What Dentist's can learn from Panera

by Dr. Ron Arndt


“We’re contrarians to the core”

says Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich; “In a world where everone is cutting back, we want to give more.”  Instead of slashing prices during the recession, Shaich raised them twice in the last year.  The results: the company is growing; outperforming all major restaurant stocks in the past decade with an annualized growth rate of 31.5%.  An article in the USA Todayby Bruce Horovitz articulates what is Mr. Shaich is doing.  As a dental coach, I challenge you to review and ponder that you might emulate in your dental practice?

  1. “Time to increase the food experience…that’s when consumers least expect it.”  What can you do to “increase” the dental experience?  Every time, without fail, greet patients by name?  With a persistent consistency call your patients at the end of the day?  Utilize aromatherapy?  Provide umbrellas to patients for the surprise rain storm?  Explain all fees in advance of scheduling treatment with clear, written financial arrangements?  What else can you think of?
  2. “Create a casual yet comfortable place where folks could eat fresh-baked artisan breads.”  How casual and yet comfortable is your office environment?  Forget the bread and focus on their head.  Is it a place for health-oriented, like-minded people to gather?  People who want to keep their teeth a life-time and mirror your core values?  What can be done to pay very special attention to the guests that enter our office?
  3. Instead of cutting back…how can you give more?  More personal attention?  More attention to amenities in the patient restrooms; treatment rooms; or reception areas?  What if you provided free Wi-Fi to your guests?

    How about surveying your patients to discover what they want?

As Horovitz says of Ron Shaich: “he cares; he talks to employees; he’s a blend of courage, nerve, and chutzpah.”

  What can you learn from this man who refuses to put scaled-back Paneras in airports because they’d be a shadow of the real thing?  What is your real thing?

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