Does your small business have the Randazzo Factor?
by Marilyn Miller
My dad is the son of Italian immigrants. Dad grew up during the Great Depression but never felt poor. He was lucky, as there was always food on the table.
In fact, there was always food of the best quality. Portions were tiny, but the food was always fresh, and it was always the best of the market’s daily offerings.
Today, at 92, my dad still shops daily for the evening meal. Holidays are especially important, and the mother of all Italian-American holidays is Christmas Eve, better known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Yes. Seven. Fishes. Basically Christmas Eve is meant to be a vigil, abstinence from meat or milk. And of course, only an Italian-American could use “feast” and “abstinence” in the same sentence and keep a straight face.
Although there are numerous fish markets close to my dad’s home, he always makes a pre-Christmas pilgrimage to Randazzo’s Seafood on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Each year, even though we arrive before their 8:00 a.m. opening, there is already a line out of the store and down the block.
There are other seafood stores on the same street that have few if any customers. Everyone wants Randazzo, or nothing. The line moves quickly because there are many staff in attendance. It is definitely all-business, but also a party-like atmosphere.
Every customer is greeted, and assisted quickly. Last year, despite being busy, a staff member took the time to entertain my two year old grand-daughter, showing her different fish, and making them talk to her.
I recently learned more about Randazzo. It is a family business founded over 80 years ago. The staff is beyond loyal: the newest member was hired 17 years ago. Some employees have been with the company over 30 years.
So, I wondered, what makes Randazzo so special that people pass other empty stores, and stand in line on a frigid December morning? The Feast of the Seven Fishes is serious, and many trust only Randazzo to supply the main attraction – why?
I figure it is a number of things:
Quality – The product is always the best.
Consistency – They don’t only put on a show for special occasions. It is how they roll, always.
Upkeep – The store is always perfectly clean, and despite having dozens of kinds of fish, there is no overwhelming fish odor.
Attention – No customer is left alone. Everyone is greeted with a smile, and made to feel special.
Knowledge – These people know fish!
Price – Prices are fair, but they are not rock bottom.
Staff – Obviously, the management values their employees, and treats them well.
Does your small business have the Randazzo Factor? What would make a customer forego other, cheaper competitors and choose you? How do you create an environment to convince a client to trust you with their most important project? How do you keep your product or service consistent year after year? Are you in tune with the needs of your employees, and can you inspire them to be a competent and loyal work force?
Food for thought, indeed!
Marilyn “Mara” Miller is committed to small businesses. For over a decade, she has been a strong advocate for her clients. She not only helps customers recover money due to them, but also works to strengthen their credit practices and procedures.
Marilyn is founder of M3 Consultants, which helps small business owners improve their cash flow through better credit practices.