Five Business Lessons From the Famous San Diego Chicken

Almost everyone has an iconic figure that they respect and admire. For some folks that might be a president, athlete, author or musician. For me, it’s the Famous San Diego Chicken. His story of success is not only captivating but also inspirational.

Almost everyone has an iconic figure that they respect and admire. For some folks that might be a president, athlete, author or musician. For me, it’s the Famous San Diego Chicken. His story of success is not only captivating but also inspirational. The fact that the Chicken created a well-known brand in San Diego and throughout the United States is truly “im-peck-able” and something business owners should strive to achieve.

Famous San Diego Chicken

Recently, Red Door Interactive had the great fortune to sit down with the Chicken and learn first-hand how he produced and sustained such a prominent international brand since 1974. From his everyday game appearances to the notorious “Grand Hatching,” actor Ted Giannoulas learned how to attract and connect with thousands of fans through grassroots marketing efforts. Here are five lessons straight from the Chicken’s mouth.

1) Take risks.
One of the greatest things a company can do is to let down their guard and take risks. For example, the Chicken suggested that greater opportunities present themselves when individuals are more exposed and open up. In the business world, some organizations are afraid to take the risk of engaging in social media because of the potential backlash. However, taking such leaps and letting the guard down has the potential to produce greater connections and allows customers to see a side of the company that perhaps they didn’t see or know before. While some companies are guarded in their tactics, others are more willing to take chances and find success in doing so.

2) Be passionate.
During our interview, the Chicken’s passion for everything he does was very apparent. As Ted stated, “I do it immensely and intensely.” He lives for building relationships with his fans, putting smiles on their faces and creating a bonding experience. That’s what it’s all about! If organizations are passionate in what they do, it will show. If companies put forth 110 percent effort, achieving the overarching goals shouldn’t be an issue.

3) Lead with confidence.
Not only do executives need to know how to lead, but they need to do it with confidence. The Chicken was successful in building an incredible fan base because of the aura he always exhibited and his ability to act as a leader. Companies have the ability to be viewed in the same way and develop a great following as well. For example, Red Door executives and team members take pride in being leaders in our industry. By doing so, we offer our experts as sources on various marketing topics and host regular speaking events to educate others on growing trends.

4) Take from various places.
Today, businesses have access to endless marketing tactics that allow them to engage with customers. Various touch points enable organizations to communicate and build relationships or brand loyalty. For example, businesses can tap into mobile and social media in order to connect with people having different preferences. If executives can take elements from a multitude of sources to create something unique, the end product has a great shot at success.

5) Deliver what you sell.
The Chicken re-introduced himself through a “Grand Hatching” event at a Padres game. At the time, the Padres were pulling in crowds of around 18,000, but on this fateful Friday night, the Chicken created enough buzz and excitement to bring in more than 47,000 fans. The Chicken promised his audience a night to remember and he was successful because he sold that sizzle. He pledged to provide three hours of fun on a Friday night and he delivered. The trick is to deliver. When individuals and companies can hold true to what they sell, they build instant credibility and fans follow from there. The same holds true in the business world. If your company promises to do something, they better make it happen. If they don’t, there will be consequences to suffer. .


The Chicken’s words of wisdom were certainly inspiring. He showed his true colors and what it takes to build a connection with fans. Because of his success, determination and ability to deliver what he promises, he’s created an international brand that millions have come to know and love. The Chicken’s story and path to success includes great advice that business executives in any industry can apply. The entire video interview can be viewed at:

Reid Carr is president of Red Door Interactive, an Internet Presence Management firm with offices in San Diego and Denver that helps organizations profit from their Web initiatives. Clients include Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp, PETCO, Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill and Cricket Communications. Connect with him @icowboy.