Unreasonable Hospitality = More Than Cars with Will Guidara

April 3, 2024
Will Guidara has never told this story before.
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He’s now world-famous, a New York Times bestseller, and has appeared on talk shows, stages and podcasts. But this is the first time he shares how he and Simon Sinek met and connected, ultimately leading to Simon asking him to write a book, ‘Unreasonable Hospitality.’

He opens up about his belief that anyone, in any profession, can choose to be part of the hospitality industry by prioritizing people with the same zeal often reserved for products. His book serves as a testament to this philosophy, emphasizing the power of prioritizing relationships and the human moments that weave through our professional endeavors.

Will is a maestro in the art of making people feel valued beyond the transaction, and applies this to the automotive industry. 🌟 "Every car tells a chapter of your life story," Will muses, highlighting the profound connections between milestones and the vehicles we choose to mark them.

In essence, this interview is not just about the cross-pollination of ideas between industries but a clarion call to infuse our work with humanity, creativity, and, most importantly, unreasonable hospitality. Will Guidara masterfully reminds us that at the heart of every transaction, every service, lies the unparalleled power of making people feel truly seen and valued.

0:00 - Introduction to Will Guidara and the Essence of "Unreasonable Hospitality"

0:23 - Will's Philosophy: Making Hospitality a Universal Industry

1:33 - The Significance of Investing in Relationships Over Moments

3:18 - Embracing People Over Product: Will's Mantra for Success

9:25 - The Story Behind Will's Connection with Simon Sinek

22:24 - Challenging Traditional Rules and Empowering Creativity in Hospitality

34:37 - Opportunities for Hospitality in the Automotive Industry: Celebrating Life's Moments

Will Guidara built Eleven Madison Park into The #1 Restaurant in the World and is the Bestselling Author of ‘Unreasonable Hospitality

Paul J Daly: 0:07

Will, thanks for joining us today. This is definitely a unique environment, I think for all three of us to be in together and matching T shirts. I love it.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:14

Throw it right on,

Will Guidara: 0:15

do that look, well, I throw it on because I love it. Yeah. And I love it for a bunch of different reasons. But chiefly is my entire the thing. If you distill my book down to a single idea, it's that I believe, everyone. Regardless what you do for a living can make the choice to be in the hospitality industry, simply by being as unreasonable in your pursuit of people, as so many different companies are solely in pursuit of product. And I think that is a huge opportunity for more people to have an unbelievable competitive advantage. Because too many people reserve their greatest efforts, their most unbridled creativity, just for the thing they're selling, and don't invest in like,

Kyle Mountsier: 1:05

I think maybe, I don't know, my perception is maybe some people could read unreasonable hospitality or see you speak and go. It's an unreasonable pursuit of a moment, right? Like, how do I create a moment, as opposed to how do I care for the person? And well, yeah, I mean, you can the means to the end, one is a means to the end. Right? Exactly. It's

Will Guidara: 1:26

about investing in relationships and the moments a lot of the time. It's like, when you go on a date in the beginning, sometimes it's the big flashy gestures or the right way to kind of kick things off. But that's not the beginning of the end of that investment. Right. It's just one part

Paul J Daly: 1:41

of it. That's the path to the more nuanced understanding of what matters to the person. Yeah, the nuances actually, of the hospitality gestures or gestures in any relationship is where the true meaning B happens. And I guess, to you have the big flashy moments, you can understand, like you bring out what the person likes, doesn't like believes doesn't believe you

Will Guidara: 2:03

don't always need the big flashy moments. Right? But I mean, if I mean, why not take it. But sometimes it's the smallest ones that are the most profound that have the greatest impact. Like, when you go to a restaurant, and they want you to feel loved a lot of the time, what they do is pour your glass of champagne, and a lot of people, myself included, don't necessarily like to begin their meal with a glass of champagne. If someone actually just walks up to me and says, Hey, we would love to welcome you with a drink. What are you in the mood for today? That's a very, very small gesture and already feels so much more hospitable. Because they actually, it's more of a dialogue than a monologue. It's not just like, look what we can do. We're trying to impress you.

Paul J Daly: 2:45

It's That's right. The champagne is more like, Look what we did for you. Yeah,

Will Guidara: 2:49

look at we're just party expensive, champagne,

Paul J Daly: 2:50

expensive. You're glad you're here.

Will Guidara: 2:52

And now I'm like, Well, I don't want to be rude. So now I have to drink a glass of champagne, which I know that sounds like catty. It's like you got free champagne. But we're talking about the nuance. Yeah, it's all in the nuance. So

Paul J Daly: 3:02

you know, you said you love the shirt. love people more than you love cars. What about it made you look? And you said, oh, yeah, I like that.

Will Guidara: 3:11

Well, that I mean, it's my entire thing. I care more about people than you do the product. Yeah. Like, you look across disciplines. And the people that are the most successful, are that successful, because they are relentless in their pursuit of the thing that they are selling, whether it's a designer, whether it's a producer, whether it's a tech entrepreneur, whether it's an athlete, just in pursuit of their own talents, and that unreasonableness is celebrated. And yet, when it comes to actually pursuing people, it's not something that's talked about very often. And that's my entire thing that I'm trying to like push out into the world. And so I walk in and see guys wearing the shirts and like, yes, my people. Yeah. And I want to tell that to everyone in every industry love people more than you love insurance policies love people more than you love, whatever.

Paul J Daly: 4:06

Yeah, I think we've heard people over profit, like a lot. Yeah, people people say that it's the same people over profits. I don't know there's an element of the nuance of like, the tangible thing that maybe changes the game a little bit and it like fill in the blank cars policy he brought up, but I think we can get caught up in being addicted to a feeling even right the feeling of the feeling of saying like the champagne moment. Oh, look how great we are. Right there is a nuance there into why what your motivation is for doing something for other people. Now, granted, when you do something nice for somebody, it feels really good. Yeah, right. People say why do you give your dog a treat? Because my dog likes treats. It's like no, did you like your dog liking treats? And so I think there's a nuance in there that you try to lead people to in the book and you do a really good job of explaining what you're thinking And as you're making these changes in how you're trying to lead people, how do you bring people from this thought of like, isn't it great that we just did this amazing thing for a person? How do you walk them down the path to like, this is why it matters. I'm thinking of your phrase, when you say the nobility of service. Yeah.

Will Guidara: 5:21

I mean, there's a few questions. Yeah. And I'm gonna, like, tick them off. And maybe I'm gonna even answer whatever you ask, but but one thing that people ask me constantly is how did I sell my team and a vision. I'm a good salesperson. I am I like I can sell people on pretty much everything. And I think that is a superpower and a villain story. At the same time, if you're too good a salesperson, you need to be very careful about how you use your ability to sell people. I think too many leaders try to sell their teams on a vision. Because and the reason I say too many is if you're too good a salesperson, you can convince people to start pursuing something that they have no desire to pursue. I think actually, what it means to lead people through change is to articulate as best as possible, where you are going, and then invite people to join you. The key difference between selling people and an idea and inviting them to join you, as you pursue an idea is in the latter case, people can RSVP No. And that's fine. That doesn't mean they're wrong, it doesn't mean you're wrong. It just means that what you want and what they want are not the same thing. And what's on RSVP is no, it's much different from you kicking them out of the party later. But that's also still

Kyle Mountsier: 6:38

hard because like, especially when it comes to change management, you know, and when we work with auto dealers, or talk to them, on our, on our vertical is, but I don't want to lose anyone is is is when when it comes to like change management or a vision, there's this constant kickback because like, well, but I'll lose people if I go that way. And it is, it is a scary proposition to know that there's a chance that you might lose someone because they're not aligned with the vision. Well, I feel

Will Guidara: 7:07

Natalie only is there a chance you're gonna lose someone, it's almost guaranteed. And that's fine. In fact, if you don't lose anyone, it means you weren't Kinect convicted enough in pursuit of your mission that you decided to start kind of flexing it and bending it to keep everyone happy. Or it means that people have stuck around to be a part of something that doesn't actually make them super happy. It's the same thing. When we evolved our restaurant, we had to fire some of our regulars as well as some of the people on our team. Because we were this we wanted to become this and variably Yeah, that was no longer the thing that some of our customers wanted anymore. And it was,

Paul J Daly: 7:50

what about them who show up for this? They've been showing up for that for 10 years? Yeah. And now we're about to take that thing away.

Will Guidara: 7:57

Yeah, that's a part of it's the paint growth. But it like you can't, you can't never pursue the place that you know, you're trying to get to just for fear that you're gonna lose a few people along the way. Now, the key is being as responsible and mindful and communicative as possible, such that you're not just leaving people in the dust. But like when I give someone the ability to RSVP? No, what I'm also giving them the ability to do is to work with me as I help them find another job, right, and help them find the place that's right for them. And listen, if you if you believe in an idea, you need to trust in the fact that there are other people out there who are going to believe in the same idea and no season of change is easy. But if you believe enough in what you're trying to accomplish, you need to pursue it at all costs. I

Paul J Daly: 8:49

think this is you know, Seth Godin would call this finding the others. Simon Sinek is also someone who is very good at this. And people seem to make their way toward him because of these ideals and these beliefs that he puts out into the world. Of the two of you have a relationship. Yeah. And obviously your the first book published in his partnership with Penguin was Penguin, right? Yeah. So give us a little backstory of your relationship with Simon. I think that's interesting.

Will Guidara: 9:17

That's such a good story. I don't know if I've ever told this on on one of these before. Because

Paul J Daly: 9:22

when we were like, what do we want to happen? We're like, we want to tell a story. He's never told that a podcast

Will Guidara: 9:26

and literally just said those exact words. I have a conference called the welcome conference. It's become kind of the most significant conference purely dedicated to hospitality in the country. And I started 1213 years ago in this little basement or Auditorium in the Lower East Side. Now it's in the same place that the New York Philharmonic plays in Lincoln centers, it's become significant. One night, I was not in the restaurant. And one of my sommeliers texted me and said, Hey, Simon Sinek is here. And I've always loved Simon's work. And I was like, but I couldn't get to the restaurant, whatever the circumstances were, I was not going to be there. And so I said, crush him, which is our language, you're very good at all go all out to words. And the next day, I was like, so how did it go down and on and on, and he was like, We crushed him. So then I had my assistant somehow find his email address, and I emailed him and I was like, Hey, man, I'm willing. I own Eleven Madison Park so happy you're here. I'm so sorry. I missed you. But I hope he had a good time and it'd be awesome to meet one day. I knew we crushed him. So I knew he was gonna write. He wrote back and he was like, yeah, we'd love to meet. So we set up a coffee. We had coffee at my other restaurant, the Nomad. Now, I already knew I was asking him to speak at the Welcome conference. Welcome conference, it like we don't charge much for the tickets. It's not a place where we can pay speakers like what? Yeah, exactly. So he came with the sister Sarah, who they run the business together. And we had an awesome time. And at the end, I made the ask is like, yeah, well think about it. And he left and very clearly, and I know this now, because he's told me the story back having in his head said no, but was just gonna give it time before someone else reached out to me and said, No. Now, at the same time, Simon Sinek is like in my head, and I send a couple of videos to all of my managers in the entire company to be like, Hey, this guy was at EMP. These are the messages of his that really resonate with me just watch them and like you to think about them talking about them and your premiums. And if he walks into any one of our restaurants, I want to know right away. So we had a restaurant and Aspen, it was a pop up just for the winter. And one night I got a an a text message from one of my managers Simon Sinek's in the restaurant now he was there with a table of six. That was an expensive restaurant, by the way. Some of those nasty not under his name. So for him the idea that he would have been anyway they had the meal. They asked for the check someone goes over to him and says Mr. Sinek, your dinners with Will Guidara's compliments. He was there with Sarah. Apparently, as he tells the story, he leans over and he goes well, I guess I'm speaking up the fucking welcome conference.

Unknown: 12:28

That's perfect. I can see him adjusting his glasses as he says that. Sinek way So what So

Will Guidara: 12:35

then he came and spoke and we've become very, very close friends since then he's really close friends with my wife and I and I spoke at his thing, like a year and a half later, which is not a big conference. It's like a salon. Basically, it's 30 people to get together in Aspen once a year. And of those people that gather for conversation and kind of really thought provoking ideas sharing. He asked a few of them to talk and I was one of them. And after I gave my talk he and Adrian Zakheim, which is his publisher said you have to write a book? And I said, No, I don't have time to read it. So it's synthesize. They're

Kyle Mountsier: 13:12

like, how did it come? It wasn't you just like ginning up the idea? No,

Will Guidara: 13:16

no, they said, what you just talked about, I read a book about that. I was like, I don't have time to write a book. And then in 2019, I sold my company was about a week away from ramping up another big restaurant company, and COVID hit. Then two months into COVID. I was like, I don't want to start a company right now. I'm gonna write that book. That's cool. So I called up Simon. I said, alright, I'll write the book. No.

Paul J Daly: 13:43

Deal. He was like, great. That's there's no more speaking engagements right now. I don't know if he knows. So his premise of start with why right, and that was kind of his breakout. How would you explain the why behind unreasonable hospitality? Because you talk a lot about the what and but I'm curious what what is, what was your way that you started with, that you want other people to adopt? Or at least consider?

Will Guidara: 14:08

Well, I mean, you've referenced the nobility of service. I think that's a big part of it. Explain

Paul J Daly: 14:14

that for a second. Like the nobility does go

Kyle Mountsier: 14:16

deeper on that. Yeah. It's, that can be a confusing phrase. I

Will Guidara: 14:19

feel. So listen, I, I think that it's very important for the people in your team to know why their work matters, right? Like, why it's important. The whole thing was Simon. And, again, restaurants, we sell food, but that's not actually what we're doing. In restaurants, especially the kind of restaurants that I've run. Over the course of my life. We have the ability to help people celebrate some of the most important moments of their lives. Conversely, we can give them the grace if only for a few hours to forget about their most difficult moments. We can inspire people through our attention to detail or our creativity to be better reversions themselves or if I'm getting super so boxy, but I really do believe this, we can make the world a nicer place just by being really frickin nice to everyone that walks through our doors. I believe we have this unique opportunity, perhaps even responsibility to create our own little magical worlds in a world that needs more magic. Now, that doesn't happen based on the quality of what you put on the plate, right. I believe the food, the service and the design, there's simply ingredients in the recipe of human connection when that connection happens. That's when that magic is created. There's this quote by Maya Angelou, I quote her all the time, people will forget what you do, they'll forget what you say they'll never forget how you made them feel. That's what we're in the business of doing. And you know, you need great food, you need all this stuff, but and in many ways, like excellence in product is table stakes, right? You can't run a great car dealership if you're selling shitty cars or anything, right. But to be the best. That stuff, it's just table stakes.

Paul J Daly: 16:16

So you have a belief that regardless of what you sell, right, you talked about food and your time and hospitality. But the ability to make someone feel that is kind of like transcends whatever you sell, or whatever interaction you have with people. And it's almost like with unreasonable hospitality, you've you found a way through 11 Madison Park and the other restaurants to almost make that magic like part of process and like bring those two together. I mean, automotives huge on process. And see my read great restaurants are huge on process. But it feels like you brought those two things together so they can be repeatable, maybe?

Will Guidara: 16:54

Well, yeah, I mean, like, when you like, really think about how you give people the kind of memories that stick with them. It has nothing to do with any of that stuff, right? Like I've bought or leased a bunch of cars over the course of my life. And as I think back, I'm a busy person, I have a busy life details start to get blurry. I don't actually remember which dealership I was at with which car. But I know there's a car dealership in Kingston, New York where they have a playroom. And there I went in with my three year old daughter and there was a woman who works there who took my daughter in there and just spent like 30 minutes playing with her in this playroom. And I'll never forget the name of that dealership, Romeo Chevrolet. Hey, I don't remember the name of any other car dealership I've ever worked with. I remember the kinds of cars they sold. I don't remember the name of the dealership. I don't remember anything about it. But you remember that. But they did something a little extra that made me feel seen in that moment that made me feel like I belonged in that moment, especially with kids. I mean, oh, yeah. You feel like you're just consistently interrupting the world X ray. heard someone actually, like, not only tolerates that, but they celebrate that celebrate it. Yeah. That's a beautiful distinction. And I mean, that's a whole different philosophy. The best way to love on someone is to love on the people they love. I'm not sure what question prompted this, and we're right about

Kyle Mountsier: 18:24

systematizing. Yes. Yeah. And I think that's one of the things that I'm picking up from the book and just hearing this and then also kind of pulling it into our industry is, you know, you said, industry does love process and like the restaurant is full of processes. And I think sometimes people can feel like, well, if I don't have the perfect process, then they won't feel it out of that process. Or conversely, like how can process elicit a feeling? And I think that and maybe talk through this a little bit is how process actually clears the way to make space for those moments of those special moments. Right?

Will Guidara: 19:13

Well, okay, a couple things. One, how process clears the way and then how process amps it up, like the playroom at that dealership was systemized hospitality. This took a little space and actually designed it purposefully for a recurring moment that they saw where people were coming in there with kids and they might as well just put into their system, in that case into the physical plant. Something to elevate those experiences. I think as it pertains to how you can change process to clear the way for these things. One of the things I talk to people all the time about these days is auditing your rules and procedures. Most car dealerships I've dealt with As you can tell, I'm following a set of rules that was put in place a long time ago. And I'm sure made

Paul J Daly: 20:07

that main task to the sale and the sale. Right, here's how you walk everyone down, and

Will Guidara: 20:14

you have to go sit down here. And then this person can't do anything until this happens. And then this happens when this happens. And I mean, I went in to a place, I just want to, like, I was ready to just buy the car, you had your armor on,

Paul J Daly: 20:28

right? You're like, I just want this,

Will Guidara: 20:30

I just want this Give it to me, I'm not going to negotiate the price. Just let me get in and out if you'd like to. In most organizations, rules or policies or whatever don't get removed, they only get added. And the only way they ever get removed as if someone on the team has the tenacity and persistence to cut through the red tape for long enough to convince someone that that thing no longer deserves to exist. I think customer service as we know it would change forever, if every guest facing business in America on an annual basis did a rules audit where they had to go through every one that exists and prove why it still deserves to exist. And we would lose a significant chunk. But let's say only 2% of them went away. rules and policies stand in the way of employees feeling empowered and guess feeling cared for. And so I look at some of the experiences I've had, and there's a lot of fat, that could be cut pretty quickly. And by the way, it doesn't take much nothing I talk about as hard. Yeah, it just requires caring a little bit more and trying a little bit harder. Well, I

Kyle Mountsier: 21:42

think the function of it, it is not hard. Right. Like the actual activity of it is is not hard, but the pursuit of it is hard.

Paul J Daly: 21:51

It's not complex, right? It's I call it simple, but not easy. Simple, but not easy.

Kyle Mountsier: 21:55

Maybe. Yeah, yeah. No, it's

Will Guidara: 21:56

not hard. It just requires trying harder. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think it's, I'm leaning in on that to say, okay, running a marathon. That's pretty hard for most people. For me. Yeah, he's a runner doing doing he's like I understand the rules on it is not hard, right? You just need to decide you're going to do it. Yeah.

Paul J Daly: 22:16

So okay, let's, let's dig in on that a little bit. I just got done reading. Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk. And Elon has an interesting phrase they call question every requirement. And because he started, you know, building spaceships, and a lot of requirements, vehicle manufacturing a lot of rules and requirements. And he basically said, anytime you run into something that says you must do it this way, you were to question it, you want to find out who put the requirement in place. And if you can't find out who put it in place, then we're going to discard the requirement. Because that person's long gone. And we don't know why they put it there. But it probably isn't applicable. He said, As long as it doesn't violate the laws of physics. So as you say, like,

Will Guidara: 23:03

I would say, I know, there's no reason for it to exist. And you can find like, Yeah, I'm

Paul J Daly: 23:10

sure there's some some basically there. But no, I'm trying to tie that back. When you say like, do do requirements audit or rules audit? What things would you look for? When you say, Okay, here's a rule. How are we going to hold that rule on trial and see if it and see if it belongs here or not? What are some of the approaches you would take? Like, what are some of the questions you would ask about that rule?

Will Guidara: 23:29

I mean, it's, there's no like pre written list of questions. It's more like, does this still deserve to exist? Is there any reason why we should be doing this? I'll give an example. I read about it in the book. I came up in more casual restaurants before I ended up at Madison Park. And I think it was actually that I didn't have the experience of working at the highest echelon of fine dining that enabled me to do everything I did is that beginner's mindset. But I got there after some other people that already started there. Remember, I worked there for a while before I bought the restaurant, and invariably, or inevitably sold it. And so some of the people working for me, had considerable experience. And there was one point where I went over to a guest who had been a regular one of my restaurants and leaned in. I was like, Hey, welcome, like, I'm so excited. You're here. Yeah, I'm here now to that. He's like, What are we at the Ground Round? Now? I did I do this with intention. Yeah. My entire role is to break the boundaries between me and the people I'm serving. Now I have a thing I talk about all the time, which is you need to earn informality. I'm not going to go up to your table for the first time and do that I need to you had a relationship I need to be understated. Now I already had that I'd already earned informality with him. But my challenge to my team was to earn informality with every table such that you should feel like you are allowed to do that. And I did it for the first time. It was like a week after it started and I go the service station and the service director at the time comes up to me. And even if people have never experienced this, you can relate to it. My subordinate, very angry at his boss me and telling me I'm not allowed to do something. And so like, there was this anger, but he was like maintaining composure. He said, You can't put your hands on the table. Why? Is because we don't do that, because you can't put your hands on the table. It was like nobody explained to me why, why not? And there was no real answer. The real answer was, because that's how it's always been done.

Kyle Mountsier: 25:37

dangerous phrase.

Will Guidara: 25:39

That's how it's always been done. If that's the only answer why something is done a certain way, that thing deserves a second look now. Maybe there still is a good reason. He just didn't know what it was. And so it's not like you just throw things out the window willy nilly, like you need to actually then interrogate the rule. But yeah, a lot of people that worked for me in the years to follow, put their hands on people's tables. Because I think it's an if you're if you earn that informality receive that invitation, it's a way to just through physicality, what

Paul J Daly: 26:13

became a kid, the rule actually flipped. It became if you're doing it very, right, you should be able to do this.

Will Guidara: 26:20

Yeah, if it feels right to you. And that and that's the thing that I really evolved over time is in the beginning. I'm constantly walking this line between being like very OCD, perfectionist, and having this innate desire to empower people to be who they are. Those two things are not friends. And so I'm constantly falling off in one direction or the other, and then having to rein myself in. But I want the people I want if you engage in a business that I've run, I want the people that are serving you. And this is not a restaurant, any business that I run to be their most fully realized selves. I don't want to be served by a server, I want to be served by a human being who just happens to know more about the thing he's telling me than I do. And so I would never tell someone that would have looked awkward or felt awkward putting their hands on the table that they had to write the rules around informality and then do with that what feels natural to you?

Kyle Mountsier: 27:27

i Well, first of all, when you meet Patrick a bad y'all are gonna be friends skipping down a little hallway at some point. Yep. Well introduce you to him. He's like some of the words that you said like be the best versions of themselves as the general manager

Paul J Daly: 27:43

of a big Toyota dealership in Atlanta. Oh, cool.

Kyle Mountsier: 27:47

So Amen. I got all excited about that, because I can't wait to use it ourselves. I I just lost my whole quest. Oh, that's it really stinks. Because I feel like it was a good one.

Will Guidara: 28:03

Patrick, if you listen to this, apparently, you and I are gonna be friends. But it's your fault that he loves this. That's actually a normal thing. But like, shame on you. Shame on you.

Paul J Daly: 28:15

Have you ever seen a Christmas story? The movie? He is? Remember the scene where the kid gets his tongue stuck to the fire? Yes. When you're saying the rule has to be that way. Here we have the kid and Rafi licks the pole or wasn't Ralphie was one of the other kids and he stuck there. And He's in agony. And he's in pain. And the bell rings. He's like, What are

Kyle Mountsier: 28:33

you gonna go right? He's

Will Guidara: 28:34

like, but but the bell rang, right? Like there's nothing else that exists in the world. That's a higher authority than the bell. Yeah,

Paul J Daly: 28:40

but the bell rang, like, but you don't put your hands on the table. I'm thinking of some of the, you know, you think Ritz Carlton. You can probably know a lot more about this than we do. But they're known for empowering their people. Yeah. And I think even giving their if you if you're eating at one of the restaurants, they empower, they give their servers a budget, say like, Hey, we want you to spend this. And

Will Guidara: 29:01

then we set a mosaic does that to printable J. Like there's an amount that any cashier can comp on a daily basis. I read an article about that. At the time. There's pretty much I like around the corner. I went there for lunch every day for three months trying to get there. You look too happy, doesn't eat anything. He's good. Here's the thing I want to say about that. Some companies do this right. There's it's now increasingly common that people are given the amount of money that they're allowed to discretionary budget. Yeah. Where I think that can be strengthened is to change the language that they have to use. I think our graciousness budgets need to be thought of differently than every other item. Where

Kyle Mountsier: 29:56

are some of the gaps that you're seeing particular could Particularly as you're kind of encouraging already, folks in our industry

Will Guidara: 30:07

I just think there's so much opportunity to, to really zero in on the I mean, here's the thing about when you get a car, I think about my, the cars I've gotten over time. And um, I now have a three year old and a one year old and the big dog sort of they came into my life was the big dog, and then the first kid, and then the second kid. So I remember my first car when I first got a license, right. And that was the car my mom had driven for years and years and years, which two years later was run into the ground and just didn't work anymore. And then I got my first real car, from a dealership. And like, the freedom that I felt, right, like that was a significant moment. And I moved to New York City after college and need a car and so I sold that. And then the first real car you get is like when you get your country house, I had my country house, we got a dog. And so we got a Jeep Wrangler, two door, Jeep Wrangler on me and my wife dog with you on the back. That made a kid that didn't really work. Yeah, so we got a four door, say that four door. And then we had another kid that didn't work anymore. And so then we got to Tahoe. And then I realized that the amount of stuff, we were lugging around the trunk of a taco when you have the third row up, doesn't really work. And so then like recently, I was like, Alright, I'm sick of getting a new car every like, biggest 14 months. Give me the Suburban. Absolutely. And by the way, like, there's a thing I want to do in business. And when I accomplish that goal, what are you going to get? I want to get like an old, perfectly restored Land Cruiser that's like the car that I'm gonna get. I'm driving, he's

Unknown: 32:03

got one. Actually, I'm

Paul J Daly: 32:04

driving Gary V's Land Cruiser. Oh, really, when they needed something they called me and I was like, I'm buying the trade. So yeah, I become a Land Cruiser guy.

Will Guidara: 32:11

And I like the old ones with like the back. My point is,

Kyle Mountsier: 32:17

every moment was significant for you. The

Will Guidara: 32:20

car was an exclamation point for every moment. And when you think about the why, what makes the work important. It's a big part of it. Like if you sell people, their cars, and if you are good enough, and investing in those relationships, such that you get to walk down life's journey with those people from the very beginning until the very end, you are there to help celebrate every single one of those moments. And by the way, there's so many moments left to come. Oh, yeah, there's going to be the moment where my kids go off to school, or when my kids turned 16. I get them their cars, and then they go off to school, and I traded my big car for whatever, Porsche or whatever it is. You guys are there. Yeah. And the biggest. It's not a gap. It's an opportunity. And there's so many little details like ideas, specific actionable things, but the big overarching thing is to realize that you're in that business. Yeah. That's the business you're in. Yeah.

Kyle Mountsier: 33:28

So celebrating life's moments,

Will Guidara: 33:31

you are there to help, like, exaggerate and articulate. Well, you'll

Kyle Mountsier: 33:38

appreciate this. Mazda did a commercial a few years back that was essentially that it was like, progressing through you know, got my small Mazda three. And then

Paul J Daly: 33:48

I had this commercial make me cry now. Oh, yeah.

Kyle Mountsier: 33:51

It was like And then every single, you know, iteration of growing up was brought to you by

Will Guidara: 33:59

Well, there's a car there was this what was it the there was like the old Jeep Wagoneer or there was a Dodge commercial like the girl goes over to her grandparents house and the grandmas kind of like in a clause I coma state training. You gotta find this commercial. It just came out like three months ago, she remember. And then she gets her eyes dry. And she starts remembering all the memory she had like, I was one. So okay, great. The marketing people get it. Yeah, right. That's irrelevant. The opportunity is to take that and talk about it constantly at the dealer level. One of the things that like that is a fundamental part of my belief system, is that what gets talked about within the four walls of a service environment is what gets thought about. I think if I were advising someone who ran a car dealership like what to change tomorrow, it's implemented daily huddle on a daily basis, spend half of it talking about whatever logistics and process oriented things you need to in order to keep the trains running. On time, and spend the other half on this stuff,

Paul J Daly: 35:03

you know that one of the things that you haven't brought up, and I think it's something that's often ignored, and we talked about this, we're gonna be talking about it at our event. And it's focusing on the service department in the industry, we call it fixed ops, because people interact with the service department far more than the sales department. And not only that, in the auto industry strange, like when they come to a fine dining restaurant, they're expecting to have a good time, when they come to a car dealership, they're expected to have a contentious time, typically, especially in service service, they're only there because they can't be somewhere else, right, because something's wrong with the car. And so we've been talking a lot about how moments of hospitality and the impact of hospitality could be more frequent and more surprising in the service lane. Because it's much more of a high touch area, right? It's not coming here, pick a thing sit over there, it's there was a phone call and email, there's a check in process, there's, you have to find out what's wrong with your vehicle, you have to pay, your car has to be given back delivered back to you. So there's all these points in there. And so that's one thing that we're locked in on, on creating hospitality in the service area as well, because that's an area where people are already coming because something's wrong. Yeah.

Kyle Mountsier: 36:20

And there's two, three times a year where you get to know that person, when you get to know that person's life rhythms, and what and what they expect out of an interaction. And like you said, you know, a restaurant regular could come once a week, right. And so you do get that, that you can earn the informality not just in a single session, but in multiple and that's the same opportunity in service. I mean, I know some incredible service advisors that see someone coming from a mile away, walk up and go out to greet them by name and already know, like, I can almost say the words before they say it. And so the opportunity is huge there.

Will Guidara: 36:53

Well, the opportunity is, by the way, I wish I knew the ones that you know, because I have not met them yet. And the ones that I'm better. I mean, like we're gonna, you're gonna meet all of you to respond to an email, honestly, like, we're absolutely like, your car, and I email them three days in a row without a response, which is just a known issue named Michael on to me. Yeah, how come? I don't know. But that's that's, that's not even good or bad hospitality. That's just bad service. And by the way, I think it's important to distinguish between the two words services are part of the product, hospitality is the way you make them feel. I think when you talk about Yes, expectations in most restaurants are higher, right? Gosh, that's exciting. I talk about hospitality being the greatest competitive advantage anyone in the service industry can have. It means it's that much more of a competitive advantage for people in your industry. Absolutely. Because if the marsh Wait, the bar is really low. It just takes trying a little bit harder and caring a little bit more. I went to that two door Jeep that we bought, which my wife always really wanted a jeep. So there was like, right, let's get we were in California, we bought it. And there is walked in, bought it left, we go to live. And they're like, hey, there's a gas station. Quarter mile down the road. There's just enough gas to get you there. Oh, boy. How to just last the prices. Right, right. Like, whether I think it was I think we got a really good deal on the car. Right? That doesn't matter. Right, but 40 bucks of gas in this car. Like that. I think that's where that's where the bar is. So like a lot of places you fill the car with gas. Okay, now you're already over performing. But listen, I think it's I think it's such a beautiful, I think it's a it's an industry filled with so many beautiful opportunities for the people that recognize that they're not in the business of selling people cars. They're in the business of connecting with people, and they are there to enable this next season of life and to help them celebrate the one that they're finishing or entering into. And, and I think it's really cool. As I've spent time with different people in the industry to start seeing the things that they've done. Yeah, that's pretty powerful. Like, after I did the Mazda one, someone came up to me and said, we started doing premium, which is what I call the daily huddle in the way that you talk about it. And it's transformed our dealership, and like, that's really fun for me to see. Because by the way, hospitality is a team sport. Like I believe it's really important to start inside and then work out. Like some people read the book and they just get excited about like the big gestures. That's like building the fourth storey before you've actually solidified the foundation. You need to work your way up to that and that starts with learning how to lead and then fostering a culture and then ultimately going out and making magic.

Kyle Mountsier: 39:59

Well, I can can't think of a better way to like, land that plane real nice. Well, thanks for joining us on the podcast. We can't wait to have you at the event in a couple months.

Will Guidara: 40:07

So excited to be there. I guess. I tried to save the good stuff for them. So thank you

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