Within Studio Movie Grill’s DNA is a conviction to operate with a sense of purpose. For the last decade SMG has been trying on different mantras. Recently, solidifying these thoughts into a single catalyzing statement has become a central focus for the Home Office and theater management teams. I attribute this awareness to a year-long leadership academy endorsed by SMG’s senior executives and funded entirely by the company. Two-dozen team members from the Home Office plus General Managers will complete the inaugural program this month and another group of new students will begin their journey.
Besides the obvious financial benefits that result from an aligned team, using a common language to achieve goals, I believe something much greater has come out of the effort.
Simon Sinek, in his now-famous TED speech, articulated this idea by modeling a concept he called the Golden Circle. And while some of Sinek’s contemporaries criticize his observations as marketing manipulation, the simple fact remains that successful brands inspire consumers to act out of a genuine desire to belong. They are speaking to us, telling us why they exist for our benefit, and we want to be a part of that.
Sinek’s Golden Circle consists of three questions: “What?”…“How?”…“Why?”
What: Most companies know what they do. It’s their product or service and the niche in which they exist in the marketplace.
How: Most companies know how they do it. It’s their value proposition or unique selling position that makes them better than the competition.
Why: It’s not to make a profit. That’s a result. He goes on to say the “Why” is the purpose, or belief. “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
We study business cases from Chic-Fil-A, Nordstrom, Apple, and Starbucks. We don’t study these folks because they’re on top of their game, but rather, they have something engrained into their culture that makes them greater than their suite of products or services. After all, anyone can make a chicken sandwich or sell a pair of Manolo’s. But what isn’t so easily replicable is an authentic conviction to serve or to really challenge the status quo by thinking differently.
Movies are powerful change-agents. They trigger a memory or an emotion, or they tell us a story that shapes our worldview. Perhaps as important as the stories we watch are the movies that create life-long memories. I watched Clint Eastwood movies with my Dad growing up. My Mom slept on the floor in my room for a week after I saw Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. My first kiss was during Top Gun. My first date with my three year-old daughter was Smurfs 2 at SMG Spring Valley with a chocolate milkshake and two straws.
In its current iteration, “SMG exists to open hearts and minds through our shared stories.” Okay…an in-theater dining company existing to open hearts and minds might seem hopelessly romantic, but I challenge you to think of a more powerful storytelling medium in today’s society than movies, and anything more timeless than the fellowship of breaking bread with friends and family.
So, is there anything unique about that statement? Could it be for someone else? Of course it could. It can only earn meaning when we consistently serve every guest, employee, vendor, community, and investor with the same care and passion we would extend to a beloved friend or family member in our home.
SMG isn’t a movie theater. We’re not a restaurant either. When you consider the compounding effect of 4,000+ employees and thousands of partners in our vendor network, working together in concert, the 8 million guests visiting SMG can understand why we exist for their benefit. Opening hearts and minds through our shared stories is a tall order, but we believe it’s what makes something go from good to great.
Share your story on our Facebook page (facebook.com/studiomoviegrillfan) or email us at email@example.com and we’ll post them at our home office in Dallas as a reminder of why we exist and a living example of our shared story.
Earlier this month, for our Brews ‘N’ Views series we screened The Big Lebowski, which I think is one of the funniest movies of my generation, and on a whim we added a secret drink special on the White Russian, which turned out to be a big hit.
I mean, White Russian is a cocktail that almost no one ever orders, so on any regular night I’d be shocked to hear we’d sold any, but on this particular night, we sold 459. So what gives?
In The Big Lebowski, for those who haven’t seen it, the Caucasian cocktail is the drink of choice for our central character, The Dude. Throughout the movie we see him mix and enjoy the beverage, and then, as one of the key plot points, one of the villains uses the drink as a vehicle to drug him, which leads us into one of the most memorable and ridiculous dream sequences imaginable. Love it or hate it, you will definitely never forget that scene.
So when we marketed our revival of this 1990s classic, instead of just saying we were showing the movie, we emailed to invite our guests to “Knock back a White Russian with the Dude.” And a lot of people did just that.
Seeing the incredible demand for an oddball drink special reminded us:
Mixed drinks, when consumed appropriately, can make the adult movie going experience more fun. Who wouldn’t want to have a martini shaken but not stirred with James Bond or perhaps a mint julep with Daisy and Gatsby? Not every movie we love is going to have an adult beverage tie in, but when they do, and we can offer it at SMG, that’s just a little touch of movie magic.
Next Thursday for $1 Classics, we are cooking up a special on a featured beer cocktail called the Arnold Palmer Shandy you can enjoy at Caddyshack.
You can count on me to be on the lookout for the next great movie/cocktail combination to tickle your taste buds.
If you want to be in on the secret specials, sign up for our email newsletters at studiomoviegrill.com.
What has Studio Movie Grill-Wheaton done for us, you ask?
What have they not done for us!
SMG has supported the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association (WDSRA) since the day they opened. Creating a partnership together to help one another, we are happy to spread the word about their Special Screenings for people with disabilities. An opportunity where parents can bring their child to a movie without worrying about them being disruptive, pacing the theatre, or laughing out loud at inappropriate times. WDSRA families our thrilled with these opportunities!
In addition, SMG has provided us with complimentary movie tickets for our day programs, day camps, and our Movie Critics and Cinema Cruisers movie programs. Our participants are constantly asking if we can go back to SMG. The atmosphere, the service, they have it all! Thank you SMG for supporting WDSRA, you are truly making a difference in the community!
Jorie A. Meyer, CTRS