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NACCM 2010: The Customer Is ALWAYS Right!

Presented by: Stew Leonard, Jr., President, STEW LEONARD’s

Rule 1: The customer is always right. Stew Leonard’s strives to have their customer leaving happy. The customer is not always right, but they should leave happy. Figure out what they want and let them leave the story happy.

At the entrance of the story, there is a rock that says ‘The Customer is always right.’ A customer wanted to purchase one, so Leonard had them produced. They didn’t do their research, and found out that not many of their customers wanted them either.

Opportunity with customer service: No way to monetize it, but if they are happy, customers will keep giving back to your store.

Goal: Get the person who is paying to walk out with a smile.

Start something in a small part of your business and let it grow. This goes for the new ideas and customer service. A customer suggested that their fish weren’t prepackaged, so they did so and their fish sales tripled. The same happened when they allowed loose strawberry sales.

Teamwork is a very important part of great customer service. It can’t be a great place to shop unless it’s a great place to work. This involves listening to your employees. It’s important to build a respect for the management within your organization to improve upon your customer service. Growth from within is also key. By promoting from within, the employees understand the values that Stew Leonard’s is based on.

NACCM 2010 Speaker Spotlight: Stew Leonard, Jr


Stew Leonard Jr. is currently the president and chief executive officer of Stew Leonard’s, one of the most unique food retailers in the world.

Stew Leonard’s is family-owned and operated, with four food stores and five wine shops in Norwalk, Danbury and Newington, Connecticut, as well as in Yonkers and East Farmingdale, New York.

After receiving his MBA from UCLA, Stew learned the food business by working every job in the store, including filling in for the store’s mascot, Wow the Cow.

Stew Leonard’s has grown to employ 2,400 Team Members, has annual sales of nearly $400 million, and has been named as one of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past seven consecutive years.

Stew travels throughout the year to farms, ranches, piers, and wineries and loves to cook. His love of wine has led him to his current studies to become a sommelier. He is the author of two cookbooks, You Can Do It, with Bryan Miller, the former restaurant critic for the New York Times and Stew Leonard’s Winning Recipes. He has also published two children’s books with his wife, Kim, on water safety: Stewie The Duck Learns to Swim and Swimming Lessons with Stewie The Duck. His newest children’s book, The Healthy Way, was published in February 2007 and focuses on helping children to learn how to incorporate healthy eating and activity in a fun, engaging way.

Stew will be presenting, “The Customer Is ALWAYS Right!” on October 26, 2010 at the 8th Annual North American Conference on Conference Management! Click here to learn more about the event.

Stew’s biography courtesy of StewLeonards.com