During college, there was this fried chicken restaurant we would occasionally go to, called Bobo’s Chicken. It was run by one guy out of a food truck and he had the most unique recipe. The chicken was smoked, fried, smoked again, then drizzled with honey. He only accepted cash and each meal was in increments of 5 dollars. 5 dollars for a 3 piece, 10 dollars for a 6 piece, 15 dollars for a 12 piece, and 20 dollars for the 20 piece. It was a pretty simple concept. And it was amazing. We probably would have gone a lot, if it weren’t for a few things.
They were only open Friday and Saturday.
The hours were 10pm to 2am.
In a bad part of town.
30 minutes away.
Eating at Bobo’s was such a rare thing, we’d go maybe once a semester. Of course, it always came with a big build up. First, get a big group of people together. Second, find a car large enough for all our friends. Third, drive 30 minutes to Bobo’s.
The chicken was always worth it. Period.
Bobo’s popped up during my freshmen year of college. It wasn’t close to anything, in the middle of nowhere, in a crap part of town, out of a food truck. So what made it so great? It was the experience. There was fried chicken all over the city. What made us keep coming back?
It was different.
First, the chicken was so.damn.good. Fried, smoked, and drizzled with honey. Where else are you going to get that?? Certainly not KFC.
Second, the experience was unique. It was open when most things were closed and in a shady part of town you’d never dare venture. Part of the allure was the struggle to get there. Finding a car big enough to fit all our friends and a big enough group that we felt safe.
Third, Bobo’s personality was awesome. He was constantly laughing and joking with his regulars. Newcomers would come up asking for change and he would laugh. When you would order he would yell it back to the cooks. And the way he said “fi’ dollas” made it unique. Bobo made chicken buying and eating, fun.
The first year we went, only a handful of locals were hanging around buying chicken. Us college kids stuck out like a sore thumb. But when something is that good, word spreads.
And, pretty soon word spread...
By our senior year, there were lines leading to the food truck. We started noticing we weren’t the only college kids. Colleges all over the Dallas metro area had heard about Bobo’s, turning it into a hot spot on the weekends.
BE LIKE BOBO
In a crowded market, it’s easy to follow trends and conform to what you see everyone else doing. Bobo could have been a 9-9 chicken shop. But, he didn’t. He stayed true to himself. He found a unique recipe, unique times, and a unique personality. All of the basics are there, but he added his special touch.
It’s like the creative industry. It’s easy to see snapshots of other people’s work on platforms like Dribbble, Behance, Instagram, and Twitter. Inevitably, these platforms develop a look. Younger designers start copying older designers who have a larger following, leading to a cycle of repetitiveness.
Don’t be like that, be like Bobo.
Don’t get caught up looking at all the trends or trying to be like someone else. They figured out their voice and created a buzz for themselves. If you copy them, you’ll only add more noise to the mix. You’ll be just another 9-9 fried chicken shop on the corner.
What’s the twist that makes you different? For Bobo, it was being open at different hours and smoking his fried chicken. Maybe yours is surfing or painting. I gather a great deal of inspiration from Jeeps and model airplanes. Here at Zaengle, we believe in Being Nice and Doing Good. This enables us to focus on quality over speed for the people we serve. Also, having a distributed team allows us to spend time on things that matter to us most in life, which is poured back into the work we do.
Your voice can come from anywhere. Where do you find yours?
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