Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Here is a reprint of a post I originally did in May 2008 - when Irvine Robbins, co-founder of Baskin-Robbins, died at age 90. It lists business lessons, Baskin-Robbins style:
1. Get publicity by piggybacking on important events. Baskin-Robbins created short lived flavors like Lunar Cheesecake for the moon landings and Valley Forge Fudge for the 1976 bicentennial.
2. Be ready to improvise. When the Beatles came to the United States in 1964, a reporter called to ask whether Baskin-Robbins was going to commemorate the event with a new flavor. Robbins didn't have a flavor planned but quickly replied, "Uh, Beatle Nut, of course." The flavor was created, manufactured and delivered in just five days.
3. Don't let egos get in the way of partnerships. When he partnered with his brother-in-law, the late Burton Baskin, Robbins recalled they used a flip of the coin to decide which name came first.
4. Don't be afraid to try new concepts. Baskin-Robbins decided to sell their stores to managers, pioneering the franchise concept for ice cream stores.
5. Treat your employees well. As corporate policy, employees were allowed to eat all the ice cream they wanted, because, Robbins said, "I don't want my employees stealing."
6. Focus on quality metrics. Robbins was dedicated to upholding the quality of his ice cream regardless of the cost, his daughter said.