This week, I am exploring the elements of a business worth going out of your way for — or, as I like to call it, #detour-worthy. I’m using Joe’s Pizza in New York City as a case study. Despite the abundance of pizza-by-the-slice places, I will go out of my way to eat at Joe’s.
What makes it worth the detour?
Previously, I wrote about the the experience. When the first visit leaves you wanting more, you’ll return. Once you return, that’s when a business must prove its worth.
Here are 5 more elements of a successful and sustainable business, which I’ve observed at Joe’s Pizza.
If you deliver results consistently, then customers will go out of their way to return to your business.
A slice from Joe’s Pizza always tastes the same, no matter what day you visit or which branch. This is essential. Nobody will go out of their way for pizza that’s hit or miss.
Consistency, of course, is something you prove over time. After one visit, customers don’t know if you’re consistent. This is why the experience — especially at the end — is so crucial. Before you can prove you deliver consistently, you must deliver an experience that makes people want more from you.
When customers remember the end as being great, they will want to return. Then you get a shot at proving consistency.
(2) Commitment to Quality
Consistency doesn’t help if the result and experience you deliver are consistently poor. (Sounds obvious, but sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious.)
What makes Joe’s special is that the quality is always high. There is a commitment to quality ingredients and to producing quality results. Owner Joe Pozzuoli makes the pies as if he is going to eat them himself.
This shows in the high quality ingredients and the attention paid to the process to produce the desired results.
The pizza men in the back are constantly making new pies. This is a high-volume operation. In many pizza places, high volume translates to lower quality, as pies are rushed into the oven. In other pizza shops, the pies sit in the case all day. At Joe’s you know you’re going to get a fresh slice, and that the slice will be high quality. You can taste the difference between a Joe’s slice and a slice from the $1-slice place.
Joe’s is a rare business that manages to pull off the feat of high quality and high quantity. This is difficult in a food business.
(3) Dedication to Craft
In addition to low staff turnover, the “pizza men” at Joe’s are dedicated to their craft. They pursue mastery in their pizza-making skills. This is what they do, and they take pride in their work.
I think of “craft” as something that is born science and art. There’s a defined process or system to it, but also it’s part artistry.
Every business, at its core, revolves around a craft. Whether it’s the craft of writing, relationship-building, negotiation, sales, coaching, persuasion, speaking, or a more traditional craft like design or hands-on making, pursuing mastery in what you do will show in the experience you provide and the results you deliver.
This plays a big role in attracting repeat loyal customers.
(4) Understand the Customer
People don’t always want stuff that’s too rich or heavy. I’ve been making and watching people eat pizza for over 50 years, I know what they want. — Joe Pozzuoli
Essentail for any business is that you understand who your customer is and what your customer wants. Joe’s Pizza has become a tourist destination, especially at its West Village location. It has appeared in movies and on television shows. But while tourists often visit, Joe’s is, first and foremost, a place for locals.
The decor is geared to how locals view the corner pizza joint. It is sparse, with minimal counter space, only a few high-top tables and a handful of bar stools. This is a place for people on the go. Nobody lingers here. (Except for me, at times when I’m studying the operations 😉).
(5) Personal Investment
By personal investment I mean not just financially invested, but also emotionally invested. The business owner cares about delivering a quality experience and result. But not just the owner. The entire team must be personally invested in the outcome.
If the pizza guys aren’t invested the operation fails. That’s why their dedication to their craft is so essential. If the guys working the counter aren’t invested, things fall apart.
Your entire support team must be invested in your mission. It doesn’t work unless they feel ownership of the outcomes.
Check In With Your Business
Consider these elements in your business.
- How many of these elements do you have in your business?
- Where are you weak?
- Where are you strong?
Or do you not even care? (Just wanted to see if you’re reading!)
Please share your thoughts in the comments.