Hayden's Grill & BarSource: CFI Group
Brent Skaggs had a problem. The president and CEO of regional restaurant chain, Hayden's Grill & Bar, had just heard a customer complaint about one of his locations—bad enough but complicated by the fact that he'd gotten it from the manager of another restaurant in his chain. His first impulse: DO something. But what? Was the report accurate and unbiased? If so, was the problem a one-time event or systemic, limited to one location or all of them?
Skaggs realized that relying on anecdotal information was no way to run his business. Every day he made countless decisions, big and small, that affected his restaurants' operations, daily revenues, and future viability. He couldn't be everywhere at once. Much of what he "knew" was second-hand, hard to verify, and, because it was qualitative, even harder to use for comparisons. More worrisome, the people he heard from were invariably employees. The customer's voice—the one that matters most—rarely reached him.
When he thought about it, the lack of high-quality data hampered him in other ways as well. He wanted to grow the business by franchising it. Potential franchisees would want a clear and persuasive picture of its value. Could he give them one? Take his casual, upscale dining concept. From the start, he expected it to appeal to women. But he had nothing to back it up. In fact, he didn't really know who his guests were. How many were women? How many were men? What were their income levels? What did they like about Hayden's or dislike? If he wanted to manage his business, much less make it grow, he needed data that was continuous, reliable, and meaningful—information he could really use.