Some Foodie Friday mornings, I go out for breakfast to a local joint that’s well-known for hot dogs. Hot dog joints are a thing here in North Carolina. Fortunately, not being of the hot dog as breakfast persuasion, they also serve great eggs. Try the fried baloney too. It’s a thick slice tossed into a deep fryer until the outside is nicely charred. It’s enough sodium to raise your pressure 50 points and enough flavor to make you happy for the rest of the day.
One thing I noticed on several occasions was a number of folks eating cheeseburgers for breakfast. Yes, they had fries too and it was well before Noon. Before 10, in fact. Was this a southern thing as well? Why did I find it so strange? The more I thought about it the more I realized that there was nothing odd about it at all and, in fact, it was a good business reminder too.
Think about it. First of all, not everyone’s day runs from 7am – 11pm. Some folks, particularly in farm country where I live, begin before dawn and stop work long before dusk. 9:30am is lunchtime! It’s a reminder that whether they’re farmers or shift workers who got off work at 8, we can’t impose our worldview on everyone. As business folks, we need to be open to their situation and not how we want the world to be.
I was having scrambled eggs with cheese and a side of baloney. Grits, no toast. Broken down, that’s cheese covered protein with a fried slab of meat and some cooked grain on the side. A little hot sauce and that’s breakfast. But if the fried slab of meat is ground beef and the cheese covers that protein, we’re on the same page. The grain here is bread, not grits and the sauce is ketchup, not hot sauce. Potatoes can be french fries or home fries – does it really matter? The basic formula of protein and dairy, starches and grains is the same. We can’t get so hung up on how the “formula” manifests itself. We can’t insist that it’s my way or the highway.
I’m not going to start eating cheeseburgers for breakfast any time soon. I am, however, not going to look askance at those who do. As it turns out, both in the business world and the world at large, a little understanding and an openness to finding common ground goes a lot farther than trying to turn everyone to your point of view, don’t you think?
Another Foodie Friday in the midst of the pandemic. For me, it’s impossible to think about food on Friday without thinking of some of my friends in the food business who have been adversely impacted over the last six months. Heck, for my friend Craig who runs our favorite watering hole, the loss of our weekly bar bill alone is significant!
Here in North Carolina, restaurants, foodservice, and lodging is a $23.5 billion industry. More than 482,300 people are employed in the foodservice industry in the state – about 11 percent of the state’s workforce. When the governor shut bars and restaurants down, the impact was felt by those of us who couldn’t drink or dine out but that was nothing like how it hit those who provided that food and drink. I’m sure the situation is comparable to where you live.
Restaurants are back open here, albeit with reduced capacity. Bars are too although many of them are only serving outside. It’s better for the proprietors and staff but some of the jobs haven’t come back and many restaurants have closed up for good.
You wouldn’t think this would be a great time to look at opening a food business, would you? Well, you’d be wrong. As reported by QSR:
Quick-service chains had recovered to just a 13 percent decline year-over-year. Certain counter-service franchises have recently even reported positive year-over-year sales during the pandemic. After experiencing an initial hit on sales, A&W Restaurants announced sales were up by double digits, Papa Johns has noted a 24 percent increase in North American sales and Popeyes has boasted that sales are up by the “very high 20s” percent.
In other words, even in one of the worst-hit industries in the midst of a horrible economic time, there are opportunities. Would I invest in a full-service sit-down restaurant? Of course not. But if the business was predicated on carryout and was part of a franchise system, I very much might. I say that because franchise organizations have the infrastructure in place to help the system survive. A good franchisor can develop and implement systems – online ordering, contactless delivery, etc. – that give franchisees the ability to cope with the challenges. As an individual restaurant or any business, that’s more difficult and often requires capital that the individual unit might not have.
It’s something to think about even if you have no interest in owning a food business. Many other business sectors such as hair and nail salons, gyms, travel businesses, after-school programs have been hit hard over the last six months and yet I’m aware of dozens of franchise brands in these sectors that have modified how they do business. Their franchisees are doing well despite the pandemic. Going it alone is hard even in good times. Working as part of a proven system is especially valuable in bad times.
The ability to adapt is key for any business and never more so than now, don’t you think? Even in a crisis, there is an opportunity! And if you’re interested in learning more about franchise opportunities, you can reach me here.
Filed under food, Franchises
This Foodie Friday, let us contemplate the differences between mayonnaise and aioli. I’d argue for most people, there isn’t a difference. I mean, they’re both creamy condiments, right? It seems that any flavored mayo is presented as aioli and true aioli has morphed into something more like mayo with the addition of egg yolks or lemon juice.
There is a difference, of course. Mayo is an emulsification of egg yolks and a neutral oil such as canola while aioli is emulsified garlic and olive oil. Mayo is usually spread on sandwiches or mixed in with potato or macaroni salad while aioli is a traditional dip for veggies or a sauce for shellfish.
So is olive oil-based mayo an aioli? No, because there is no garlic. Is Garlic-flavored mayo aioli? No, because there’s no olive oil. And of course, simply adding egg yolks to aioli doesn’t make it mayo.
All of that said, to the public at large (you know, your customers!), labeling something as mayo or aioli is a distinction without a difference. Maybe aioli sounds fancier but does the average person realize the difference? The terms have become interchangeable, and it raises a business point for any of us.
What we call things – products or services – does matter. Think about pre-owned vs. used, whether it’s a car or golf clubs. “Used” sounds like they’re dirty while pre-owned sounds like someone’s broken it in for you. I mean, aren’t your jeans better after you’ve worn them a few times? A pre-owned car has had the bugs worked out and fixed while a used car probably came in on a hook.
Calling a sales rep a client happiness manager doesn’t change their job but it might just change their mindset. It puts the emphasis on the correct party. These are distinctions without differences too, except even though they define the same concept, they are perceived very differently. That’s something you need to consider as you sit down and put the aioli or mayo on your burger!
Filed under Consulting, food