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Leadership lessons from the man who provides our town with Chicken Biscuits!

September 6, 2013

If you’re like me, you love learning from other leaders. Today I want you to meet my friend and one of Chick-fil-A’s newest Owner/Operater’s, Robert Shaffer.

Shaffer Family

You and your wife Mandy recently moved to Ventura to open up Ventura’s very first Chick-fil-A. Welcome to Ventura! So far, what do you guys love most about our beautiful city?

We of course love the awesome weather, mountains, and the beach. What we love most though are the people in Ventura. We have been welcomed into this community not only on a business level with the new Chick-fil-A restaurant but also on a personal level through the relationships we have started.

I’m a raving fan of Chick-fil-A. Then I remind myself that it’s just a fast-food restaurant that serves chicken. Yet, many of us passionately want to “save the cows”. What’s Chick-fil-A’s secret in creating this vocal and loyal customer base?

The founder of Chick-fil-A, Truett Cathy, has built the Chick-fil-A brand by striving to treat each guest who comes in contact with Chick-fil-A with honor, dignity, and respect. When our guests are treated well and feel cared for, it’s natural for them to want to tell others. Our goal is to make our customer feel cared for by creating ‘REMARK’able experience!

Chick-fil-A has a reputation for exceptional customer service. Recently you, your wife Mandy, Ginger & I were having dinner together and you mentioned Chick-fil-A’s “second mile” customer service philosophy. What’s that all about?

I like to think of the story in the book of Matthew where Jesus encourages his fellow Jews to serve the Roman soldiers. By law the Jews were required, if asked, to carry the Roman soldiers pack one mile. Jesus said if anyone forces you to go one mile, go the second mile. There was a lot of tension between the Jews and the Romans. Jesus taught to serve sacrificially from the heart. If you do, you demonstrate care for others.

I feel I can apply this principle to my business. We encourage our team to provide “Second Mile Service” to all of our guests. When you go to a fast food you expect a certain type of experience, we want to go above and beyond that experience to ensure our community feels cared for.

You’ve worked hard (including working at Chick-fil-A’s in 11 different states) to become an Owner/Operator. You’re a gifted leader and a growing leader. What’s a leadership principle or quote that’s meaningful to you?

I feel as a leader, the team I am leading needs to know how much I care. I’ve heard it say, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” As the Owner/Operator, I strive to help my team members be more successful on the job as well as be a resource to help them get more out of life.

There is a growing buzz about Chick-fil-A. As you and your marketing team got the word out, what has been the most effective marketing tool?

During our Grand Opening and again in September, each Ventura home will receive 3 offers in the mail for free Chick-fil-A food! We have also distributed 1,000’s of whole product samples to people who work and/or live in Ventura over the last few months. It’s hard to turn away free food!

Our goal when they visit us is they experience great tasting food and our genuine hospitality and choose to visit us again.

Part of your mission is to create “remarkable experiences” at Ventura’s Chick-fil-A. What do you mean by that?

We try to be ‘REMARK’able by quickly serving great tasting food in a clean restaurant with our great team members who really care. We want our guests to ‘remark’ to others about their experience whether about our food, our people, our cows or how we enriched their lives beyond the transaction.

Robert’s bio: I received my business degree from Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Attending MBBC allowed me to strengthen my Christian faith while perusing my business degree. While in college, I had a strong desire to serve the Lord by positively influencing others. However, I still had a passion for business. Partnering with Chick-fil-A as a small business owner gave me the opportunity to use my passion for business as a platform to positively influence others.

Four years after graduation, I had accomplished my goal. I was selected as the Owner/Operator of the Chick-fil-A franchise in Ventura. I am thankful and humbled to partner with a company like Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family that operates its business based on biblical principles.


From → Leadership

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