Can a biscuit blow your mind? The owners of Austin sandwich shop Bird Bird Biscuit think so. With help from a “secret biscuit whisperer,” co-owners Brian Batch and Ryan McElroy refined the perfectly flaky formula to complement their hot chicken and breakfast sandwiches.
“It’s everything that you would want in a chicken biscuit: not dry, very crispy, and flavorful,” Yelp reviewer Casey T. said. “And the biscuit itself is very soft. It was just great. I felt like I was in heaven when I was eating this biscuit, and me and my friends, we were literally just sitting on the floor, outside Bird Bird Biscuit, and we were blown away by this food experience.”
With a near-constant line out the door, Bird Bird Biscuit has earned a devoted following and many more rave reviews. Brian has a lot of ideas on why the restaurant is so popular, including its commitment to using quality ingredients and constantly refining the product.
“It’s been three years now, and we’ve never stopped trying to make it just a little bit better,” he said. “We do that with every single thing at Bird Bird: What can we make just a little bit better? Whether that’s a sandwich, whether that’s the fried chicken process with how we dredge it and bread it, whether or not that’s the strawberry lemonade, dialing in the sweetness.”
Blowing minds is not just about flavor, however. Brain and Ryan have built their business around a value system, which is usually found in a large corporation’s strategic plan, but can also give small business owners and employees a clear roadmap for the company’s future. The business partners, who’ve worked together for more than a decade, use this foundation to create a safe space that extends care to both customers and employees.
Those values include: “people, not objects,” which means putting employees and customers first; “consistent quality above all,” which covers sourcing quality ingredients; “this is fun for us,” which helps the owners decide where to put their growth and energy; and lastly, “blow minds.”
This final value (which Brian calls his “X factor”) reflects the real essence of Bird Bird, he said: “One of the things it means to me is, how can we treat somebody in such a way that when they leave Bird Bird—whether it be for the next minute, the next hour, or the next 10 years—they take what they experienced at Bird Bird, and it becomes a part of their story?”
A positive work environment is an integral part of that story. “We’re focusing first and foremost on how we treat each other in this shop every single day, so that we can reflect outwards being joyful and being happy in our work environment, because that’s what people feel when they come to Bird Bird,” Brain said. “People love working here because it’s a good environment. And I think that’s what people feel. That’s what Casey felt. She felt that people love being here.”
When Casey tried her first biscuit, her mind was definitely blown—not just by the quality of the food, but by the care and attention she received from Bird Bird’s staff. Although she had ordered her food to go, which delayed delivery of her sandwich, the employees addressed her concerns with kindness.
“Because of that touch point that I had, I think I got a little bit more interaction with employees,” she said. “And honestly, from what I could see, it seems like everyone really was happy working there, and it was a good environment.”
Brian wants that joy to extend out the door and into the community. He’s passionate about his business, his customers, and his reviews. “If somebody comes to your spot, had a great experience, cared enough to go write something—man, that’s gold,” he said. “If you can meet that person, you can take that to the next level. That’s magic; it’s alchemy.”
Any small business can be improved with some of Bird Bird Biscuit’s proven business practices, including values like:
- Quality ingredients. Source them intentionally, and it’ll make all of the difference.
- Above all else, people matter. Both your customers and your employees should be the highest priorities. When your employees are happy, your customers are happy. It’s contagious.
- Reviews can be a great way to reach people. Respond, make connections, and take every opportunity to show off your customer service.
These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear from Brian and Casey, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.
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