Never Cut Corners…Here is the Best Way!

By Mark Bowser

Have you ever wondered why Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers make their burgers square instead of the standard round? Well, I have heard more than one explanation on this subject.  One explanation is that the kind of hamburgers founder Dave Thomas liked from his childhood were square hamburgers he found at the old Kewpee Hamburgers restaurant in his hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The other explanation I have heard for their square hamburgers is the philosophy Dave Thomas had towards quality.  The hamburgers are square because Wendy’s doesn’t “cut corners.” This is the concept I believe we should focus on for our purposes.  How can we make sure that we are not cutting corners in our places of business?

It is no secret that I am a big fan of the Disney company.  Walt Disney in particular.  Walt was a man ahead of his time.  In his book, Dream It! Do It!, longtime Disney executive Marty Sklar shared a time when Walt had to emphasize the importance of not cutting corners.

As the story goes, Marc Davis, who was one of the Disney greats in character development since the 1930s, had a scheduled meeting with Walt to discuss the storyboard for a particular park show.  This was in the early 1960s and Marc had moved by this point to the Imagineering team.

Marc made his presentation to the boss and Walt didn’t say a word.  Walt appeared to be in deep thought as he looked over the storyboard Marc had presented.  Feeling uncomfortable with the unbearable silence, Marc unwisely opened his mouth and said, “Walt, I’ve got another idea for this, and it’s a lot cheaper.”

Walt didn’t hesitate to respond now.  He said, “Marc, I have a whole floor of finance people and accountants upstairs who are going to tell me what the cheapest way to do something is.  What I pay you for is to tell me the best way!”

So, what is the “best way” for your customers?  What are they experiencing as they walk in your door?  What are your customers saying to their family and friends about you?  Are you cutting corners or are you doing it the Walt way?

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