One of the things [Aaron] did was go out and hire great car people.” When he tapped Barron to run the dealership in 1999, he knew he made the right decision. “You couldn’t ask for a more hardworking, honest guy,” says Aaron about his general manager, who had 12 years of experience in auto sales before the appointment.
Hank Aaron BMW is growing its business by focusing on customer service. It consistently tries to beat the customer satisfaction index — a benchmark set by BMW corporate. Since inception, Hank Aaron BMW has exceeded the goal with a year-to-date return of 95.2% in sales and service. For 2003, it received $1 million. To keep its ratings high, the dealership has added service programs like Airport Signature Service. Hank Aaron BMW utilizes off-site airport parking. It has shuttles that take customers to their gate, and their vehicles are cleaned and serviced the day before their flight returns.
Today, Aaron’s legend endures, as witnessed on April 8, 2004 — the 30th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record. One after another, his former secretary, the cop that protected him during his famous home run chase, and numerous colleagues stopped by his office facing Turner Field to congratulate him on his big night, dubbed Hank Aaron Night. “He’s part of the DNA of the team,” says Terence McGuirk, chairman and president of the Atlanta Braves. “My response for anyone who asks is that I want him to be a member of the Atlanta Braves executive staff forever.” McGuirk recalls the hundreds of thousands of hours he and Aaron spent together as members of the board of Turner Broadcasting System Inc. poring over legal documents during a tumultuous time in 1995 when Time Warner was considering purchasing Turner Broadcasting.
Just two years after selling the Arby’s stores, Belatti — now CEO of AFC Enterprises, the flagship company of the Church’s and Popeye’s chains — offered Aaron the opportunity to go back into the franchise business. On Jan. 1, 1996, Aaron opened two Church’s restaurants and has since grown the business (housed under 755 Restaurant Corp.) to 19 restaurants, including 13 Church’s, five Popeye’s, and one Krispy Kreme franchise, with sales growing from $1.4 million to a projected $17 million. All of the locations are based in Georgia, except for two Church’s locations in North Carolina and one site in South Carolina.
Aaron still takes a hands-on approach to the fast food business, instilling a simple, effective strategy for growth: good customer service, a great management team, and, at all times, a focus on cleanliness. “His main thing is cleanliness — his pet peeve. It’s helped me [see] that you can walk into a restaurant and find 10,000 things to focus on, so we make it an issue,” says Victor Haydel, president of 755 Restaurant Corp. and son-in-law of Aaron. They even hired an in-house inspection/compliance person to review quality control issues such as service quality, temperature of products, and preparation.
There is also a customer comment number posted in every store as