Garrett Popcorn Shops
I don't know if any of the following is accurate. However, I believe it includes the elements of what make Garrett Popcorn Shops an extraordinarily successful business.
Starting with the consumer: a lot of people like sweet, and a lot of people like salty. Some people like both. With its popcorn--cheese-flavored and caramel corn--Garrett addresses the entire palette. Second: their product is pan-ethnic. Asian, Latino, African American, European, the lines that form in front of their store are an eclectic assemblage of people from across the spectrum. Third: they operate only one shift per day, from the late morning until the late afternoon, with the remainder of the day devoted to preparation and clean-up. No second shift, very little overtime. (New airport stores are an exception.) Fourth: footprint--their geography is small, too small for a fast food restaurant with all the kitchen and tables, and very few businesses can operate successfully in such limited square footage. Fifth: it's all take-out so no spillage on the floor, no tables, no dawdling over cappuccino. Just stand in line, do the transaction, and get out of the way. Sixth: the margins--while I have not costed out the product and packaging, I am assuming they are about equal in cost with the corn costing only a little more than the bag. Seventh: delivery--as if all of the above were not enough, they layer on top of this their gift packages of large tins separated into four quarters of popcorn, popcorn, cheese-flavored popcorn, and caramel corn. My belief is that the margins on that business are just as good or even better. Eighth: aroma. What is better than the olfactory sense than the wafting smell of hot popcorn influencing even larger purchases. And is it a calculated decision to aim exhaust fans in the front of the store, blowing the smells straight down State Street where passersby will be seduced by them?
Ninth: Slow deliberate focused expansion to airports, etc. There is lots of talk in the business community and business schools about "business models." As I said, I have no idea if any of the above is accurate, but I believe Garrett Popcorn Shops has an extraordinary business model.