Published on: April 24, 2017by Kevin Coupe
The Dayton Daily News has a story about how iconic food retailer Dorothy Lane Market "has taken over direct control of the sushi shops that it previously leased to a subcontractor" in its three stores.
Jack Gridley, the company's vice president of meat and seafood, tells the paper that "we saw the opportunity to go to the next level and increase the customer experience. With us controlling all the ingredients, we can greatly improve the quality."
Gridley goes on: "“There will be many more options and combinations available in the case, with more species of fish offered than ever before. We will also be using the same quality of sustainably-sourced seafood that we sell in our seafood departments. That means that the salmon used in sushi will be raised antibiotic-free, just like what we sell."
What impresses me about this has almost nothing to do with sushi.
The argument here always is that retailers need to find ways to differentiate themselves in the marketplace, and to find every opportunity not to have "me, too" offerings. Success, I would argue, comes in the places where a store is different, not where it is the same.
What really is extraordinary about this is that Dorothy Lane Market always has done this. Its three stores stand out as some of the best food retailing in the world - focused on great, highest common denominator food, and fueled by people who are utterly committed to and invested in their roles in a great company.
It wouldn't be hard for Dorothy Lane Market to rest on its laurels, to decide that investing money in running its own sushi business wasn't necessary, that they already were as good or better than the competition. But that's not what they do at Dorothy Lane. Nope, what they do is look for every opportunity to be better, better, best. They know that great food can feed the soul, and they this mission with a kind of missionary zeal.
The thing is, it never ends. They're already looking for the next opportunity. It'll be great. It'll be totally in character. And it'll be yet another Eye-Opener.
- KC's View: