“A quick way to end the debate is to look at the RESULTS!” ~ Daniel R. Scoggin

I have long advocated it is foolish to argue with a liar because they have an endless supply of “facts”! Now, I am not calling anyone a liar but sometimes business leaders and politicians can be pretty loose with the “facts” and can be very good at presenting “them”. When evaluating management strategies, management teams, employees and investments, it is best to cut through the “spin” and just look at results. It is often hard to do because of emotion,  buzz words, acronyms and slick  power point presentations. So focus on finding the truth, remove the emotion, cut through the dazzle and just look at the metaphorical 2+2=4.

“Talk is cheap but reality and results are great equalizers.” ~ Daniel R. Scoggin

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Great companies are founded on principles, standards and goals; empowering the organization to act with common purpose.”  Daniel R. Scoggin

Dynamic companies are faced with constant change as they grow and their markets develop. This can cause confusion in an organization because the rules and systems must change to keep pace. A well managed company has core values and principles that do not change, providing the stability and direction that eliminates confusion. Management’s job is to develop and share these values and principles with the  organization, empowering it to act and yes, break the rules if necessary to achieve and maintain those core values and principles.

Principles trump rules! Establishing and sharing those principles empowers the organization to act.





image“Trying to compromise EXCELLENCE, is like trying to let a little bit of air out of a balloon with a hat pin.” ~ Daniel R. Scoggin

Compromise is an immediate step toward the decline of performance. It is often motivated by cost cutting aimed at increasing profit. It is also used  by weak management when unable to produce the desired result due to the degree of difficulty in achieving EXCELLENCE. Great leaders do not compromise they lead, motivate and develop the systems that produce the desired result……but they do not compromise.

Remember there is another word for compromised excellence……MEDIOCRE!




One of the most common questions we are asked about our sailing adventures, especially by fellow sailors, is ‘Have you been around Cape Horn?’ We always proudly answer YES. Sometimes, we even go on to explain that we did it on the Queen Mary 2, on a trip from Ft. Lauderdale to San Francisco. Honestly, it was the only way to do it without spilling my martinis. Being the ships maiden voyage into San Francisco we were treated to a royal welcome.  (Arrival pictured above)

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Recently, I was a judge at the Friday’s Bartender Championships in London and will be attending the World Bartender competition in Dallas this coming week. I am often asked how did this all get started?

Consumer tastes are constantly evolving. We call this the ‘yellow brick road’. In the early 80’s the ‘road’ was turning away from heavy consumption of alcohol. This resulted in an industry-wide decline in sales. Many chose the easy answer by discounting prices and promoting happy hours.

Friday’s policies supported the efforts of MADD and community responsibility. We felt promoting more consumption of alcohol through volume discounts and price promotions was the wrong answer to sagging sales. Our answer was to promote drinking quality, through educating the customer to the finest of alcohol beverage products and entertaining them while doing it.

We became the largest purveyor of fine cognacs, scotch whiskeys and unusual wines. We even FedExed a DC-10 full of Beaujolais Nouveau to celebrate the fun worldwide race to have this iconic wine delivered first. We produced a popular drink menu, with over 600 drinks. It was over an inch think and can be bought on eBay today due to its high theft rate.

Last but not least, Friday’s was always known for having the best bartenders in the world. They were always entertaining and executed clever showmanship behind the bar. As a part of the strategy to improve sales responsibly, we decided to formalize, train and develop what they called ‘flair’! This led to intra-company competition and eventually to the worldwide phenomena you see today.

 We solved the decline in sales and in fact grew sales through innovation. The lesson is anyone can ‘cut price’ but it’s more effective, in the long run, to innovate. Oh! And it is more FUN!

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 See an earlier blog I posted called a ‘Tale of Two Friday’s” and then watch this youtube video. You will see the original Friday’s culture is once again alive and well!



Terry McDowel recieves Friday’s Founders Award Pin


                                                                                                               Terry & Karen


Terry McDowel, Friday’s culinary leader for the UK, was awarded the prestigious Friday’s Founders award pin at a company meeting held in a castle in Ireland. His tireless work to restore the quality and innovative character of Friday’s food has added fuel to the growing success of the iconic brand in the UK. Friday’s once known for outstanding food and creative innovation can benefit worldwide from the leadership being shown in this area, by Karen, Terry and the entire UK Friday’s Family. Their results continue to be record breaking!

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Winston Churchill



“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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