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It Is All About the Culture -- the Service Culture

Bogart Yogurt Celebrates 17 Years with a Culture of their Own

By: William “Billy-O” Orilio, MHS

Culture: to introduce (living material) into a culture medium

How does one open a business in a 700 square foot retail space, grow with steady and determined success over 17 years, and still occupy the same 700 square feet? One only needs to visit frozen yogurt purveyor Bogart Yogurt, in San Diego’s Pacific Beach community (910 Grand Ave), to witness a living example. Bogart’s customers know it is all about the culture--the service culture, that is--that has proven with its time tested formula: when businesses stay true to their quality of service and product, they perform better and end up stronger.

We all know yogurt isn’t yogurt without culture.  Over the last 17 years Bogart Yogurt has perfected a culture of its own, the “Life is Good” (LIG) service culture, born out of intuition, then cultivated and executed with perfection.

Culture doesn’t just happen, it takes time and patience. Culture it has to be handled properly to have the right outcome. While culture sits on the top its real place is blended well into the mix, the mix which makes for a successful hospitality food service business.  Then and only then can one appreciate the need for and the purpose of culture.

The culture at the center of Bogart Yogurt is:

The quality in a person that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in one’s development or improvement of the mind by education and training, be it an employee or customer, to continue to improve ones life.
Owner/operator Kristina Lei has cultivated this small business to new heights through her simple belief that “Life is GOOD” in a down economy, and that “Life is GREAT” in the best of economic times. This philosophy is instilled in every employee from day one and has an infectious result that is felt by longtime and first-time patrons alike.

The “LIG” culture simply states that life is “GOOD”.  Even in a down economy, life is good, and when you can project that to your employees and the employees can instill that in their brand-based loyal customers, it only takes a little turn of an economy like this current one, for the “Life is Good” culture to become “Life is GREAT”.

Life is Good is a trademarked phrase. Anyone can tout a cup, shirt, hat or a jacket that advertises Life is Good as a brand.  But the “Life is Good” culture is not something you can buy or something you can wear, it is something that is felt from within. It has to do with internal training and development. It is passed on to the thousands of customers who have passed through the doors in the past 17 years of Bogart Yogurt.

Beyond understanding their employees, Bogart Yogurt knows their customers at a deeper level. Kristina Lei and her team stay loyal to their regulars and clearly enjoy themselves while they are working.  This is all part of a winning combination that has created Bogart Yogurt’s culture.

Anybody can sell frozen yogurt and thousands of places are doing just that. But to do it for 17 years and keep customers happy, coming back time after time, takes more than just selling a product. It takes developing a culture of its own. 

Of special note: Bogart Yogurt is not one of my clients. I am extremely proud to say in my 60,000 plus hours of observations in the hospitality industry, I’ve never seen anyone who exudes culture like Bogart Yogurt and its owner, Kristina Lei.  A culture that is so easy to piece together and make, yet so hard to perfect.  Hat’s off to Kristina for a job well done. Here’s to 17 more years of happiness and success. You truly have created a culture of your own.

William “Billy-O” Orilio is the owner of HOSPITALITY CONSULTANTS, a San Diego based hospitality consulting company, which specializes in Private Investigations and “Mystery Shopping”. 


William F. Orilio, MHS
William Orilio Hospitality Consultants
4490 Fanuel Street #222
San Diego, CA 92109 

Also See: The Secret to Customer Satisfaction / William Orilio / January 2008
Salt & Pepper Shakers Being Purloined? Retail Them! / William Orilio, MHS / Feb 2003



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