Entrepreneurial Leadership – Building a Better Burger
PAD 508/Contemporary Business
Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina, Sr.
January 19, 2013
Entrepreneurial Leadership – Building a Better Burger 2
The phrase, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door,” is often (wrongly) attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson. An entry in his journal, dated 1855, actually reads, “I trust a good deal to common fame, as we all must. If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs, to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs, than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods,” (Cooper, T. and Kelleher, T., 2001). As an aside, and not really relevant, is the fact that the first successful mousetrap, the wood-based spring gadget most are familiar with today, was invented and patented (No. 13,227), by James Henry Atkinson in 1899. Dubbed the Little Nipper, it still holds 60% of the mousetrap market today, even though nearly 5,000 traps have been presented for patent since then - more than any other machine. What adds relevancy to this assignment is in fact both Emerson’s misquoted and actual quote, or the meaning thereof, that there is a correlation between, “…product quality and customer demand,” and, “…quality products come to dominate the market by forces similar to the laws of natural selection. Ostensibly the fittest products - that is, those of greatest craftsmanship and stamina - will flourish in the marketplace without the need for persuasive promotion,” (Cooper, T. and Kelleher, T., 2001).
A Tried and True Recipe for Success
If we switch the word hamburger in place of mousetrap in the misquote, or add it to the good list from Emerson’s journal entry, we find that his theory is the philosophy upon which Five Guys Burgers was originated; in fact, “make it better” it is a main ingredient in the organization’s recipe for success, along with keep it simple and go on gut feelings. Five Guys mission statement Entrepreneurial Leadership – Building a Better Burger 3 supports this philosophy; it is, “We are in the business of selling burgers.” Their goal is just as simple and closely aligned, “…to sell the best quality burgers possible. To sell the best burger possible, we focus on Quality, Service, and Cleanliness." Five Guys also has a service promise, posted on every soda machine in every Five Guys restaurant, “Thank You Customers. You the customer are the most important visitor on our premises. You are not dependent on us, we are dependent on you. You are not an outsider in our business –you are a part of it. We are not doing you a favor by serving you– you are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so. Thank You, Five Guys,” (Farfan, Barbara (n.d.). Five Guys Restaurant Mission Statement - Burgers Are the Business & the Mission). People love it as much as the burgers.
Also unique to Five Guys is the decision not to advertise, and not to use timers and other devices to measure their food. Instead, Five Guys relies on word of mouth and good free press in local and national newspapers, magazines and such, and passes on potential unspent advertising dollars to its employees, who have been taught to rely on their gut feelings to judge the readiness of the French fries. There is an absence of freezers in all Five Guys restaurants; that is because everything is fresh, nothing is ever frozen. With all of the uniquely special features of this particular entity, Five Guys’ founder and CEO, 68-year old Jerry Murrell’s personal philosophy may be what really sets this fast-food burger joint apart from the rest, “Treat your employees and customers right. "Find something you love to do and just do it....