Entrepreneurs and business people often like to focus on marketing and sales because it's exciting. However, if the quality is bad your company will never be able to truly thrive. Learn how to put quality first during this powerful training.Sign Up to Watch
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-What's going on? My name is Daniel McKenna. I'm the Executive Producer here at Thrive15, and official Hype Master. Today, we have Clay Clark and the one, the only Arthur Greeno. And we're talking about why quality must come first. Specifically, if you're a business owner, you probably have, I don't know, four, five, six, seven, a hundred different things in your to do list. You get a lot of stuff to do, but without quality, your brand and customer service training is going to suffer, your product's going to suffer, and your customers will not come back, so this lesson could be huge for your business.
Here at Thrive we believe knowledge without application, it's meaningless. Unless you actually take the time to take something from this lesson, specifically apply it to your life or your business, today's lesson is going to be more meaningless in non-stick tape. It's basically paper at that point.
-All right, Arthur, today in this cusomer service training we are talking about quality and why quality must come first. But before we get into it, I just want to thank you for being here.
-Every time you are here, I get a little more excited than I should be, and I have to just pull off that excitement a little bit, just back off a little bit.
-I can understand.
-Yeah. So that way I can relate to most people. I just get euphoria every time I see you. So here we go, Arthur. Now, today we are talking about quality and why it must come first. Now, you own Chick-fil-A restaurants.
ARTHUR GREENO: Yep.
-You own two of these guys.
ARTHUR GREENO: Yep.
-And you guys are producing massive amounts of quality chicken per day. Just real talk for you. Those of you who have been on the planet for a few years might have seen a new story occasionally about people get E. coli, and this horrible thing happens. Even one slip up at a restaurant in terms of food quality and food preparation can get on the news.
ARTHUR GREENO: Yep.
-So that's a big PR tip, almost. If you want to get on the news, just serve up some E. coli to some customers, and you get famous.
ARTHUR GREENO: Yeah. I don't think Jack in the Box will feel the same way.
-Right. So, I mean, it's not a good thing. And I want to make sure that we're hearing this, because if you're watching this and you are struggling to keep the quality of your product or service high, nobody can relate to you and the challenges of doing this more than this guy. Because how many customers do you see every day?
-Right around 2,000.
-2,000 people. 2,000 people, 2,000 orders, coming in and getting the food they want. And it's awesome.
Now, with the customers that you see there on a daily basis-- I know at Chick-fil-A your goal is to wow. Your goal is to always treat people the way you'd want to be treated, but you guys do it. It's not just a goal, but you actually do it.
ARTHUR GREENO: Right.
-Now, Jeff Bezos, this is the founder of Amazon, he says, "If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful." How have you personally seen the quality of service and food that you provide work to your benefit in terms of, like, how is the quality of food and the quality of service you provide day-in-day-out, how have you seen that help you grow your business?
-Well, I think the biggest thing is consistency, is that people get to where they know when they come to Chick-fil-A that they're going to get a great sandwich and a great environment, and they're going to be treated right. And I've heard stories of people where when they're going on trips, they will seek out Chick-fil-A's, because they know what they're going to walk into. And unfortunately, a lot of restaurants, even some chains, you don't know what you're going to walk into.
-If you're watching this right now and you are the kind of person that looks for a Chick-fil-A on a road trip, you can just go ahead and put your hand up. It's not super weird. But I'm just telling, this is huge. People do this. I know ladies who will say, let's find a Chick-fil-A so I can find a restaurant.
-So they choose a restroom. They choose. Let's stop at a Chick-fil-A so I can find a clean restroom. That's huge.
Now, I won't mention the name of the place, but there was one deli located near a place where I used to office, and the lady who owned the place-- she was a nice lady. Nice lady. Hardworking lady, I'm sure, but her team never served me something twice in a row that was good. Meaning, like, I went there are two times, and one of those two times I would always have bad food.
Just something was gross. Like, the lettuce was old school or the carbonated beverages were wrong. There was just always something wrong. One out of two times.
So for someone like this-- maybe if you're watching right now and you're that person where you're like, you know what, we make great barbecue half the time. 50% of the time we are awesome 100% of the time. You know, if you're watching this and that's you-- and I know we've all been there before-- what advice would you have to give somebody who's having a hard time keeping their quality control consistency high?
-Well, I would look at what are the systems that you have in place to make sure that the quality control is there. A lot of places, like the deli you mentioned, first of all, some of them don't even know that it exists. You know, I'll talk to people, and they'll share with me, oh, yeah, I never thought about doing something like that.
But, you know, all the high-end chains, like QuikTrip, we've talked about QuikTrip before, QuickTrip has a mystery shopper that will mystery shop their employees to make sure they're doing what's right. And then they have a mystery shopper that will mystery shop the mystery shopper to make sure it's done right. And they just have built-in systems to make sure that the quality is what it's supposed to be.
-I would say an action step that anybody watching this right now can do is make sure that whatever your recipe is, whether it's a restaurant or it's a call center or an insurance agency or a roofing company, make sure your recipe for what makes your company successful is not just in your head.
-Make sure it's written down. Record it onto a checklist. That's one action step that we can all do.
Now, Arthur, why is it that at your store the quality control has stayed high for years? Do you fight on a daily basis with newer employees or employees that aren't performing? And then do you kind of fight the good fight to keep quality high? I mean, is it a daily battle to make sure that the old chicken gets tossed out and the new chicken gets put in? Is it every day are you fighting to keep the quality high?
-Really? And you've been doing this for how many years?
-25 years. And you know what? Almost every time I think, OK, we're going to create a new system to make sure this is right. And this one will work and this one will be here forever. And it's not. It's just, you know, you're always dealing with different dynamics. Different personalities, different people, different chemistries, new things in the restaurant. And so it's going to be a constant thing.
-This is an example. Every however many days you have new chicken that comes in. New chicken is shipped in. And then if chicken's not produced by that date or not, you throw it away.
-There's expiration dates. Things have to be heated to a certain temperature. I mean, is this a daily struggle thought? I
Mean, literally daily, do you have to just tell people, hey, make sure you throw away this chicken? Make sure you-- is it ongoing? Is it ever just smooth where you just sit back and you just sit by the pool and say, things are just awesome?
-There is times when you can get all your systems in place that you can do that for very short amount of time.
-You mean, like an hour?
-Maybe. It's exactly like spinning plates. Once you get-- if you've ever seen a plate spinner, [WHOOSHING NOISE] he gets on there with a big stick and he starts twirling it, and then the plates get going, and by the time he gets to the last one, what does the first one start doing? It starts wobbling.
And so then you run back over there. You start spinning it again. And then you go to the next one. And you go to next one.
-I feel like I could spin maybe one plate. I don't know if I could do two.
-You could do one on your head. You're hair is kind of pointy.
-Yeah. That's why I have this haircut. It's a patented haircutting system that allows me to spin plates on my cranium.
-That's right. You know they're going to put one on your head now in the video? [WHOOSHING NOISE]
-Yeah. I appreciate them doing that. Now, hey, Arthur, the late Steve Jobs, he's the co-founder of Apple and the guy who helped Pixar. A lot of people don't know this. He helped Pixar become the company it is today. Pixar was a company that hadn't made a successful animated film.
And Steve Jobs took over and boom, grew this thing. He says this quote, which blows my mind every time. He says, "Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected." Arthur, in seems like in situations in business all the time, you as a manager are going to have this high expectation, this high quality standard.
But yet most people don't have that same standard because if they did they'd be the manager. So how do you bridge that gap? What do you do on a daily basis when this is the standard, this is what's being done? Walk me through maybe some of the things you would say to me if this is the standard and this is what I'm doing.
-OK. So first I would try to figure out whether it's you don't know or you don't care. And so I would talk to you about maybe the systems that we have in place. So Clay, what are we supposed to be doing here? And if you said, well, we're supposed to be-- OK.
Let's talk about chicken sandwich. So you're making the chicken sandwich. And you're breading the chicken sandwich. And so I would kind of observe what you're doing. And if you're not going to correctly, at that point we'd go back to the recipe and say, OK. Are we in agreement that this is what we need to be doing?
-Well, what if I act like I don't know, but I do know.
-Well, you know, we're going to give you a little patience. We're going to train you a few times to make sure we've done our job. Then there comes a point when we're going to have to go ahead and promote you to customer status.
-Which is in your code for--
--our code for, we're going to have to let you go.
-Let you go.
-But the other part is that sometimes maybe you're not built for breading. So maybe when we put you in the back, you're not built to be the person making that sandwich. You're built to be the guy our front.
-I love it that someone can be not built for breading. I just don't bread. It's just not a skill I have. I'm not a breader.
-OK. Let me give you a great example. You're back their breading and you want to be talking. And you're sitting there, as you're breading you're talking to all your friends. Well, you know what? There's probably a better position for somebody who likes to talk than in the breading station. So maybe we'll put you in the drive-through--
---where you can talk to people. That's where your passionate. That's where you get excited. And that may be where you fit. So we need to make sure that we have the right people in the right places.
-I went to a church back in the day, way back in the day. I'm not going to say the name of the church. I can just say it was north. And I went to this church. And the brochures were never right-- never. Every Sunday it'd be like, June 4. And it would be-- we're currently on June 20, but the brochure would say June 4.
Or, you'd call up to the voicemail. It would be like, thank you for calling such and such church. Today's June 4. Well, it's not June 4. It's June 20. And the audio guy was terrible. It'd always be like [MAKES FEEDBACK NOISE].
Every single time someone hopped to the mic he'd be like, folks, welcome to such and such a church. And today-- [MAKES FEEDBACK NOISE]. Sorry about that. I mean, every Sunday. And the people who sang during the service we're awful. Like, it was awful. And everything about it was just gross.
So if the pastor of that place, wherever that place may be, is watching this and has low standards, what would you say to the guy? How do you raise your standards up? Do you spy on other great restaurants? Or, how do you get your standards up?
Because I don't think he came to church and said, what I want to do is do a mediocre presentation every Sunday. And I want to be consistently mediocre. How do you raise your expectations if for some reason you're used to having those lower standards?
-Well, I think what you suggested is going to other churches and visiting. On a regular basis, I actually tell my management, I'll actually give them money and say, go out for lunch. And I'll say, but when you go, you need to steal all their ideas and bring them back. And
They will go and come back and say-- and sometimes they are other Chick-fil-As. And they'll go to other Chick-fil-As that maybe have better scores on things than us and say, what are they doing differently that we're not?
-Now, I know in your restaurants that you a very high standard in your restaurants. But some people, some employees-- I've heard employees say about you, he's a little over the top about quality. He's just a little over the top. He's a little anal, a little anal. Just a little over the top, little bit, little bit.
And I hear those comments a lot about people who are sticklers for high quality. Does that even bother you anymore when people label you with, well he's just a little over the top about quality. Does that bother you?
-No. Not at all. Not at all. Because one of things I do know is, if that's my standard, and I'm over the top on that, and then it goes down to my management, they may not be as anal as I am on it. And so as it trickles down the expectations are still going to be there.
-Before you I met, I want you to know I used to go into Chick-fil-As and QuikTrips all the time. And I did go into yours. And I would sit there. And I'm like, how are these bathrooms clean? How is it all the staff making change properly? How is it so clean in here? What's going on?
I used to watch and see people run around with little checklists sometimes. I'm like, oh, they're writing things down. This must be the key to success. And these are things that I was not doing for years. And so I think the one thing that's great is you're going to bless other entrepreneurs when you hold yourself to a high standard because we can all learn from each other.
And I think it's awesome. And you guys are the gold standard. I absolutely love it. Now, Henry Ford, the famous founder of Ford motors, he once said, "Quality means doing it right when no one else is looking." Now, I realize on a practical level, until cloning becomes possible, you really can't be at both stores. So what systems do you have in place to make sure that the quality levels stay high, even when you're not physically present at each store?
-Well, we follow them as far as the quality goes. We have check systems that we will make sure that people are adhering to. And they're going to be the same at both stores, like what does a Chick-fil-A sandwich have to look like?
And both-- the management, we're all in agreement on. It's actually something that's provided by Chick-fil-A Inc. that we'll look at and say, you know, I mean, all the way down to the 0.1. When somebody breads a sandwich, if they're not pushing down on it right, that sandwich will be a lot thicker than you want it, which is good in some aspects. But from the customer perception, when you look at your sandwich, it looks like a smaller sandwich.
-So you have the checklists that are the same for each store?
-Right. On certain things.
-So, I have a mall store and a free stand store. Well, obviously, the level of customer service at the mall and the free stander, we want them to say-- to greet the customers the same. But yet, at the free stand store we may go out and visit the tables. At the mall it's a little more difficult to do that because all of the sudden we find that we're serving every guest in the entire food court versus just our store. So there are some dynamics that are different.
-OK. Yeah. But if you're watching this and you have multiple locations and your struggling to keep equality high, having standardized checklists is big.
-Having standardized training is big. Having set followup times is big. It's totally possible. And Vince Lombardi, the Hall of Fame football coach-- and I realize you're not a big sports guy.
But bear with me on this. He says, "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to the commitment of excellence-- to their commitment to excellence regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." Arthur, how does Chick-fil-A corporate demonstrate their commitment to excellence when it comes to managing the actual store owners like yourself?
-Well, one of the things they do is they provide us a lot of tools to make sure that we're doing things right. One of the tools that they provide us is a tool that shows how we compare to other stores. And so it's real hard for me-- because it's real easy to-- when we get in our stores and we're running it, whether I have this kind of store or a clothing store or whatever it is, for us to justify it.
Well, our customers just aren't as smart as other customers. Or, well, they don't understand our traffic patterns here. But then when you start comparing me to 1,500 other stores and you start looking at some of my numbers, you say, well, Arthur, on average-- you aren't even at average yet. That really makes us go, hm. It makes me focus on things.
-Even though I, as a local Tulsan, have complemented your store numerous times. And I really do enjoy going there. You're being told from corporate, hey, you're good here. But someone else is better than you across the country.
-So it kind of keeps you humble, almost.
-It does. It keeps you focused and keeps you going. OK. What's the next step, or what do I need to be focusing on, or looking for those opportunities, because no one wants to be at the bottom of the barrel.
-Now final question for those who do not want to be-- I don't know why you would assume no one wants to be at the bottom of the barrel. I think there's some carp people out there that want to be at the bottom of the dam of the lake of life.
-Yeah, some catfish, some carp. OK. So here we go. So if I'm out there, I'm trying to achieve a level of excellence, what systems do you have in place on a daily basis to keep that standard high?
I mean, is it a daily call-in with your managers? Is it a daily wall-through? You personally inspect the grounds every day? What are some of the daily systems that you use and that Thrivers can use?
-Sure Well, one of the things I kind of pride myself on and my manager's kind of tease me about is, I can tell what's going on in the restaurant by how the outside of the restaurant looks that day. So when I pull in, I'll make a loop around the restaurant. And if I see trash or-- I can just tell the feeling before I even walk in. And after I get done picking up the parking lot, which is, if they see me out picking up the parking lot, they already know.
-Here it comes.
-And so I'll pick up the parking lot. And I'm not doing that because I don't have the staff to do it. I'm doing it because I want my employees to realize how important that is to me. Pick up the parking lot, come on into the store, and start looking at the different components.
But on the tracking forms-- there are tracking forms that they actually will send me every single night. Every morning when I get up, there's a tracking form that will come that will show different-- the important things I'm trying to track on a regular basis so I can know what's going on. And some of it is because I need to know.
But some of it's also the employees need to-- sometimes I may not have time to check it. But you know what? In their eyes they're sending it to me because they think Artur's going to check it every single time.
-Well, it seems like four action steps that we could all take out of this is one, I loved your idea about the mystery shopper. You talked about QuikTrip having a mystery shopper. We can all have somebody who shops our company and tells us what we're doing wrong or what we're doing right.
Two, is we definitely can compare ourselves with the Jones' or with the competitors, with other businesses and say, well I might be doing good at my store, but the QuikTrip gas station over there is cleaning at a higher level than I am. Or, your kind of benchmarking against really good companies.
The third is it seems like you having those standardized checklists, those standardized systems, so it's the same from each location as much as possible. And then the final one is leading by example, whether it means picking up trash in your own parking lot or doing whatever it takes to show your team that you really do care about those small details.
Arthur, I appreciate you for putting quality first and for not giving me salmonella for 45 consecutive trips to your restaurant. I feel confident that I can go buy some more chicken today and be healthy. So I appreciate you so much.
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