Publix has ranked number one out of supermarkets on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, published by the University of Michigan, since it began 14 years ago, whereas Wal-Mart ranks last. Publix employees have a reputation for going out of their way to please customers—testimony to the motivational power of employee ownership, perhaps. Publix employees put your shopping into bags, take it to the car and refuse tips—unless you offer more than once. They own 31% of the firm through an employee share-ownership plan, making Publix the largest employee-owned company in America.So, Publix has satisfied customers, but is is profitable? When it comes to groceries, Publix profits are 40% higher than Wal-Mart's. Return on average equity: Publix 24%, Wal-Mart 21%.Economist (paid registration required)
The employee stock plan puts it in the same category as Starbucks, another company with satisfied customers. Good luck, Publix.