Innovation and change will keep you in the game
A few weeks ago we sent an introductory letter to Bob’s Burgers in Salem, Oregon. Chris Tipp, our office manager, had spent considerable time searching for the company online. She was pretty sure there was no Bob’s Burgers in Salem. I insisted that there was, and after some long search, she found an address and we sent out the introductory letter. A few days later, the letter came bouncing back to our office, “return to sender - address unknown”. We had to pay both outgoing and incoming postage! Then I made calls to the phone numbers we had located – disconnects, residences and strange sounding businesses - none of which got me through to Bob’s Burgers. Sometimes I can be a little stubborn; I don’t give up very easily. I asked my brother, Bruce, who lives in Silverton and travels into Salem often, if he would scout around to see what he could find. I was under the impression that there were several Bob’s in the greater Salem area. I was sure there was one in West Salem and another on Capital Street in Salem proper. A couple of days later, Bruce called and said, “Bob’s is out of business. There is no Bob’s Burgers! There were some, but there are none now. I think you’d better start using them as an example of what happens to a company if they don’t use Turbo training.” My wife, Donna Lee, said, “Let me try and see what I can find.” When she Googled “Bob’s Burgers Salem,” she found “Bob’s Burger Express” and several comments from fans who said how much they missed the great sauce. Anybody who liked that great sauce is still missing it because Bob’s Burger Express is definitely no longer in business.
Is this because people no longer enjoy burgers? I don’t think so. Over 50% of
convenience food restaurants specialize in burgers. In the last few years, Sonic and 5 Brothers Burgers came to town. McDonald’s has opened several new locations and tripled their menu size in the past 30 years.
Why didn’t Bob’s expand, add to their menu, grow, or franchise? I don’t know, but it wasn’t because they didn’t have a good idea and a great sauce. We may never know the rest of the Bob’s Burger Express story. (If you know more of their history, help us fill in the blanks.)
We know this - if you’re not changing with the times, if you’re not finding ways every day to reduce your material costs, improve productivity, reduce labor costs and enhance your customers’ experience, serving customers at ever higher levels, you will go the way of Bob’s Burger Express. If you’re not expanding your offerings, finding ways to attract new and different customers, you will not be in the game much longer. You either grow or go; you either buy or get bought.
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