Business Owners: Stick with What You Do Best


Business owners can reach higher levels of success by studying what other companies do to succeed. That’s one reason I recently did some research about the family-owned, highly successful restaurant chain, Five Guys. Why use Five Guys as a model?

Family Business magazine calls them one of the restaurant industry’s largest family-owned businesses. Five Guys has 1,000 restaurants and 2012 sales of $1 billion plus. That’s a pretty high level of success.

Make Only Quality Products

An article in Inc. magazine says that Five Guys attributes much of its success to producing a high quality product and only doing what the restaurant does best. The restaurant’s founder, Jerry Murrell says the hamburgers are popular because of the quality control the restaurant chain practices: toasting buns on the grill for a caramelized taste; using 80 percent lean beef; never using frozen meat; and keeping plants squeaky clean. When I read things like this I think about how the lesson applies to other business.

How do you ensure your product is of high quality? Are you doing everything you can to maintain quality? Do you know the elements that make a product high quality in your industry? Are you measuring your company against quality standards and making improvements when needed?

Do Only What You Do Well

Did you know Five Guys once tried to sell coffee? Yes. Customers asked for coffee so Five Guys tried it out. But the restaurant’s young workforce didn’t know coffee and the brew was terrible. That idea died. So did a chicken sandwich Five Guys tried. Experience taught Jerry Murrell and his family to stay with what they excel at—burgers, fries, and hot dogs. Again there’s a great lesson in this for all business owners. We need to stick with products and services that we deliver well.

So in your business, rather than expanding your product line you might do better by finding efficiencies that will allow you to deliver more of the products (or services) you already excel at. What does your business do best? Is what you do best what you focus on?

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