Today we had a guest speaker come to our staff meeting at Gateway, K & N Management from here in Austin. K & N management own all the Rudy’s BBQ joints in town as well as Mighty Fine Burger’s, two HIGHLY successful restaurants (8 in all) here in the Austin area. Actually, one of the Rudy’s they own does more in sales per square foot than any other restaurant in TX. Today they came to talk to our staff about the people business. Although they sell burgers and BBQ, they recognize that it’s just as important to be in the people business.

They shared with us what they learned from the Pike Fish Market in Seattle over 10 years ago. Pike’s Fish Market is a business anomaly. Just google them and look up youtube videos and you’ll see why. The people at Pike’s came up with something they call the FISH Philosophy and books and corporate training materials have been developed around this which has helped all kinds of companies around the world… including the local Rudy’s and Mighty Fines.

Here are the principles:

  • Play – Have fun. Laugh. Let your work, your interaction with customers and fellow employees be filled with joy. You may not work in an industry where you toss fish all day, but somewhere and somehow, play can transfer. When you do, it attracts a crowd and people feel good when they’re around, either as clients or as employees.
  • Be There – Be in the moment. Pay attention to your customer and be fully present. Sure you’re busy, but take a moment to look your client in the eye and connect. Know their mood and stature and approach them in a way that serves them. It may be to crack some jokes and make them smile, or it may be to be respectful and serve them where they are at.
  • Make Their Day – Look for opportunities to go out of your way to absolutely make someone’s day. Do something unexpected. Go the extra mile. Shock them with EXCELLENT service. Figure out how you can do this over and over with as many clients as possible and you’ll create loyal customers.
  • Choose Your Attitude – When you step into your arena of work (or ministry) make the choice to be happy, positive and glad to be there. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can choose your attitude. This is infectious, especially when the attitude is bad. This is probably the most important of all the principles.

The folks at K & N talk about how they train all their employees in these principles, they hire employees based on who can fit in an organization that lives these principles out. They talk about these principles every day in pre-shift meetings and they event have a FISH board in the back where employees and managers post notes where they’ve seen others live these things out. As a customer of both Mighty Fine and Rudy’s, I see this in action… and I love both of these resturants.

This was a great talk to hear. You know, I desire to be a part of a staff that lives out these kinds of values and I desire to lead a staff that champions values like these.

Below is a quick promo video of the FISH philosophy. You can also pick up the book here.