By Jeff Beals
(Orlando, Fla.) – To kill time before a flight, I walked through Downtown Disney last week taking in the sights and sounds. As lunchtime approached, a uniquely named restaurant caught my eye: “The Earl of Sandwich.”
It turned out to be a good place for a quick-serve lunch, but what’s truly interesting about the Earl of Sandwich restaurant is the story behind the name. A prominently posted sign inside the restaurant reads:
The Sandwich Charter
Our family knows about great sandwiches; we invented the sandwich and have been eating sandwiches since 1762.
Using 250 years of experience, today we have set up EARL OF SANDWICH to make delicious sandwiches for you.
Our Secret is to bake the bread when you order, roast our meats every morning and use traditional family recipes.
We are a family who loves making sandwiches and sincerely hope you enjoy eating them.
– John, 11th Earl of Sandwich
As it turns out, the sandwich, as a food item, really did originate in the restaurant owner’s family back in the 1700s in the English town of Sandwich, Kent. Back then, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich was supposedly the first person to eat meat between two slices of bread. The new invention allowed Montagu to be able to eat while simultaneously working (and while gambling, which he apparently enjoyed quite a bit). In the years since then, the sandwich has become one of the most common foods in the world.
The Earl of Sandwich restaurant chain is based in Orlando and now has 28 locations in 11 U.S. states plus one in France. Most of the locations are inside airports or near tourist attractions.
Don’t you just love the history behind this restaurant? Don’t you just love the story?
A story is one of the most powerful things a business, organization or individual person can possess. Stories are effective. Entire organizations can be based upon a story. People can be moved by stories. Great accomplishments can be achieved because of an inspiring story.
Let’s face it, sub sandwich restaurants are a dime a dozen. The food at the Earl of Sandwich was good but so is the food at competing businesses like Jersey Mikes, Subway, Blimpe, Jimmy Johns, Potbelly and many others. Ultimately, it’s hard to make a sub sandwich that is noticeably better than another sub sandwich. That’s where the story comes into play. That’s why the cool historical story behind Earl of Sandwich is valuable.
In today’s hyper-competitive environment, you need a differentiating factor, an advantage, something to set you apart. The one thing that might set you apart from everyone else just might be a compelling story. The story behind what you do and why you do it could be the difference between success and failure.
Think about the stories your company or organization (and you as an individual professional too) has that might be of fascination to people on the outside. How can you capitalize on these stories?
Make an arsenal of stories you can pull out at any time you need them. Talk to your colleagues as they may have great stories about your organization. People learn by stories. People can be compelled to action by stories. Any time you are selling something or trying to convince another person of something, your job will be easier if you reduce your message to a memorable story.
Who knows…Your stories might even lead to a brand-new business!
Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (402) 637-9300.