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Since opening his first Skinny J’s restaurant in Jonesboro 13 years ago, restaurateur James Best has added four more restaurants in four Arkansas cities.
Although Best’s background is in the restaurant business, he has found a recipe for success that can be replicated regardless of the industry.
With growth came hard-earned lessons, positioning Best to better manage his business and giving him plenty of wisdom to share with other entrepreneurs.
“People don’t realize how much work it takes to own a small business,” Best said. “It’s good to learn from your mistakes and what others have done before you.”
less is more
According to the Global Brand Simplicity Index study, 61% of customers will recommend a brand because of its simplicity, and 62% of employees are brand champions for companies that focus on simplicity and efficiency, compared to 20% of those who work for more complex companies. operations.
Best was reminded that less is more by cutting over 100 items from Skinny J’s menu. A simpler menu reduced the time needed to train employees, relieved pressure on kitchen staff and made decisions easier for diners.
Ask what you are worth
As Inc.com columnist Jason Aten writes, “It’s not your job to save your customers money.”
In other words: don’t be afraid to ask what you’re worth. Whether you sell steaks or software, if you offer quality options to your customer base, they will be willing to pay a premium.
When supply chain issues caused beef prices to spike, Skinny J’s raised the price of steak by almost 55%. Despite rising prices, Skinny J’s had its best year by focusing on experience and quality.
“Our customers will pay for quality because we make sure it’s worth it to them,” Best said.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well, isn’t it?
Consider the approach Best took to opening Eleanor’s Pizzeria in 2017. Prior to the opening, Best spent a year in the kitchen, honing his craft. He didn’t want to serve a single slice to the public until he had perfected the recipe.
“It was me, an empty building and a pizza oven until I got it right,” Best said. “It’s better to wait for a product to be good than to rush it.”
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as other restaurants shifted to curbside pickup, Skinny J’s opted to remain closed.
It was a difficult decision, but doable thanks to the pandemic relief programs suggested by Best’s banker. They called him with solutions before he knew what his next steps might be.
“A good banking partner will help you meet a challenge,” Best said. “It’s important to have someone who will look for solutions before you even know you need them.”