The Business Of Making Grocery Shopping A Pleasure

Florida is synonymous with sun, beaches and… Publix.

If you have ever visited Florida or if you live here, as I do, and you need a grocery store, you have probably been to Publix.

The Publix motto is, Where Shopping is a Pleasure.

And it is.

According to the Publix website, www.publix.com, founded in 1930, Publix is the
largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States.

Earlier this year, Publix published a brochure, available to all customers shopping in their stores, entitled, “Lessons From Our Founder – The Publix Philosophy as Lived by George W. Jenkins”, the founder of Publix.

The brochure shares the seven business lessons George Jenkins instilled within his company.

Here is a list of the core business values George Jenkins taught all Publix employees to work by each day:

1)    Be There
Be visible.  Get out of your office!  Talk and listen to your employees. Work along side your employees.

2)   Giving is the Only Way to Get
Never forget anyone who helped you along the way to business success.

3)    Invest in Others
George Jenkins acknowledged, “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my business career is that no man put together an organization on his own.”

4)    Respect the Dignity of the Individual
George Jenkins believed, “If you want people to respect you or your company, you must first show respect for them.”

5)    The Customer is Queen (and King)
Always provide the customer with what she or he wants.  Always treat the customer with respect.  Be proud of a job well done.

George Jenkins was once asked by a store manager how to be successful.  He replied with two basic things:  “First, take care of your customers…  Second, take care of associates.  They will in turn take care of your customers.”

6)    Prepare for Opportunity
George Jenkins advised, “Prepare yourself.  The opportunities are up for grabs.”  Jenkins likened Publix to “a smorgasbord, with opportunity spread out for you.”

Opportunity includes going beyond the call of customer service – going the extra distance to further cement long-term relationships with your customers.

7)    Do the Right Thing
George Jenkins business philosophy included, “Never let making a profit stand in the way of doing the right thing.”

By Jenkins words and deeds the Publix corporate culture was created.  Today the spirit and philosophy of Jenkins is passed on to every Publix employee.

And it shows.

Every time I walk into the local Publix grocery store, I can feel the Publix philosophy in action.  Correction.  I can feel the Publix philosophy out in the parking lot before I even get into the store!

It starts with the grocery cart guy who’s out in the parking lot collecting carts yet always tips his Publix cap and says, “Hi.  How ya doing today?”

As I walk through the store, the store manager stops to say, “hello.”  We talk sports for a minute or two; all the while he is attentive to any other customer needs.

The meat department associate is always out in front of the cases asking people if they are finding everything they want.  Over at the fresh fish case, he tells us what is freshest and looks best, then hand selects for us.  He makes sure our favorite chicken brand is fully stocked at the time of our visit.

All the cashiers wave and say, “Hello.”  Even if I am not in their line.  And the line I am in, always ask if I found everything I was looking for during my visit and holds polite conversation with me while ringing up my selections.

And then comes the big question.  Would I like someone to take my groceries out to the car for me?  Publix is famous for this service.  No tipping allowed!

Fortunately, I am still young and healthy enough to push the cart and load the car.  Maybe 20 – 30 years from now I will take Publix up on their gracious offer!  I am sure it will still be part of the Publix customer service policy.

But wait!  I’m not done yet! As I leave the store, the woman behind the customer service/lottery desk, says “hello” and smiles.

I always feel good when I leave Publix.

I can go to other grocery chains around town to buy groceries but I choose not to. Publix wants to be your neighborhood grocery store.

Publix sets the standard for grocery stores in Florida.  And beyond the Florida state line.

I have quoted or referenced much directly from the Publix brochure I picked up while getting my shopping cart one Saturday a few months ago. George Jenkins business philosophy isn’t just for grocery stores.  It can be applied to almost any business.  And in any business environment.

This is what Jenkins had to say about the Publix philosophy:  “Some companies are founded on policy.  This is wrong.”  He went on to say, “Philosophy, the things you believe, is more important.  Philosophy does not change frequently – and is never compromised.”

George Jenkins had a plaque in his office that read: “Begin, the rest is easy.”

So go ahead:  Begin.