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Behind the Review host and Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.
It’s not often that folks will lose their minds over biscuits. At their core, they’re pretty basic, usually only five or six ingredients.
But a really good biscuit is worth remembering—and reviewing—like our Yelp reviewer Casey T. did for Austin sandwich shop Bird Bird Biscuit.
“It’s everything that you would want in a chicken biscuit. Like literally not dry, very crispy, and flavorful. And the biscuit itself is very soft. It was just great. I felt like I was in heaven when I was eating this biscuit, and me and my friends, we were literally just sitting on the floor, outside Bird Bird Biscuit, and we were blown away by this food experience.”
That might seem like an exaggeration, but Bird Bird Biscuit is extremely popular in town and usually has a line out the door. Co-owner Brian Batch has a lot of ideas on why his restaurant is so popular, but the first one is the quality of ingredients. Using lower-quality chicken or eggs is simply not an option. In addition, they never stop trying to improve their product.
“One of the things that I think has been really powerful for us is, it’s been three years now and we’ve never stopped trying to make it just a little bit better. And we do that with everything at Bird Bird. Every single thing at Bird Bird: What can we make just a little bit better, whether that’s a sandwich, whether that’s the fried chicken process with how we dredge it and bread it, whether or not that’s like the strawberry lemonade.”
Brain and his business partner Ryan have known each other for more than a decade, and through all of that experience together, they’ve built a business that they truly love and believe in, and they want others to feel the same way they do. It starts with a value system, which is usually found in a large corporation’s strategic plan. But a really definitive set of values can help give both business owners and employees a clear roadmap for the company’s future.
“So we have four. The first one is people, not objects. The second one is consistent quality above all. And if you want me to elaborate on any of them I will, but I’ll just tell you, the third one is, this is fun for us. And the fourth one is, blow minds. I like that. That’s like, that’s like my X factor value.”
That first value—focusing on people first—covers both customers and their employees, and we’ve already heard about the consistent quality of their ingredients. But is owning a small business supposed to be fun? In Brian’s mind, absolutely. That value can sometimes limit Bird Bird Biscuit’s growth, and that’s fine with Brian.
“So ‘this is fun for us’—it’s a way for us to gauge the energy of our team at any given point in time and also things we’ll choose to do and choose not to do because sometimes someone will ask us if we can cater a 1,000-person event. And it’s very simple. We say that does not sound like fun. So we won’t do it. You know what I mean? Like, it’s simple!”
The last value—blowing people’s minds—is the value that resonates the most with Brian and his customer base.
“I think it is so important for two reasons. One of the things that I say is what it means to me is, how can we treat somebody in such a way that when they leave Bird Bird, whether it be for the next minute, the next hour, or the next 10 years, they take what they experienced at Bird Bird and it becomes a part of their story. That’s the way I describe it.”
The impact that value has on his employees shows in their consistently great customer service, as noted by Casey. She ordered her food to go, instead of using the kiosk like her friends, and it delayed delivery of her sandwich. Because of the staff, it wasn’t a problem for her.
“I had such a good experience with the staff. I feel like if I had just ordered on the kiosk and not had this whole thing, I probably wouldn’t have even interacted with the staff except to pick up my food. Because of that touch point that I had, I think I got a little bit more interaction with employees. And honestly, from what I could see, it seems like everyone really was happy working there, and it was a good environment.”
Brian wants that good environment to extend out his doors and into the community. He’s passionate about his business, his customers, and his reviews. He really, really loves reviews, even the bad ones, because they give him another chance to connect with people.
“If someone writes you a bad review, they didn’t come there wanting to have a bad experience. So you have to ask yourself, what can I learn from this to be better? I’ve seen so many times how I’ve been able to turn these experiences that people have bad into just these really, really beautiful things.
“If somebody comes to your spot, had a great experience, cared enough to go write something; man, that’s that’s gold. If you can meet that person, you can take that to the next level. That’s magic, it’s alchemy.”
We do know what he means, and any small business can be improved with some of Bird Bird Biscuit’s proven business practices, including values like:
- Quality ingredients. Source them intentionally, and it’ll make all of the difference.
- Above all else, people matter. Both your customers and your employees should be the highest priorities. When your employees are happy, your customers are happy. It’s contagious.
- Reviews can be a great way to reach people. Respond, make connections, and take every opportunity to show off your customer service.
Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Brian and Casey, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.