Great lessons from a “burger joint”

Mojo’sThe line of hungry patrons waited patiently to place their order. The newly opened neighborhood burger establishment, Mojo Burger, had already created a buzz by their quality food and their top-notch service. But it wasn’t just that they served Meyer Natural Angus beef and fresh, not frozen, fries.

I’m always interested in what makes one business successful while another languishes. There are plenty of fast food places in our community, some independently owned. But this two-store chain has stood out, so much so that I wind up there every couple of weeks for a quick bite.

So what makes this place stand out, other than their food?

  • Peter and CarolePeter Favre, the owner, surfs each table pausing to ask each person how their meal is, while looking each diner in the eye and waiting for the response. You know he is “the man” as his name tag says simply, “Mr. Mojo.” Their web site explains, “After completing the management program at McDonald’s Hamburger University, Peter was an instant success with the fast food giant, as he was able to come into any location and improve their volume almost immediately. How? By giving people the finest, most attentive and professional service they had ever experienced. Soon Peter was opening new McDonald’s and saving existing ones with his endearing personality and incredible work ethic.”
  • If Peter isn’t around, “Mrs. Mojo,” his wife Carole, mirrors his behavior. When was the last time you ate at a fast food place — in fact nearly any place — and had the owner or manager come by and make sure your dining experience was good? I’ve had this every once in a while, but not regularly. And often when they do stop, it seem perfunctory and their attention is fleeting and on to the next table. But not so with Carole and Peter. Each takes a few moments to focus fully on you.
  • Their staff is friendly and “present.” No matter who you interact with from cashier to grill cook, they look you in the eye, smile, and are not distracted by other things. Peter says, “We teach them to think.” He adds, “When a customer comes in, I train my employees to act like that customer is their mother-in-law that they’re meeting for the first time.” Everything -– the presentation, the cleanliness, the attention to detail –- had better be perfect if you ever want to impress the toughest critic of all.
  • Mojo’s philosophy is, “If it’s not right, we’ll fix it” and they do. Burger underdone? No problem, we’ll redo it. Not enough sauce on your BBQ sandwich? Let us know and we’ll add more. The tiniest detail is not too small if it makes a customer happy.

How can you use the Mojo example in your own organization? At the risk of stating the obvious:

  1. Get in your customers’ face — positively. How often do you call or see your customers and ask for honest feedback? If you aren’t having daily conversations with your customers, something is wrong.
  2. Don’t just give lip service. You have to walk the talk. If you tell your staff to listen to your customers and you aren’t, there’s a disconnect. They will learn by your example much more than your harping and not being an exemplar.
  3. Hire and train the right people. Peter and Carole consider their employees part of their family and treat them that way. If someone isn’t a good fit, they move them on. Do you have people around you who you are proud to represent you to your customers? If not, coach them, and if there’s no improvement, release them to a company that is a better fit for them.
  4. Fix what’s wrong — now! Do you fix what your customers’ complain about instantly? Or do you hide behind “That’s not our job,” or “That other department just won’t do it right.” You can’t afford to make excuses. Figure out how to satisfy your customers, even if it’s not your department’s fault for the problem.

Mojo’s web site says, “Mojo Burger’s customer return rate is unprecedented. ‘We have a very high customer return ratio. How do we do this? With great people, systems, and procedures that produce consistently high-quality, great tasting food in a nice environment for a good value.'”


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