Monday, April 04, 2011

Need to Diversify: Don't Sell The Fried Chicken

Years ago Hardee's Restaurants came up with a great idea, or so the company thought. The idea was to sell Fried Chicken. After all, customers loved their burgers and fries, why not create fried chicken that was just as delicious. The company was searching for a way to pull in even more customers, diversify the company offerings and provide a need in the marketplace.
And did they ever. I'm not sure if you ever sampled it, but the fried chicken was awesome. There was only one small problem. In order to make the chicken so good, it took some time. In fact, Hardee's often ran out of chicken, making customers wait more than 20 minutes for the next batch. Customers, while they liked the chicken, weren't used to spending 20 minutes at a fast-food restaurant. Do you know what happened? Customers stopped coming.
In its efforts to diversify and meet a need in the marketplace, the company actually drove its customers away.
I see this happening all the time in business. Companies want to diversify their businesses, but they completely forget about their own strengths. Many entrepreneurs ask the questions, "What is not being offered today? How can we make money the quickest?" They should be asking: "What is our strength? What are we really good at?"
You don't want to end up selling fried chicken.
Hardee's learned from its mistake. It stopped selling fried chicken and began focusing on its strength: big burgers.
--Ron Ameln, SBM