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What I Learned From Tacos

Glen Bell is the original founder of Taco Bell. Next to him, the most influential leader in the firm’s history was the late John Martin who, as company president from 1983 to 1996, transformed Taco Bell from a regional fast food player into the multi-national brand it is today.

I recall hearing Mr. Martin talk about his early approach to finding retail locations. As a young executive, rather than simply depend on brokerage reports, he would pack snacks, fill a thermos, and park his car where he could observe the comings and goings of target customers around the proposed site. He’d walk the area and see for himself the competition and other nearby businesses. In other words, he put in the time and did the legwork.

Old school to be sure.

I thought of Mr. Martin while viewing a recent on-line tech talk from a senior representative at a major real estate brokerage. The exec was lauding his firm’s ability to make real estate recommendations for his clients anywhere in the country “sight unseen.” In short, he believes that technology exists that enables his firm to do things fast and easy. (And then cash the commission check).

He was very proud of this capability. As for me, I wanted to take a shower.

At Rubicon, we have invested heavily in developing a proprietary market research platform that we use extensively on our clients’ behalf. But when the time comes, we get on planes, rent cars, walk the streets and view potential credit union branch and HQ locations with our own eyes.

Technology is great and we use it every single day, but nothing replaces real-world observation and good old-fashioned shoe leather.

Just like John Martin did.

Corey A. Waite is the leading commercial real estate advisor to the credit union industry. As Founder and CEO of Rubicon Concierge Real Estate Services, Corey works directly with senior Credit Union leadership to deliver strategic plans and transactional services focused on headquarters and branch locations alike. With a clear understanding of the unique mission and challenges of the Credit Union industry, Rubicon’s expertise and service is truly unique and value-added. You can reach the Rubicon Team at +1 (213) 462-2810.

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