Two of Columbus’ most innovative entrepreneurs, Jeni Britton Bauer of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Joe DeLoss of Hot Chicken Takeover, shared how community is at the heart of their businesses — and a big reason why they thrive — during their Game Changer session at the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition.
Britton Bauer dropped out of college and started her first ice cream shop in the North Market in 1996. Today, with 40 stores (and on the shelves at countless grocery stores) throughout the country, she’s brought the artisan ice cream movement to unexpected heights. There are so many flavors in the world today that we’ve never experienced, she said, and each one has its own nuances – much like how diversity makes each person special.
Her company is a community, said Britton Bauer, and she wants it and the people who work with her to reflect the values of service, kindness and collaboration. At Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, all employees receive a copy of a little book they call Flavor Notes, and it details what she calls the four superhero powers they live by:
- Live the Golden Rule.
- Put your name on it.
- Act with purpose.
- Make people feel loved.
For DeLoss, who brought the idea for a hot chicken restaurant back to Ohio after a memorable trip to Nashville, it’s about running a business that is bigger than chicken. He said the goal is to “create extraordinary experiences for extraordinary people.”
The people he hires are often those looking for a second chance in life after facing challenges like povery, homelessness or incarceration. He made clear that Hot Chicken Takeover is not philathropy – he said it’s good business to be supportive of this community of people who are writing new futures. After all, our circumstances don’t dictate our character.
And character is key for every employee, which is why no matter what role they are hired for, everyone starts their first shift by washing dishes. He encouraged everyone in the audience to “find your dishtank.”