Follow Here To Purchase Tough Man, Tender Chicken: Business and Life Lessons from Frank Perdue

Author: Mitzi Perdue

Publisher: Significance Press

ISBN 978-0-9907574-1-2

Mitzi Perdue, author of Tough Man, Tender Chicken, is the widow of Frank Perdue, founder of Perdue Chicken. (2014, back cover) Mrs. Perdue did not ride in on the coat-tails of her husband, but came from a very noteworthy family herself. Her father was co-founder of Sheraton Hotels, Ernest Henderson. She learned the importance of hard work and an education at an early age. Her background includes a BA in government from Harvard University, as well as, a masters degree in public administration from George Washington University. She has previously been a syndicated columnist for Capital News and Scripps Howard. She has always been passionate about food, agriculture, and business, the cornerstones to her and Frank’s success. Mrs. Perdue was past president of American Agri-Women and Commissioner on US National Commission on Libraries and Information Sciences. (2014, p.273)

Regarding the energy level, persistence, and intelligence of Frank Mitzi says “…were all on a stratospheric level.” (2014, preface) She states that his attention to detail was keen and helped to keep his business on track.

Frank did not graduate from college all though he did attempt to attend. He went to Salisbury State Teacher’s College from 1937 to 1939. (paraphrase, 2014, p.3) It was during his time at Salisbury State Teacher’s College that he met Mitzi and married her in 1941. (p.4)

Frank’s father was an egg farmer. He raised chickens to sell their eggs. Chicken was in Frank’s blood and he just pushed this idea a step further by raising chicken and devising a good diet/feed mill to create a healthy and succulent chicken for resale. His efforts were spot on!

Each chapter offers the reader some insight into Frank’s ideas about how to run a successful business. For instance, “You don’t need to start out a genius.” (2014, p.7) In the infancy of Frank’s business people did not necessarily believe he would become the success he did. “Extra care and effort pay off.” Frank’s attention to detail helped him to ensure that his products were the best ever.

By 1967, the Perdue Company had become one of the biggest producers of live chickens in the country and was supplying 800,000 chickens a week to commercial customers.” (2014, p.47) Items that Frank labored over at this time were whether or not the chicken should be packed in ice and frozen or simply held in a chill pack, do you want fowl fresh or frozen, etc.. (p.52-3) At each juncture Frank sought to learn all he could and that proclivity aided him in his success.

Other lessons attributed to Frank and his success was; “…research what the consumer wants and will want…translate that information into action…there’s more to a sale than price”…and lastly, “…The more you solve your customer’s problems, the more business you’ll get.” (2014, p.82) On all counts I totally agree.

I’ve read and reviewed many business books and Tough Man, Tender Chicken is one of the simplest, yet most effective I had the pleasure to read and review. Mitzi writes on a level that the most educated or the least educated can easily understand and put into place in their own lives and businesses. The tidbits of advice are simple and sage. I enjoyed it and believe you will too!