Trader Joe’s success is a matter of values
There’s so much that goes into the success of Trader Joe’s, well beyond unique private label foods and friendly associates wearing Hawaiian-themed shirts. In fact, as a company podcast recorded earlier this year outlines, Trader Joe’s ability to attract its throngs of customers/fans comes down to a set of corporate values embodied within the organization, from the c-suite to the store-level.
On episode two of “Inside Trader Joe’s” released in May, chairman and CEO Dan Bane provided a list of seven values that all new crew members learn when they come onboard.
- Product-driven company
- Wow customer service
- No bureaucracy
- The store is the brand
- We’re a national chain of neighborhood grocery stores
While most of Trader Joe’s values are self-explanatory, kaizen — a Japanese word that translates roughly to continuous self-improvement — may be unfamiliar to many.
“For us that means everybody in the company owes everybody else a better job every day, every year, in what they do,” said Mr. Bane. “Because of that, we don’t really do budgeting, which — as a recovering CPA is, you know, heresy — but we don’t do budgeting. We just expect our stores to do a little bit better every year. They create their own targets. And it’s really paid off some big dividends for us.”
- Episode 2: It’s About Values – Inside Trader Joe’s, a Podcast
- Episode 2: It’s About Values (Transcript) – Inside Trader Joe’s, a Podcast
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: From the vantage point of a customer, which of Trader Joe’s seven values are most important and why? Do other retailers and their associates live their values to the degree that is displayed by Trader Joe’s?