Chapter 10. Case Study: The Pancake Pantry


On any given morning around eight o'clock the line begins to form. The place has already been busy for a couple of hours, but now people are lining up outside of the main room, into the entry lobby, out the door, down the side of the building, and around the corner. They will stand there, talking or staring or reading their newspapers, all just as happy and patient as most bluebirds.

If it's a weekend morning, then bring a bigger newspaper, because the line will stretch much farther down the block and your wait will be quite long indeed. Patience is a requirement if you want to get into this place. It's all a matter of supply and demand. What they have is something that no one else has.

They've got pancakes.


The Pancake Pantry on Twenty-First Avenue South in Nashville, Tennessee, is, for anyone wanting to know how to achieve indispensable status with customers, the source of all knowledge. Bob Baldwin started something magical with The Pancake Pantry years ago, and David continues the show. Go inside, order some pancakes, watch, and learn. But you'd better leave your logical "just tell me how to do it," approach to business at home.

The Pancake Pantry is like virtually all businesses that have mastered the art of winning and keeping customers for life. The operative idea here is that what The Pancake Pantry does is, in fact, an art. Or maybe it's magic. Or voodoo. Becoming indispensable is always an art at least as much, ...

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