As I write this, I’m sitting in a Panera Bread in Flemington, NJ. I happen to like Panera’s. I like it a lot, not just for the terrific food and wonderful service but for the way they conduct their business.
We can all learn from them and many of their competitors in the food industry would benefit from following some of their practices.
I especially like their fresh salads and choice of natural chicken and other ingredients. Personally, I’d just as soon skip the antibiotic laden chickens sold by most other food purveyors. If I want more antibiotics, I’ll take them myself.
Panera is proving that it’s not only possible but profitable to serve higher quality and support local food vendors when possible.
I like that their employees, for the most part, are pleasant, upbeat people with a good attitude. As my long-time friend, Jeff Keller wrote in his book, “Attitude is Everything.”
To their credit, Panera employees deliver left over food to local food pantry’s on their own time. It’s a great example of the power of each of us doing a little something. The net result is huge.
And I also like that they collect donations for local food pantry’s and support other organizations who feed the hungry and partner with local non-profits to help them raise money.
The rapid growth and success of Panera Bread is proof that it is possible, even in today’s business climate, to run an ethical business, help your community, and still earn a healthy profit. Their demonstrating that treating people with respect, both customers and employees, adds to rather than detracts from the bottom line.
And they’re proving that by doing the right thing, the right things happens.
What about you?
Are you treating your employees as well as you can? It isn’t always about money. As a matter of fact, virtually every workplace study that’s been done in the past several decades has concluded that people are motivated more by recognition than financial rewards.
Have you instilled in your people the value of a positive attitude?
Many successful companies credit their success to the fact that they encourage their people to read motivational books and listen to audio’s as a way to maintain their upbeat attitude. Also many large corporations have instituted Book of the Month clubs and provide paperback books to their employees to make it easy for them to have access to empowering ideas and information.
Are your products and services the best quality you can provide to your customers?
Often, including a simple, inexpensive add-on to a product or service can result in a more solid relationship with your customer, resulting, over time, in more business for you. A small improvement in the quality of your offerings may result in increased sales. All else being equal, people prefer quality.
What are you doing for your community?
Several authors, myself included, have joined forces with local non-profit organizations in order to attract more people to their events. The result was more books sold, with a portion of that going to the non-profit partner. A win-win-win.
Authors, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen did this with their book Chicken Soup for the Kids Soul when it was released and raised over a quarter of a million dollars for children’s charities through a massive one day event.
These are a prime examples of the power of partnering for everyone involved. Have you explored ways you can partner with non-profits in your community in a way that serves everyone’s needs?
Are you involved in community efforts to help those less fortunate and raise the quality of life for everyone? Is there someway your “left overs” and discards could be reused to help someone in need?
Building and maintaining a successful business begins with following the Golden Rule: “Treat people the way you’d like to be treated.” I think that’s simple enough for any of us to follow.
As more and more companies follow the principles espoused by Panera and others like them, we will begin to see a shift that will, in time, restore America the the stature we once held.
Tags:doing the right thing,ethical business,financial rewards,food purveyors,Jack Canfield,Jeff Keller,local food pantry,Mark Victor Hansen,motivation,motivational,panera,workplace study