Archive for January, 2014



“Focus on the care of your employees and customers and your profits will take care of themselves.” ~ Daniel R. Scoggin

Friday’s original success is legendary. The founding principles have spread across the globe. I receive emails from alumni quoting the metaphors, theories and philosophies regularly. During the early years our training manuals, control forms and systems were copied and used by hundreds of businesses large and small. It was our policy that this was our gift to the alumni and the industry at large. Today, many of the metaphors and theories are commonly found on the internet. The difficult part of the equation, however, is not commonly found and this is the most important part, the essential core values. The systems, theories and philosophies are ineffective without being connected to the principles behind them and held to the standard of excellence upon which they are based.

Common to the successful businesses I have researched, while writing the book, are core values, the standard of excellence and goals focused on their employees well being and their customers’ happiness. Without prompting, they all mentioned, in their own way, that they did not focus on profits, that if they stayed true to their principles the sales and profits took care of themselves.

Famous for his success in a very competitive business Herb Kelleher puts it this way, We tell our people, ‘Don’t worry about profit. Think customer service.’ Profit is a by-product of customer service. It is not an end in and of itself.”

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The answer is Friday’s. The second store we  built was in Houston with the first, in Dallas. The punch line is that Southwest only had three airplanes and we chartered one of them to take our faithful customers from the Dallas Greenville Avenue store to the opening night of the Houston Galleria store. I have tried over the years to get some mileage out of this by dropping the fact that I charted a third of the airline. I usually get disbelief at first and then a good laugh when I explain, but I don’t get bumped to First Class because flying with Southwest is always first class. (Maybe I’ll get a little mileage out of this blog!- just kidding.) Here is a quote from founder Herb Kelleher articulating one of their core principles and a reason WHY“We tell our people, ‘Don’t worry about profit. Think about customer service.’ Profit is a by-product of customer service. It’s not an end to itself.”

Friday’s founding principles focused on the same priority. I love Henry Ford’s quote on the topic, “A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large.”

Note: See my Quotes page for more.

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New Suit Theory


I just read an article about America’s disappearing restaurant chains. They point out what we have all been observing. Their solution and that of the ‘shrinking chains’ seems to rely heavily on remodels. If that is a valid strategy, while not correcting the real problems, why not put a new suit on criminals, instead of remedial treatment and jail and send back out into society! Problem solved?! I call this “The New Suit Theory!”

I don’t get it. The clamor for and interest in fresh innovative food is at an all time high. The food channels and shows on TV, the food truck craze and the highly successful one off’s, as well as, regional chains are experiencing epic success because of their innovative fresh food. The big chains (Cheesecake Factory excepted) continue to shrink in size and coincidentally shrink from quality fresh food. They instead try to maintain customer counts with advertising, discounting and expensive remodels from which they continue serve the same mediocre food.

“A market is never saturated with a good product, but is quickly saturated with a bad one.” ~ Henry Ford

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I have recieved numerous request to comment on the sale of T.G.I. Friday’s. I plan to post my thoughts in my blog on Monday.

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“Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good idea like learning the secret of magic from a magician.  After you once know the trick and know what to look for you see things that you did not notice when you did not know exactly what to look for.”  – Orville Wright


I love to sail and fly. Ironically they both share the common power PRINCIPLE of air foil. Once learned this PRINCIPLE has many applications and as with all PRINCIPLES, when violated you lose it’s power. Friday’s was founded on management PRINCIPLES that when violated lost their power. We can learn from Orville’s observation and once a PRINCIPLE is demonstrated, continue to learn from it and exploit it’s power.  Research for my book found many highly successful companies, in multiple fields employing the same PRINCIPLES upon which Friday’s was founded with equally outstanding results. Delightfully Friday’s UK is one of the most successful in my research. 

“Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

PS: The G650 is my metaphorical image of Friday’s during principled flight.

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Don’t shout it – Do it!

“Your brand is formed primarily, not by what your company says about itself, but what the company does.” – Jeff Bezos

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I thought I would take the day off and employ some great guest contributors. Jeff Bezos on the introduction, Will Rogers on the main message and Jerry Della Femina with a postscript..

“Let advertisers spend the same amount of money on improving their product that they do on advertising and they wouldn’t have to advertise it.” ~ Will Rogers

Will would have fit right into the original Friday’s Family and the strategy we employed!

Postscript: “There is a great deal of advertising that is much better than the product. When that happens, all the good advertising will do is put you out of business faster.” ~ Jerry Della Femina

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Thanks to all of you that have expressed support for my upcoming book. A special thanks to the alumni that have shared their memories from Friday’s glory days. 2015 will be the 50th anniversary of Alan Stillman’s launch of the original Friday’s at 63rd & 1st in NYC and Jim West, the first hourly employee hired for the Greenville Ave store, is organizing a reunion in Dallas. We will keep everyone posted on the time and place.


Many of you have asked when the book will be available. It will go to our agent this month and he says the publishing process usually takes about six months. While a great book could be written about all the fun we had during those early years, it would probably have to be X rated. The book I have written is about the founding principles that made Friday’s so successful. Those principles are being employed by many successful businesses in many fields today and we highlight a few. The biggest delight for me is that Karen Forrester, Friday’s CEO in the UK, has returned her 60 restaurants to these well proven principles and achieved the same outstanding results as Friday’s achieved in the glory days. This validation is truly heart warming and the “Friday’s Family” spirit is the same as the original.


If you have read my earlier blogs, I refer to many of Friday’s founding principles. I received one email reminding me I once threatened to write a book titled “It’s the food, stupid!” While the concept is true and many of the large chains have forgotten that, the book is about management principles, problem solving and excellence. While it is tempting, the book will avoid a post mortem of Friday’s since I left.  I think the results speak for themselves. Customer counts always tell the tale and in the UK they are up 100% in the last four years! I rest my case.

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New Years Resolution

“Trying to compromise EXCELLENCE is like trying to let a little bit of air out of a balloon with a hat pin.” – Daniel R. Scogginimageimageimageimage

This is a great time of year to hit the reset button and inspire ourselves with new resolve for the New Year. The #1 goal and focus of the counseling I do and classes I teach is EXCELLENCE. I know it is an over worked – word – concept – topic or whatever but that does not make it any less valuable goal. An interesting exercise is to list the benefits of excellence as a personal and business goal. A list of fifty is easy, just start with excellence builds pride, morale and attracts the best and brightest. Excellence eliminates the majority of the competition and the necessity for  give away marketing. My favorite is its FUN! I could go on but you get the idea.

As I began writing my book I was delighted to be contacted by Karen Forrester, the CEO of T.G.I. Friday’s, UK.  We have become great friends and I a big fan of her work, she has captured the original Friday’s spirit. She pursues EXCELLENCE and guess what, she demonstrates the benefits of it’s pursuit. A list of fifty would be easy but I will give you just one, her customer counts are up over 100% without any give away marketing!

If you choose to pursue the fulfilling goal of excellence I have a word of caution. EXCELLENCE CANNOT BE COMPROMISED. The biggest enemy of EXCELLENCE is compromise or as I call it, the silent killer. It starts innocently with “let’s cut a little slack, just this once” and continues with “does it have to be that good?” Think about it, EXCELLENCE is a never-ending pursuit UP so by definition any compromise would be a step down toward MEDIOCRITY.


Start 2014 with a commitment to EXCELLENCE it’s inspirational & FUN! Happy New Year.  


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