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Key Idea: Become an Icon

Dallas people drive to Fort Worth to eat at this extraordinary place.  If you make it to Joe T's, bring cash because plastic is not accepted.     Homepage

Key Question:


Becoming an icon the old-fashioned way takes years.  However, some have achieved this more quickly with either big marketing budgets or quirkiness.

It is a worthy goal if you plan to be in business for a lifetime or for your business to continue beyond your lifetime. The big benefit of being an icon is your customers tend to give you uncritical devotion. They talk about you. They refer you to their friends. And, they buy from you anytime they want the thing that you have to sell.
Q: What does it take to be an icon?

A: Most often we think of an icon as a visual image. The icon of San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge. This doesn't mean that you have to build an edifice but Joe T's does have its original location which is the home Hope's parents lived in when Hope was growing up.

We heard a customer say that when people come to Fort Worth they want to go to Joe Ts and part of the charm is the physical location. Therefore, to be an icon, establish an image from which you do not waiver. It may not be a building, it could be your logo which transmits your corporate personality and all icons have a definite personality.

Next, your product or service can not waiver. Hope said the restaurant launched with one choice and since 1935 they have continued to serve the items that were served on that first plate. The recipes have not changed.

To become an icon, think hard before you throw the baby out with the bath. If you still make money on the products you launched with, keep offering them even though you might add new items. You can't become an icon if you confuse your customers. They must think of you when they think of your product or service.

Think about it

Do you want to become an icon? Are you willing to make the kind of commitment that we see at Joe T. Garcia's?

Clip from: Joe T. Garcia's, a family restaurant

Fort Worth: Recognized by the James Beard Foundation for their outstanding regional cuisine, this family restaurant is truly a celebrated landmark in the USA.

Hope LanCarte is a first-generation American and the matriarch of a family business that her father began in 1935. Within three generations, this place has become a celebrated landmark, paradise on earth, "The Miracle on Commerce"  Hope's father came from Mexico with nothing. And today, this family has everything.

What happens when a family works together, pulls together, and stays together for three generations? Impossible? In this episode of the show we find proof positive that it is possible. When a family coheres and works toward a common goal, miracles happen.

Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant

Jody LanCarte, Public Relations

2201 N Commerce St
Fort Worth, TX 76164 ‎ , TX 76164 ‎

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1939

Become an Icon

HATTIE: Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant. Since the Pilgrims, waves of immigrants looking for freedom and opportunity have come to the USA. In the 18th Century, my own family fled religious persecution in France to make a new home in America.
Many new Americans start businesses because they know how to or because no one will hire them. And, many prosper from hard work and family unity.

The Baylor Family Institute says that over 90 percent of US-based small businesses are family businesses (approximately 22 million businesses), and we've introduced you to many of them here, but nothing like you'll meet today.

Hope LanCarte, the matriarch of Joe T. Garcia's Mexican restaurant in Ft. Worth, Texas, has never had a job. She grew up in the kitchen of her parents' restaurant, and unlike her siblings, she never left.

If you watch SMALL BUSINESS SCHOOL regularly, you know we're a how-to program about starting, running and growing a business. And our technique is to take you inside the business and let the business owner tell you exactly how they do what they do. No gurus, no journalists and no academics in our Master Class. Today you'll meet people who have never had a job, who don't know what 9 to 5 is, and who never intend to stop doing what they're doing.

(Voiceover) This corner has been one of the most popular spots in Ft. Worth for more than three generations. It's Joe T. Garcia's -- "Joe T.'s" to the locals -- who pack this restaurant and bakery every day at lunch and dinner. They come for more than the great food. It's the Joe T. experience. Among the regular customers are Joe T.'s accounting firm of Brantley, Frazier & Rogers. They came for lunch, along with Nan Frazier, who's eaten here since she was a child.

NAN FRAZIER: It's just like an institution. People come from all over the United States, and they want to go to Joe T.'s.


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