In-N-Out Burger Beats Google (and nearly everyone else)

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The apotheosis of burger meals.  The double double with fries and a medium drink.  Costs you about seven bucks.  Simple ingredients, simple philosophy: Great food + great people = Great results (total sales in 2016 estimated between 640mm and 700mm).  This year In-n-Out Burger was rated the 4th best place to work in 2018.  Only Facebook, Bain & Co., and Boston Consulting were higher on the list.  It beat Google (who has a regular series of happiness meditations, free food, and insane salaries).  It beat all the heavy-hitters.  The closest fast food competitor on the list is Chick-fil-A which landed at #72.  Here’s the complete list of results:

https://www.glassdoor.com/Award/Best-Places-to-Work-LST_KQ0,19.htm

In-n-Out practices Richard Branson’s philosophy: “Clients do not come first.  Employees come first.  If you take care of your employees they will take care of your clients.”  Here’s how In-n-Out takes care of its employees (and what the service industry can learn):

  1.  Progress.  Build a workforce of managers.  The right type of employees won’t chop onions forever.  In-n-Out looks for and hires people who want to improve personally and professionally.  That means that they’ve had to create and design career paths for their employees.  80% of their managers began at the bottom of their ladder.  Moreover, people are less likely to leave a company if they know there is a path–advancement.  The opportunity to advance is a form of hope.  Hope is fuel.
  2. Compensation.  From the very beginning In-n-Out has always prided itself on taking care of its employees in terms of above-average compensation and job security. In an industry in which a significant number of employees live at the poverty line In-n-Out understands a simple fact: Well compensated employees can pay their bills, save a little, are happier and loyal.  Moreover, progress and compensation are joined at the hip.  In-n-Out managers are reported to earn six figure incomes.
  3. Flexible Scheduling and Benefits.  From day care to co-parenting plans to second jobs, In-n-Out is known as a company that works with employees to find  schedule that accommodates their other demands.  According to Glassdoor this is one of the most appreciated benefits.  They also offer a 401K, profit sharing, paid vacations and free meals.
  4. Organizational Expectations.  In-n-Out clearly defines their dress codes, customer service expectations, food handling, and the enthusiastic customer-centric attitude that has kept the company profitably expanding for over 50 years.  Do them expertly and a person can have a rewarding career with In-n-Out for a very long time.  A set of standards that are relative leaves a company’s brand open for interpretation (and aren’t really standards at all).

You may be reading this and thinking “My company does ALL of those things!”  It’s true that the service industry can offer a nice career to a person.  This is something that we keep a very well hidden secret.  We talk about a shortage of great employees but don’t hold ourselves accountable enough.  In order to make the trades attractive and deliver world-class service we have to start asking ourselves:  Am I hiring people that want a career or am I hiring people who need a job?  Am I building a workforce of managers?  Do my employees understand the performance expectations required to advance?  Am I profitable enough to pay above average wages?  Are there non-traditional benefits that I should be considering?  Are my customer service standards set clearly communicated, modeled, and reinforced or do I tolerate certain deviances?  Does my team know the purpose of my business (the real one, the deep one, the one that isn’t cliched)?

In-n-Out is the 4th best place to work in The United States.  It’s a family company that understands a simple truth: The quality of your Customer service is a reflection of how your employees feel about working for you.  That’s In-n-Out Burger’s secret sauce.

 

Podcast #8: Pat Minegar, The Obi Wan Kenobi of the HVAC industry.

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Pat Minegar is the owner of A-1 Heating in Boise, Idaho.  Pat is a thoughtful and wise business owner.  In this podcast Pat shares his experience developing high-performing teams, leadership, and mentoring sales managers.  It’s a great interview and I hope you enjoy it!

Episode 7: Patrick Somers on Discipline, Professionalism, Leadership

Patrick Somers is the General Manager with The General Air Conditioning & Plumbing in Palm Desert, CA.  He and his team exemplify professionalism.  Moreover, Patrick and his team are always looking farther down the road for the next competitive advantage.  It’s a terrific podcast and I hope you enjoy it.  Lot’s to learn.  Thanks Patrick!

 

Episode 4 -Ryan Swafford

This was a terrific episode to record with my friend Ryan Swafford.  Not only is he a super cool guy but he’s a very sharp sales professional.  In this episode Ryan talks about shifting careers, fitness, Tai Bo, and finding a selling perspective that works.  Thanks for listening!  Episodes are also on iTunes.

 

Podcast #3: Rich Johnson

Episode 3 – Rich Johnson

Hey there listeners and thanks for tuning in!  In this podcast I interviewed Rich Johnson, sales manager for Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning.  It’s a fun interview and Rich shares his perspective on managing a team, learning to balance multiple demands, and handling price-driven competitors.  Lot’s to learn and I hope you enjoy it.  Matt

Podcast #1: Kyle Cline

Welcome to The Thank You Note podcast!  For the very first episode of the podcast I interviewed my friend Kyle Cline.  Kyle is a Director for Locke Supply and is part of of the service industry’s future.  He’s innovative, disciplined, and brings a unique perspective to the trades.  Plus, he’s a super good dude.  Hope you enjoy it and thanks for listening!