A Tale of Two Restaurants…and You

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Today we’re going to talk about two fast-food restaurant chains. They both serve similar products, but one makes way more money than the other. Let’s see if you can guess which one is the big winner:

Restaurant Chain #1:

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  • Virtually synonymous with its product
  • Thousands and thousands of locations throughout the entire country
  • Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year

Restaurant Chain #2:[unordered_list style=”red-x”]

  • Virtually unknown in half the country
  • Fewer than half the number of restaurants as Restaurant Chain #1
  • Every location closed nearly 15% of the year


Kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it? Obviously, the chain bringing in the most money—to the tune of nearly a billion dollars more than its rival—is…Restaurant Chain #2.

YOU: “Huh? That doesn’t seem right. And you say it’s obvious?”

Well, yeah. It’s obviously going to be the counterintuitive one. Otherwise, why would I have set it up like this? You must get fooled at movies a lot.

Motivational Speaker Bill StaintonSo, if you haven’t guessed by now, Restaurant Chain #1 is KFC, and Restaurant Chain #2 is Chick-fil-A. They both sell chicken. Lots and lots of chicken. And despite all of KFC’s advantages (like, for example, the fact that every Chick-fil-A is closed every Sunday), last year Chick-fil-A outsold KFC by nearly a billion bucks, according to a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek.

There are a number of explanations for this: higher per-store traffic, higher average check amount, big breakfast business. Plus, they make a really, really good chicken sandwich! But I don’t really want to talk about why Chick-fil-A is so much more successful than its competitor.

Motivational Speaker Bill Stainton
I want to talk about you and your business.

See, Chick-fil-A could easily have used its disadvantages as excuses, and maintained a respectable #2 position in the fast-food chicken business. But they didn’t, and today they’re the leaders.

Your Competition Loves Your Excuses

So what about you? What disadvantages are you using as excuses?

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  • “My competition is bigger than me, and has more locations.” So does Chick-fil-A’s.
  • “My competition has more name recognition than I do.” So does Chick-fil-A’s.
  • “My competition is personified by an avuncular guy in a white suit and a goatee.” So is Chick-fil-A’s. [Note: this last one may not apply to your specific situation.]

Look, the point is this: you can make excuses, or you can make money.

Is it easy? Probably not.
Is it quick? Probably not.
Is it a barrel of fun? Probably not all the time.

But it is possible.

How do I—and more important, how do you—know it’s possible? Because Chick-fil-A did it.

Here’s the bottom line. You don’t lead by comparing yourself to the competition. You lead by taking care of business. Your business.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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