My comments from MDP interview with Sally Smith with B-Wild's
The more I hear from Sally Smith the more I want to be in business with her. Sometimes it's hard to believe Tom's hype about companies, especially after the Select Comfort fiasco, but I think Tom is right on this time. Who knows how much or little America will like BW3 in 5 years - I know I don't - but I do think that Sally will do everything in her power to create an environment that pleases us. Unlike many other CEO's I think she wants to know the bad things and talk about them instead of just spinnning tales of how great they are going to be. She doesn't seem like someone who will stick her head in the sand.
Now to the interview. When asked about her secret to great returns on invested capital, she explained that there wasn't any secret. She just focuses on daily improvements and does her best to manage costs. Nicely put. What else would could we ask of her.
I really like the fact that BW3 doesn't try to do more than run resteraurants. I think companies get in big trouble in their quest to diversify. Sally knows what the company is good at and she focuses on that - with a keen focus on daily improvement nonetheless.
Sally also talks about focusing on markets that can support multiple locations (like 7-10) and franchisee's in the area with the expertise to pull off that many locations. She says that building out markets in this way helps to miximize advertising dollars and help gain better understanding of the market.
She also made a point about how important hiring the right people is. Man, I can't agree more. In my job with the Federal Government, I see so many people who do nothing all day and I think man how productive could we be if 30% of the people didn't have to carry the other 70%. She also points out the BW3 is a fun place to work. Who doesn't want to work somewhere fun. Just this weekend, I was at the Home Depot where two cashiers working sid-by-side were laughing and having fun. This really adds to the customer experience. I understand controlling costs and not having more people at a store than you need but maybe you need extra people who can keep each other motivated during slow times and who can be there for customers without long waits.