This is a success story based on my business advice. My advice is unusual and so this story is worth telling.
Sometime in late 1974 about five or six months after I started the Briarpatch Network of small hippie business, I was having lunch with my kids at our favorite Taqueria on Mission Street in San Francisco. Since it had opened a year earlier it had become our favorite for many reasons including the tongue burrito for me and the wonderful fresh fruit drinks for my kids.
This particular day the owner came over to talk to me. Miguel Jara had heard about the Briarpatch. He wanted some advice.
Two stores were opening on his block within 100 feet of him and offering a similar menu.
From the day he opened Miguel's store had a line outside. It still does.
I left my kids and my burrito and went to look at the new stores. I came back and explained to Miguel that the two new restaurants would improve his business, if that was possible. They would take the overflow of his lines… but then the people they took would be very dissatisfied. It would make Miguel’s lines look less crowded initially. But the people who went to these other restaurants would always come back to Miguel with a new genuine loyalty.
I did not comment on how Miguel made his food, which was much fresher and more imaginative than any other Mexican restaurant I had ever been to. Most importantly, I did not want to sound racist by telling him his real secret: that his restaurant was more than twice as clean as any other Mexican restaurant anywhere. He maintains the cleanliness in his restaurant at a maximum level. That just doesn't happen anywhere else in the Mexican restaurant industry. Simultaneously he always had the flavor and feeling of a Mexican neighborhood restaurant. That combination could not be duplicated in most other neighborhoods.
Then he asked me what I thought he should do in the future. My answer was that he had to choose between leading a calm successful, prosperous life with a good income and great respect from the community…. or opening other sister restaurants, possibly becoming a chain and making more money but living with ungodly amounts of anxiety and stress. He would also have to protect himself from the constant pressure of people who wanted his money.
This was the point in the life of his business at which he had to make the choice.
You can see from the article, 40 years later Miguel Jara has maintained his one restaurant which continues to have a line out the front door, to make plenty of money for him. Now he has something I could not have anticipated. Miguel has the emotional satisfaction and the well deserved recognition as the best taqueria in America.
Miguel Jara followed my advice. Not everyone does. I'm happy to say the evidence supports my business thinking.