Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lessons from Toyota

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I’ve been enjoying the late night jokes about Toyota and adding in my own on social media. With my experience in branding and working for one of the best known brands worldwide, I know the importance of branding, marketing, and PR. Toyota did damage to their brand and created a PR nightmare. From what I know about their situation, rather than fixing the problem right away, they waited. Not sure what they were waiting for, but they waited. If the reports are true, they waited many years and saved millions of dollars at the time. My guess is that they thought it would go away. I am glad that they took the blame for the safety issues, but it seems that the “fix” they have may not be the answer.

I’ve seen this many times in the restaurant industry. For example, many people who like to cook think they can set-up or run a restaurant kitchen. They prepare food a certain way and since they haven’t gotten sick, then it’s OK. The health department gives the restaurant a list of items to fix to bring them up to code. Many do nothing with the health department’s list, either they don’t know what to do or not important to take care of right away. Many are small fixable things, but yes some are expensive fixes or changes.

I remember a juice place that was shut down by the health department. I walked up to read the sign on the door, they were closed due to lack of permits. My guess is since it was a small store and they weren’t cooking anything, they didn’t need any permits. I give them the credit to buy two blenders and open up a place, but following health department procedures is important for public safety. Also, didn’t see a food handler’s certificate on the wall.

Not many restaurant owners/managers understand the importance of marketing, branding, and PR. This is the factor that can make or break the restaurant. It’s food, service, value, atmosphere and it’s all a perception coming from the branding, marketing, or PR.

Thank you for stopping by, I’d love to hear your comments.

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