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Last Update: Tuesday July 14, 2020

Key Idea: Test New Ideas

The third generation of leadership has created their own work by launching new divisions.

Key Question:


Take a risk to try an idea, but start small.

Q: How did the new products and services at Joe T's come into being?

A: Slowly. Jodi says that all of their new product successes started with a little idea that someone thought would be fun to do. Someone thought, let's have a bakery. There is no place for Mexicans and lovers of Mexican bread products to buy them in Fort Worth or Dallas. Then someone said, everyone loves our hot sauce so let's bottle it and customers can take it home. Hope's mother said, let's add the swimming pool so the kids can swim.

You can carefully test an idea before you invest too much time and money in it. Let the marketplace tell you if you can make money on it or not. By starting small, no one suffers too much if the customers don't buy.

Think about it

What should you test right now? What do you think your customers need or want?

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

Test New Ideas

HOPE: As the years went by we expanded ... my children couldn't go anywhere; they really had to work a lot. They didn't have a lot of recreation. So my mother decided to give them a pool, and that's how we got the pool.

That way they would have some entertainment, and their friends would come over and swim at night and they had a good time. So that was one reason that we got it. Then it became a patio.

People liked it out here, and we started putting tables and they started eating on the patio. And then Lanny and David decided to make it bigger, and it's been going since now, the whole box patio.

HATTIE: So in the spring and the summer you double your seating capacity.

HOPE: We sure do. Testing ideas.

JODI: Really, the pool was for the kids to swim in, for the younger children. And now, you know, it's a big attraction. People want to come sit by the pool, and that was just a little idea. `Why don't we sit outside?' And now everybody has a patio, and I think we were one of the first. Yeah. And I don't think anyone has one this big or this pretty.

HATTIE: So, cultivate the idea?

JODI: You've got to. And if it doesn't work, go to the next idea, see if it works. And that's what they did. That's kind of the philosophy out here. You got to take a chance. And it's those little bitty ideas that take off. I mean, the bakery started out as a take-out place; now it's huge.

HATTIE: Right.

JODI: And that was just supposed to be a little bitty thing. And the hot sauce started out as we were just gong to deliver it to a grocery store. So just these little ideas take off. And another thing that we really feel, if we like it and we enjoy doing it and we sit down and we eat something, we say, `You know, this tastes really good,' then someone else is going to like it, too. Everything we've done out here has been, `Well, I think, we'll bring a lot of our old customers in and ask, `What do you think?'

HATTIE: You do product testing?

JODI: Oh, yes.

HATTIE: Jim, you know that Joe T.'s doesn't take credit cards. Do you think that's smart? Do you think they should get on the bandwagon?

JIM ROGERS: I think Joe T.'s takes very good care of their customers, and they know what their customers like and what their customers need. And as those needs change, the restaurant has always adapted to those needs. And right now they take checks. A lot of their customers are regulars, and they know when they come out here that they don't take credit cards. And so I don't really see, for their particular customers, that they really need to at this time.

HATTIE: OK. And it improves their profit margin, right?

JIM: It improves their profit margin by not having to pay those costs, that's right. And it helps to keep their prices affordable for their customers.

HOPE: Anything the people would ask for we would give them.

HATTIE: Customers?

HOPE: Yes, because we knew we could do it.

HATTIE: Now that's something that a small-business owner needs, is confidence that they can do it.

HOPE: Confidence that you can do it, sure. And you can do it. Just make up your mind, you can do it.

HATTIE: And even if you don't know, you go figure it out?

HOPE: You can figure it out, if you like to cook. See, we like to cook.

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