California has Yosemite.
Montana has Glacier National Park.
What is Buc-ee’s, you ask?
First things first, it’s pronounced “Bucky’s”.
Second, let’s talk about the reasons for any good Texan’s “I’ll drive up to 15 minutes out of the way to go to Buc-ee’s” policy.
Here we go:
- There’s a statue of Buc-ee the beaver in front of every store and it as Insta worthy as you imagine.
- Cheapest gas prices….and 80+ gas pumps
- 30+ restroom stalls so you never have to wait in line
- A restroom attendant in both the men’s & women’s restrooms so they’re always clean
- Good food, which in Texas is measured by the quality of breakfast tacos & the brisket. Check and check.
- The store is huge so you can do a few laps in A/C and get a good leg stretch while shopping in what feels like a combination of Tractor Supply + Target.
- You can buy a Buc-ee’s apparel for the Texan in your life celebrating a birthday or birth day.
- And, they’re crystal clear about who they don’t serve: truckers not welcome.
I want to tell you it’s not as redneck as it sounds but….
It’s a gas station - they’ve been around since the 1920’s and they’re not exactly glamorous. Gas stations are the kind of place you wouldn’t go if you didn’t have to and you want to leave as quick as you can.
Except Buc-ee’s. On a summer day you may have to wait 15 minutes to pump gas at one of those 80+ gas pumps...but Texans line up anyway.
So what does this have to do with the meat & poultry business?
I was recently talking about the Buc-ee’s story with Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, McDonald’s Business Unit leader at OSI Group. Nicole raised the salient point that the cult like following is a direct result of Buc-ee’s having dialed in to their customers’ wants and needs. But not just along one dimension like cheap gas, but a wide portfolio of customers’ wants and needs that had largely been ignored by traditional options.
As retailers & foodservice companies work harder to dial in more clearly into their customers’ needs, wants & expectations, suppliers like OSI have to do the same. It’s why they announced last week an investment in new supply chain technology to help them better serve customers through machine learning.
Someone told me this week that all the digital innovation is happening on the consumer end of the meat value chain. But that’s not true for the forward looking companies like OSI who are using multiple levers of technology to address customer wants and needs in the market.
And as the digital dominoes fall, expectations will increase all the way back to the primary packer. You’ll either be running with the OSI’s of the world or struggling to catch up.
Since the 1920’s, gas stations have sold gas and meat packers have disassembled carcasses. But innovators can turn customers into wild fans even in the oldest of industries.
Who loves your business like Texans love Buc-ee’s?
This article was originally published at Meatingplace.