I was in San Diego on business last week and was told by colleagues that I must eat at In-N-Out Burger. As someone who grew up on fast food, I was surprised. Why travel 2,500 miles to get a fast food burger? If In-N-Out is so remarkable, why don’t they have restaurants on the east coast as well?
The answer, I learned, lies in focus. In-N-Out focuses on doing burgers, shakes and fries really well. The entire experience is designed to get you “in and out” without any hassle or buyer’s remorse. Servers meet you at the drive-thru to take your order. All ingredients are fresh. There are no microwaves or freezers. Shakes are made from real ice cream. Wait time is minimal. The company has stores in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Texas but is privately owned with no franchise units. This commitment to company-ownership and regional focus limits growth but helps maintain quality control and service responsiveness.
At a time when product and service complexity are the new normal, it’s good to remember the merits of focus. Do a few things well. Maintain quality control over your supply chain and customer service. Keep the experience simple and stress-free. These lessons are as relevant to healthcare and financial services companies as they are to fast food restaurants.
Which companies do you admire for their focus in the B2B sector?