One of my ALL TIME favorite entrepreneurs is JW Marriott. I wanted to share how he evolved a simple soda shop into the hotel empire!
1927 – The Great Idea is Born!
JW visits Washington D.C. on a hot sunny day and thought he could get rich by serving cold drinks. So, he opened up a A&W Root Beer franchise to do just that!
1928 – The Invention of the “Drive Thru”
More Americans had cars and so he invented “Service In Your Car” or as we know it now as a “Drive Thru”. The core idea was serve customers faster and make it easier – why make people get out of their cars?
1934 – Family Restaurant & Expanding
JW Marriott converted his A&W Root Beer stand into a low budget family restaurant and did a complete rebrand, calling it “The Hot Shoppe”.
JW and his wife/business partner, Alice Marriott, focused on opening more restaurants across the east coast.
1937 – Invented in-flight food services
JW noticed customers were “Driving Thru” and getting on a flight. He thought why not make things easier on his customers and just provide the food directly on the flight itself.
1955 – Food Catering
Started providing food catering services to government buildings, public schools, and hospitals. If you can’t get the customer to come to you why not just go to them – serve them food right where they work!
1957 – Opens First Hotel
All those people traveling on planes have to sleep somewhere. So they conveniently opened their first 365-room hotel right next to the airport.
Fun Fact: Daily Rates were $8/night
1958 and Onwards
Hotel expansion domination.
… and the rest is history. By constantly looking at where the customer is and how to make their life easier Marriott was able to transform a small time soda shop into a multi billion dollar corporation.
If you want to learn more checkout this awesome 45 minute documentary on JW Marriott.
The reason I love this story so much is Marriott makes creating a multi billion dollar company really easy, all you need to do is listen to your customers!
Special thanks to Priya Sheth for editing this post.