- Farrell proved that you could run a successful business employing young people.
- Specializes in the topic of customer service.
The need to earn his own money started early. The Depression tore apart the Brooklyn automobile dealership owned by his grandfather and operated by his father. Farrell’s father died, leaving his mother penniless. She did the best she could, but within a year Farrell and his sister were put into a home for children.
Farrell joined the sales force of Libby. He loved selling and remained there for 12 years, eventually becoming a sales manager. But he kept thinking about an unhappy experience he and his family had one hot afternoon. They tried to find a place to get sundaes and wound up in a hotel dining room, where the waiter made it clear he would have preferred a big spender. The more Farrell thought about this, the more evident it became to him that there was a real need for the return of the ice cream parlor.
The first Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant opened in 1963 in Portland, Oregon. By 1972, there were 65 restaurants in his chain. Farrell proved that you could run a successful business employing young people. His restaurants hired mostly high school and college students, whom he trained to be enthusiastic and service-oriented. He and his partner sold the chain to Marriott, for whom Farrell served as a vice president for five years.
Farrell has served as chairman of the Pacific Coast Restaurant Merchants, which owns a fast-food outlet and several seafood restaurants. Today. He is a full-time speaker who specializes in the topic of customer service. His schedule takes him around the country and around the world, addressing major companies and corporations. Farrell makes it a point to always mention his Horatio Alger Award in the introduction of his speeches. “It is a symbol that anyone can make a dream come true.”