Leap

As a profit professional, he developed The CMS Approach. To relieve a company’s financial stress, The CMS Approach includes a financial turnaround program on a pay-for-performance basis. Mr. Corbell provides complete solutions for a small retainer and one percent of the net-profit increase.

For external challenges, he provides a full marketing program from public relations to advertising and guarantees a 10 to 55 percent higher return on clients’ investments. He has deep media relationships and includes strategies such as social networking to newsworthy senior-executive videos, and TV commercials.

His firm, CMS Associates LLC, www.cmsassociatesllc.com, has been long-known for providing “Solutions to Increase Revenue.” CMS is an excellent company with an outstanding record of success since 1992. The firm has insights, systems and strategies to save companies time and money while increasing revenue.

Mr. Corbell is also focusing on economic development. He and KIRO are partnering to promote the economic climate of Western Washington communities.

He’s writing a book tentatively entitled, “How to Watch Your Back in the Jungle – Avoiding Business Predators.”

Space for banner advertising on The Biz Coach Web site is still available at reasonable Charter membership prices. In addition to the Web site, advertising for The Biz Coach concept will soon be available on Seattle radio, “The Biz Coach Roundtable.”  

Charter sponsors for The Biz Coach Web site and radio program will receive special incentives and priority red-carpet benefits. For details, visit “Our Services” page: http://www.bizcoachinfo.com/our-services.

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.