Monday, August 6, 2007

The Value of a Good Brand & Reputation

One of the best little hole in the wall restaurants in this area was closed and then recently reopened when the owners were indicted on numerous charges of laundering money, embezzling and employing illegal immigrants.

Here's the thing. If you read this news story, on their first day of reopening, customers were lined up outside the restaurant before it opened, and it was packed all day. Perhaps some were there to show support for this favorite char broil-chicken joint, but I am willing to be the majority were there just for the great food.

You see, every time I've been to this restaurant, no matter what time of day or what day of the week, there is a line out the door. But it's not for service, the workers there speak little to no english and aren't particularly friendly (they seem to care more about speed, and serving the line as quickly as possible). And it's not for atmosphere; the restaurant is basically a dump and even if you could find an empty table, it would be dirty from the last person to sit there. No, the people go there because it is simply the best chicken you will ever eat, and you'll pay the same price you would at any other limited service/carry out restaurant - around $8 for a generous entree with a side.

Why am I making a big deal out of this? Because your product, your reputation, your brand, has to be truly amazing to have this sort of a comeback after the way this places was shut down a few weeks ago. I can say with some certainty that any other restaurant in the county would be gone for good if something like this happened to them.

Think what you want about the fact that the owners broke the law in so many ways, you have to congratulate them for having such an outstanding product. We'll see how things go in the longer term (who knows if they will be able to remain open when the law suit pans out), but just remember that if your business' product is really remarkable, the benefits can be beyond measure.

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