Check out this clip from A Spotlight on Leaders: Re-Thinking the Retail Food Industry, where Connecticut’s Haven Hot Chicken co-founder Etkin Tekin underscores the importance of thoroughly understanding your customer before formally launching a business.
A tight focus on a brand’s value elements is a proven way to identify the purpose, structured foundation, and frontline workflow, helping new businesses succeed. Etkin explains how being both prepared and proactive with the brand — determining the value the brand will deliver to customers — is integral to the problem-solving process moving forward. He describes how Haven Hot Chicken honed its brand promise through pop-up restaurant experimentation, defining guest value — which he credits for keeping the upstart restaurant both open and thriving during the pandemic. The New Haven restaurant founders see Nashville hot chicken as a shared, collective experience, where testing your spice limits is as much a part of the customer journey as the taste of the sandwich is itself.
Find a a lightly edited transcript below:
“So, this was, again, a critical component of our journey. I mentioned it earlier, but as you go through the process, you’ll realize that once you have a foundational set of values to align with across a team, it makes problem-solving that much easier. Everyone on the call that has started a business is very well familiar that it’s not just a point A-to-point B process. There are zigs and zags, and problems come up, and new business challenges arise. How do you want to grow? What do you want to change? How are we iterating? All of these things have discussion points to be made and conclusions, and then actions to set forward. For each of these components, being aligned on what the brand is supposed to be allowed us to point to these things and look backward on the experience that we had developing them in order to solve problems moving forward.”
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