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Inspect What You Expect

In this transcript, Arthur Greeno (Owner of two Chick-fil-A franchises) and Clay Clark (US SBA Entrepreneur of the Year) talk about inspecting what you expect on Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA.

Clay:    Arthur Greeno, how are you sir?

Arthur:    Great, how are you?

Clay:    I'm doing well. I am doing well. I'm really used to early mornings and I know you are too but I don't think the Thrivers realize the kind of sacrifices of sleep deprivation you go through to be here to record these episodes. What time did you wake up today my friend?

Arthur:    I got up about 4:45.

Clay:    4:45 awesome, awesome. Well I'm excited that you woke up at 4:45 and thought about me. Today we are talking about inspect what you expect. This whole idea of quality control but we really have to inspect. Now just to give the Thrivers a little bit of context and an idea of the complexity or the size of what you do, you have those two Chick-fil-A's.

Arthur:    Right.

Clay:    How many customers or orders do you take on a typical day with those two?

Arthur:    Well between the two, we're close to 2,000.  

Clay:    Two-thousand orders?

Arthur:    Yeah.

Clay:    Wow. Do you ever get overwhelmed with that number at all thinking about how many customers you serve every day?

Arthur:    I can but I really try not to focus on the overall because it can get overwhelming. We just focus on each customer and we just go through the day.

Clay:    Do you ever look at that number though? Honestly and start to see it, when you would start to go, Geez. I feel overwhelmed, with all the potential employees you're managing because it's 2000 employees ... or 2000 customers a day. How many employees is that you're managing?

Arthur:    Yeah. I have been between my both stores I have close to 150 employees. 

Clay:    Okay. For people watching this, most businesses in America today have 10 employees or less.

Arthur:    Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Clay:    According to the SBA, its 90% of businesses have 10 employees or less and you have 150. If you're watching this and you're having a hard time managing a crew of 4 or 5 people, this guy knows what he's talking about. We're going to get into this.

    Arthur according to Webster, my brother from another mother, the guy who writes the dictionaries, the word inspect means to look at something carefully in order to learn more about it to find the problem. Have you ever lost sleep worrying about not meeting the customer's expectations at your store? Have you ever worried about this?

Arthur:    Yeah. It's something that's always out there and it is important for us to meet their expectations. It's something that if you're going to have a successful business, you have to have those things in place. 

Clay:    Now every time that I've gone into Chick-fil-A's, except for one time. Your Chick-fil-A's, I mean this, except for one time. I've been in your Chick-fil-A's, I don't know, let's just say four to five times. A lot. We have a Chick-fil-A, it's closer to our house but we always feel we should buy from yours, so we'll circumnavigate.  

Arthur:    I have to agree with that.

Clay:    We've gone to the restroom almost 50 times and I've only caught a restroom that wasn't clean one time. Yet when I went to New York and Chicago here in the last few months, I did not find one restaurant that was clean outside of some of the higher-end department stores. It's every restaurant, the bathrooms are clean.

    In my mind, why is it that you believe that most of the restroom are dirty throughout our country? Most restaurants have dirty restrooms but yet yours are always clean. Why is that? 

Arthur:    Well I think that well for one, it's a requirement from Chick-fil-A, not just from my standards but also Chick-fil-A, Inc. We're going talking about inspecting things and one of the components of that is that I have expectations that Chick-fil-A, Inc. puts on us. 

    With the owner-operator agreement that Chic-fil-A has and I'm in there all the time. It's one of those from when you easily see things and say, Hey this isn't how it should be.

    I think a lot of times, a lot of restaurants and such the big, big ones, the person that really cares about the business isn't necessarily always there which is a problem. 

Clay:    Yeah. You believe that the system, the fact that you're there often helps.

Thrive15.com also helps many people, as one of the top business schools in PA.

Arthur:    Absolutely.

Clay:    Now I'm going to counter because I do know people that I know who own restaurants who are there who still have nasty bathrooms. I want to get into this because I feel that you don't only have a great system but I feel you do a great job of executing it. I do really think you do a good job. Now Peter Drucker, he's one of the leading management experts of all time and he says this, he says, No institution can possibly survive if it needs geniuses or supermen to manage it. It must be organized in such a way as to be able to get along under a leadership composed of average human beings.\

    Arthur on an hourly and daily basis, how do you and your team of smart but non-geniuses inspect the restrooms to make sure they're clean? How do you do it on an hourly or daily basis?

Arthur:    Well believe it or not we just break it down and we actually have checklist. Depending on what we have going on, we have a checklist and a timer. My front counter people will have a button. A little timer has different things coded on them so they just hit the button and they know to inspect the restrooms every 30 minutes or go make sure we're visiting with the customers every 30 minutes. 

Clay:    The timer goes off and the props people to clean the restrooms?

Arthur:    Yes.

Clay:    Really?

Arthur:    Yep.

Clay:    If I'm working there behind the desk, do I get like a, beep and then I know, I look there and it says, Clean bathroom, and then another one, beep go see customers?

Arthur:    No. I encourage this with my management. Sometimes I allow them to use the system that works as long as it's working but given enough time, every system that you create will always breakdown.

Clay:    Did you come up with this alarm system?

Arthur:    No. Actually my employees came up with that one.

Clay:    Really?

Arthur:    I'm old school so mine was, Here's a checklist. At 9:30 you'll check the bathroom. At 10:00 you'll check the bathroom and you sign it off. When they got busy with the customers and food going out the drive-through, they wanted something that's going to come trigger them and they created this little alarm system.

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