Jay's Tuesday Free Enterprise Quote - 5 June 2012

Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

“I don’t want mere customers.  I want raving fans!  And I want them to visit our store and come away saying, “WOW,” and keep coming back.”

Mike Lovitt, Owner/Operator
Bristow VA Chick-fil-A

My first experience with Mike Lovitt was not long ago and I did not know who he was.  I stopped in to the Bristow Chick-fil-A for a quick carry-out lunch.  I held the outside door for two ladies coming in.  One was elderly, helped by the other, and I assumed them to be mother and daughter.  Mike came and held the interior door.  He called them by name!

Then he did something I have never seen before.  He called to a girl behind the counter and said, “Charlotte, get Mrs. Smith her favorite drink.”  Charlotte knew what it was and the drink was to the table practically before the ladies had sat down!  Mike spoke with them for a minute, brought their order to the counter, and went to fill the napkin holders on the center island.  The meal was delivered to their table.

When was the last time that happened to you in a “fast-food” joint?  Me either.  To myself I said WOW.

Then I ordered my meal and went to wash my hands.  Coming out a young girl was there holding my bag.  Handing it to me and reading the logo on my work shirt, she said, “Here is your lunch, Mr. Maaar ... kaaa … viiina … kiiina … niiich.  Thanks for coming!”  That’s not even close to my name, but she tried!  Leaving the restaurant all I could say was WOW.

I hear the kids all want to work at this Chick-fil-A.  My fifteen-year-old daughter had been by many times to drop off an application.  They never called.  So one afternoon she had my wife take her over and called me saying, “Dad, I got a job!  My first day is Friday, and I am going to wear the cow suit!  They are paying me [more than minimum wage] !”  She thought she was a millionaire!  I told her I would try to get by and take her picture.

Friday afternoon I did just that.  Not seeing her I went inside.  She and Mom are sitting at a table speaking with the gentleman I recognized from the door experience!  Mike Lovitt.  He is talking with them.  I sat nearby and listened.  Arriving at the tail end, this was an interview I have never seen before

Drawing on the back of what must have been her file folder, Mike was teaching her.  He was teaching about what he expects of employees there.  And he is drawing as he speaks.

Mike was explaining the Raving Fan Strategy!  And the WOW experience.  It consists of three parts.

Operational Excellence – to be attentive and courteous, clean, serving quality food quickly.  All of that you would expect from any “fast-food” restaurant.  But not like Mike’s restaurant practices #1.

2nd Mile Service – interesting.  Roman law required a subject to carry a soldier’s sword for one mile.  Jesus counseled that everyone should carry it a second mile as well.  Why?  Because during that second mile a subject could return it at any time.  Who was the boss during the first mile?  And who was the boss during the second?  So, who is proactive at the Bristow Chick-fil-A?  Each employee as they carry trays of food to the patron’s table; ask to “refresh” (refill) drinks; tell patrons not to worry about clearing the tables; offering a high chair as a family with a little one enters the door.  Remember, WOW

Emotional Connection – have you ever entered a fast-food restaurant where they knew your name or what you like or typically order?  That is part of the Raving Fan Strategy at Mike’s store.   Given enough visits, they will know yours.

I was so grateful that my daughter could hear and experience this kind of information!  Never in my employment experience has anyone laid out anything like that for me!

It seems to me that in addition to teenagers, two other groups could use employment at this store:

A group residing in tents in a public park sitting around saying gimme, gimme.
And the most recent MBA graduates who think they deserve $500K a year, without any experience.

Then Mike invited her for a third interview!  Three interviews at a fast-food restaurant?  I told her to study the information he gave her and demonstrate that she is the kind of person that can provide what he is describing in his Raving Fan Strategy.  I also said to her that she costs him more per hour than he is paying her.  So she also has to demonstrate that she will be worth more than that cost.

More than what she costs him?  Yes!  Mike is in business to make a profit!  And the Raving Fan Strategy is how he wants to do that!  So he needs a team composed of the right people. 

In 1776 a Scottish economist wrote a book called The Wealth of Nations.  In it, one thing said is that the butcher, baker and beer maker do not provide our dinner because they care so much about us, although there is a degree of care in there.  He said they want to provide the best dinner they can to us so that we will come back again.  And when we come back they make more money.  And the more we come back the more money they make, and their lives improve.  They provide us the best products they can so they can derive PROFITS.  They are acting out of SELF INTEREST.

That’s not selfish!  It is self interest!  We all want better lives.  Mike is no different.

Her last interview consisted of a test!  A test of Do’s and Don’ts!  I don’t remember seeing those things in the file folder.  She says she got them all right.  Again, Mike wants to see if a candidate has on the inside what it takes to create Raving Fans!  He offered her a job as the newest hostess for the store, and she starts next week.  Mrs. Mike is ordering her a uniform.  And she thinks she is a millionaire!

I wondered if her having to go back time and time again to drop off an application is not a part of the interview process.  Does Mike want to see if someone has the gumption to come back more than once?  It would not surprise me a bit if that is not the case!



Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560



Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Roy Kelley 06/06/2012 08:59 PM
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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Jay I guess you cleared your cache :-)

I'm always impressed with Chik-Fil-A service.  They staff is friendly and the respond quickly to requests.  The few times I've stopped to eat lunch inside at the Woodbridge site, the staff is asking if you want refills on your drink and handing out samples of desserts.  It's nice to see a "fast food" company taking pride in it's service and teaching young people the value of treating customers right.

Jun 06, 2012 08:31 AM #4
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Amanda.  Stop in - this is the one in front of the Target on 28 in Bristow.

Cindy - I did, and it didn't cost me any cash!  I think learning business in the right way is a great start for her.

Jun 06, 2012 09:19 AM #5
Suesan Jenifer Therriault
JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team - Blakeslee, PA
"Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own".

Sounds like you daughter has stumbled on more than just a job, she stumbled on a place with wonderful work ethics. Good for her for going back til she got hired...sounds like a wise young lady.

Jun 06, 2012 11:00 AM #6
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

This is what each of us in business should strive for. Extraordinary service will translate to many raving fans.

This guy really has it figured out, thank you for sharing the post with all of us,

Jun 06, 2012 07:30 PM #7
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That's what I mean in the post Sue.  These are things learned and benefits derived from seeing business operated this way which will stay with her the rest of her life.

Joe - my first "job," outside of papers and mowing lawns, was a a burger joint, and it was nothing like this to be sure.  And they paid minimum wage, $.65/hour!  And no training other than, "here is how you put on the catsup."

Jun 06, 2012 08:01 PM #8
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Jay they just don't have service like that anymore and then reading your post it brings a smile on my face.  That sir is why people keep coming back to that store.  I want to see the cow shirt.... :~)

Jun 06, 2012 08:15 PM #9
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Thanks for telling us about Mike Lovitt and his store.  It would be wonderful to find these attitudes in the stores we visit.  If Mike were in real estate, he would provide stiff competition.

Jun 06, 2012 08:50 PM #10
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

At first, James, she was going to wear the cow suit, complete with cow head, and stand at the street with a sign inviting people to come into the restaurant.  But Mike determined that it is too hot to wear the suit now.  So she will be a hostess.

If these attitudes were applied across the board, Roy, imagine what business would be doing in this country!

Jun 06, 2012 08:53 PM #11
Dorie Dillard
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good morning Jay,

Roy re-blogged this post and I lad to come over to comment! This is a suggested post for sure! Mike Lovitt deserves a round of applause. Not only is he providing a "wow" experience for his customers what he is teaching his staff is invaluable training for life! Your daughter's experience is like non-other for her age. I can't help but agree if these attitudes were applied across the board, imagine what business would be doing in this country!!

Jun 06, 2012 09:24 PM #12
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Jay,

It's about time somone realized what it takes to start customer service all over again.

I have been really busy and need to find some of that "CUSTOMER SERVICE" around here.

I hope it catches on.

Have a good day at Chick Fil A,

Best, Clint McKie

Jun 06, 2012 09:29 PM #13
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Dorie.  Isn't that a great story?  I am glad my daughter is experiencing this as her first employment opportunity.

Clint - it's the old saying - if you don't take care of your customers, someone else will!

Jun 06, 2012 09:36 PM #14
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Great story. I would almost guarantee that Mr. Lovitt hired your daughter because she came back several times to apply for a job. Wouldn't you do the same? I would. This establishment sounds like it will be a great experience for your daughter. 

Jun 06, 2012 10:06 PM #15
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I agree Jim, isn't this a cool story?  I hope something like this happens to my pen pal in about 5 years.

I asked Mike if he is retired military and he said yes.  Judging from his demeanor I would guess colonel or higher.

Jun 06, 2012 10:17 PM #16
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Jay, this proves that there is still hope for America. Personally I love eating at Chic for many of these reasons.

Jun 07, 2012 03:13 AM #17
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I had not been there before all this took place Mike.  And now I'm impressed.

Jun 07, 2012 03:16 AM #18
Mike Cooper
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro

That's great service,  Jay.  My youngest son's girlfriend just started working at one of our local Chic F.  She loves it.  Adam Smith's book is a great read.  Not a good beach book though.  8-)

Jun 07, 2012 12:11 PM #19
Yolanda Hoversten
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties - O'Fallon, IL
Broker - O Fallon, IL Real Estate

What a great story and lesson for your daughter. Mike Lovitt gets it. Do you think the Occupiers can learn from him and this story? Of course, but do they want to?

Jun 07, 2012 02:26 PM #20
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That's a pretty long book Mike, with small lettering!  There are about five general themes in the book that are useful.  I mentioned one of them in the post.

Yolanda - I bet they would not learn a thing reading this post, and would not consider applying for a job there.  They do not recognize this as a concept important to life.  Hopefully mommie will buy them that new video game though!

Jun 07, 2012 08:04 PM #21
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Shore Properties - Barnegat, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

This is THE definition of customer service AND leadership....very good blog.  And you're right about the MBA (and a lot of other) grads that have unreasonably high expectations without any real work experience.  Bravo.

Jun 08, 2012 01:59 AM #22
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I thought this one would turn you on Karl.  I have to say, I was really impressed.  And my daughter is so excited she is splitting.  And, by the way, she's a millionaire!  I'm glad she is having this experience.

Jun 08, 2012 07:26 AM #23
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