A couple of weeks ago I attended a breakfast where Peter Irvine, licensee and franchise holder of Gloria Jean, was the main speaker, talking about his success and how he went about building Gloria Jean into the household word that it is.
The principles that Gloria Jeans applies to its business and it’s franchisees is that no matter where you go, in one of their stores, the experience is the same. Same coffee, same froth and bubble and same happy smiling faces. To get to that level of sameness relies on a very good understanding of supply line logistics as well as a lot of other business related expertise. Everything has to come from a centrally located system, the delivery has to be managed correctly and the owners of the individual locations understand this.
So what happens when it fails!!!!!
In 2002 the main Gloria Jean warehouse burned down. Not just talking about a small fire, the destruction of the warehouse was total. Peter Irvine was one of the first members of management on site, informed by the security monitoring company that he had a fire, and as the workers (roasters, warehouse staff, office staff) started turning up he was there to greet them.
To most businesses, a total loss of the main delivery component of your business would be time to PANIC, but Peter didn’t do that. Comments like the one to the first roasters to arrive for their shift, ” today they didn’t need to roast the coffee because it was already being done.” There was no talk of layoff, holidays or the like. On top of the problem of the fire Gloria Jean were just about to open 2 new store and lucky enough the supplies for the new premises had been shipped prior to the fire and were still on the trucks, in transit.
What would you do? Well Peter did the only thing open to him. He just kept going. In answer to questions from the press about what he was going to do” we go on, in fact we open 2 new stores this weekend.” Instead of the franchise taking a hit over the next months, it generated 10% more than expected revenue as customers realised that the brand was going to be around for a while.
This is a perfect example of business resilience. Business resilience is not about ticking boxes in your business continuity plan, assessing risk or working out where your backup are.
Business resilience is CULTURE and that culture is delivered from the top down as well as the bottom up. Business resilience is about ATTITUDE, the attitude that nothing is a problem and everything is a challenge and all challenges have solutions. Business resilience is about using the problems and opportunities to create better business.
Peter Irvine used the situation of a warehouse fire to show how resilient his business was, his customers, his franchisees and his management realised that it was not adversity that made them different but it was his attitude to his business and his customers.
So Peter, I take my hat off to you, thank you for a perfect example of business reliance and I wish you many more years in your chosen business.