by Christian Stegmaier
As well, I’m always on the hunt as well for ideas to make my practice that much better. While the practice of law is a profession, it is nevertheless – in its very essence – a service industry. We are selling our time and ability to our clients – our customers. And there is a lot of competition. So we have to get it right. The better the job I do, the happier our firm’s clients will be. The name of the game is to deliver on our clients’ expectations.
Within the last several years, a quick service restaurant concept named Five Guys Burgers & Fries (http://www.fiveguys.com/) has moved into the Columbia market. Undoubtedly, many reading this article have either eaten at a Five Guys or at least heard of the chain. Originating from the Washington, DC area, Five Guys is known for its gargantuan burgers and copious amounts of french fries. Since coming to the Capital City, Five Guys has become a phenomenon. I have been to several of their locations here in town on numerous occasions and have never had a less than a great experience. As well, I’ve never talked with anybody who wasn’t more than satisfied with the Five Guys product. To that end, I have thought a lot about the secret to Five Guys’ success in Columbia, as well as how its guiding principles can be applied by other businesses – including law practices:
Five Guys Delivers a Quality Product: Five Guys delivers a wonderful product. The food is great – – – many claim it to be the best hamburger in Columbia. I concur. If you want people coming back from more, you better give them an excellent product, whether its legal services, tires, or anything else.
Five Guys Keeps It Simple: If you want fried chicken or pasta, look elsewhere. Five Guys is in the business of serving up hamburgers. By keeping their menu focused and simple, they’re incredibly good at what they do. Other businesses can do the same. No one can be all things to all people. Spreading yourself too thin only leads to a watered-down product and customer experience. You have to carve out a niche, stick with it, and become the best in your marketplace.
Five Guys Gives Patrons Choice: While the menu is limited, the variations on the theme are endless. When you order your burger, you are given at least 10 choices in the way of garnishes, toppings, condiments, etc. You literally can have your burger anyway you want it and completely tailor your eating experience. Customers of any business crave having the ability to tailor their experiences. Giving them that choice separates you from the pack and engenders brand loyalty.
Five Guys Delivers Value: Anyone who has been to Five Guys knows about the restaurant’s trademark: huge portions and great quality. Folks love it and remember Five Guys for it. Five Guys’ customers perceive they are receiving value for their purchase. The important takeaway for me is that the per customer ticket is probably 50-60% higher than Five Guys’ competitors, which means price point is not necessarily the driving factor when people want a great product and experience. In many, if not most cases, people will gladly pay extra is they believe they are obtaining quality for their purchase.
Five Guys’ People are Terrific: A wise lady I once knew who had family in the restaurant business once told me this: “The secret to success is selling wonderful food at a fair price and served by great people.” Her words are very much true. At Five Guys, the staff always seems to be energetic and dedicated to the mission of timely delivering a superior product to their patrons. They keep the restaurant clean and are genuinely interested in ensuring their patrons’ experience is more than satisfactory. All businesses can take a page from this playbook: Your people make the difference when it comes to customer experience. The more focused they are in making sure the customers’ needs are met, the happier, more satisfied those customers will be.
Admittedly, this is a glowing review of the Five Guys business model. And no, we don’t represent them. Nevertheless, I admire great customer service and want to promote and emulate it where I can. In our current economic climate where extra dollars are scarce and competition in the service sector is high, we can all learn from folks like Five Guys who are serving their customers the right way.