An Evening with Dan Cathy

Dan Cathy

My college days that seem so long ago.  Back then, I had a professor of mine that I admired greatly tell the class that he was teaching that we should always take advantage of the opportunities to hear influential people speak, even if you disagree with them.  His reference at that time was when H. Ross Perot came to speak at campus.

Ever since then, I have actively tried to do what was recommended to me so many years ago.  I have seen a number of political figures (all levels of government, including presidential candidates), leaders of businesses, sporting figures, and television journalist.  Last night, I had the opportunity to listen to Dan Cathy, COO of the hugely popular burger-alternative fast food restaurant Chick-fil-a.  He also is the son of the founder Truett Cathy, the chain’s founder.

Chick-fil-aAlthough his conversation all revolved around the basis of the start and growth of Chick-fil-a, one of the things that hit me the most was how Chik-fil-a actively develops programs to go “the second mile”.  Dan provided example after example of going the second mile for customers at a $6/plate restaurant that may only be expected at $30/plate restaurants.  One of the most memorable examples he mentioned, and illustrated, was helping a women and kids out of her car while it was raining, accompaned with an oversized Chick-fil-a umbrella with the ever-present cow on it.  How many other fast food restaurants do you know that do that?

Dan then circled around to how do you go the extra mile in your business with your customers.  Dan brought up the “hedgehog” concept that Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t. As Collins explains, “A Hedgehog Concept is not a goal to be the best, a strategy to be the best, an intention to be the best, a plan to be the best. It is an understanding of what you can be the best at. The distinction is absolutely crucial.”

Have you thought about how you can make your business go the extra mile?  Let me hear your thoughts.

–J. Nolfo helps companies understand their market and customers though a variety of market research strategies. He has over ten years of experience of market research for strategic planning purposes. He is the Director of Research at Rhino Market Research. He shares his thoughts about market research and business concepts with his blog “Pensare…Understanding Market Research in Business“. If you would like to discuss this blog or how J. can help you understand your market and customer needs, email him at

About J. Nolfo
Well...there is a lot to know. #Cx, #Analytics, #SM, Specialty #AgChem, #StL sports, & more. FT @BASFAgProducts. @Mizzou Alum. Supporter of the #Rhino. Tweets my own. #SMMW17 attendee....Dad...Hiker...Scouter...and so much more.

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