I have in recent years become a fan of sushi.  I love the taste, the fact that it is reasonably healthy, as well as the different varieties that you can have.  I try to have it a couple of times a week as I go out for a walk at lunch time in the city.

As part of this, I often spend time seeking out different sushi venues.  Finding that one sushi store that provides outstanding sushi that makes you want to come back for more.  It has been an enjoyable quest!

A month ago, I found this place.  I was going for my regular walk and stumbled across a sushi store that I had not tried before.  I walked in and selected my sushi and sat down to try their product.  Wow!  Immediately I was struck by the freshness and the taste.  It was like tasting something entirely different to what I had tried before.  Freshness, taste and variety all combined in the sushi.  It was magnificent.

As I enjoyed my meal, I could not help but be struck by the foot traffic coming in to the store.  It was packed!   Many people coming in and buying sushi.  They clearly had something going in terms of a reputation for outstanding sushi.  It struck me as a very successful business that was thriving.

As I reflected on this and started to frequent this place regularly over the last four weeks, it struck me that there were certain principles noticeable in this business that made it successful.  I have outlined these below that I believe are relevant for any organisation that wishes to achieve the same success in their chosen field.  They are as follows:

  • This store only sold sushi. They did not dabble in any other products.  They had many different varieties of sushi but only sushi.  This meant that they were very good at it and were known for great sushi.  Compare this to many businesses who try to be everything to everyone.  They have many different products that they provide to the market and do an average job with all of them.  This business wanted to be known for great sushi and had mastered it with absolute focus on their one product;
  • Even though they only sell sushi, the variety was extraordinary. There were new varieties being introduced every week which keeps it fresh and interesting.  It highlights to me that you can still focus on mastery but provide subtle differences and variety that will intrigue and delight your customers.  This ability to innovate and stay ahead of your competitors is relevant for all of us that are in business;
  • The store was very simple in layout. They had an area that you went up to get your sushi, a very simple checkout and some seating.  This encouraged you to move quickly in and out of the store or choose takeaway.  This simplicity drove volume but also a feeling of not being cluttered or over engineered.  Less is more is an important principle for all of us in complicating our approach to business and clients;
  • The customer is empowered in terms of choosing what they want from the start. The store is set up with self-service.  That is, from the time you walk in you pick up a container and literally choose your sushi which is fresh, clean and with many varieties.  This choice is empowering combined with catering at the checkout for cash and card sales in separate lines.  There is a strong commitment to outstanding service which is noticeable.
  • When returning to the office, I raved about this sushi store as others in the office are also fans. What I found was that a number of other people in the team had visited this place and held it in similar regard.  When I asked them how they had found out about the store, everyone had mentioned it had been through a friend or a colleague who had recommended it to them, not through advertising.  I am sure that this word of mouth approach to building their business will stand them in good stead as it should for all our businesses.  Repeat work and referrals are still the best way to build a great business.

Some great insights above all from visiting a sushi store that is now my favourite.  It is a pleasure to see a business on top of their game.  The insights they have provided to me have reinforced some key principles I need to revisit in our businesses to ensure that we continue to innovate, grow and deliver outstanding services to our clients.  I look forward to my next visit!