Papa John's International
Founder: John Schnatter
The competition: Pizza Hut, Domino's
Strategy: Made taste an issue in ads; used Pizza-Hut-cofounder-turned-Papa-John's-franchisee Frank Carney as symbol of new allegiances.
Take that! In 1998, Papa John's topped $1 billion in systemwide sales.
Founders: Jim Clark & Mark Andreesen
The competition: Microsoft
Strategy: Devised marketing, product development and distribution tactics to make the competition irrelevant; key figure in government's antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.
Take that! $447.8 million in sales for fiscal 1998 (10-month year); company acquired last year by America Online for $4.2 billion; at press time, antitrust suit still pending.
Ben & Jerry's
Founders: Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenberg
The competition: Haagen-Dazs
Strategy: When Haagen-Dazs tried to muscle Ben & Jerry's out of supermarket distribution in 1984, the Vermont company filed suit and launched its famous "What's the Doughboy Afraid of?" campaign (in reference to Haagen-Dazs' former parent company Pillsbury).
Take that! In 1998, Ben & Jerry's sold $209 million worth of ice cream and frozen yogurt, largely through supermarkets.
Founders: Herb Kelleher & Rollin King
The competition: American, United and other major airlines
Strategy: Took flight by focusing on profitable routes; created supermotivated work force capable of breaking through industry-accepted barriers to efficiency and customer service.
Take that! 1998 sales topped $4 billion.
Data Staar, (806) 372-5151
Just For Feet, (205)408-3000, http://www.feet.com
Papi Inc., (212)741-3978
Stonewall Gourmet Coffee Co., (888)STONEWAL, http://www.stonewallinc.com
Tucker's Best Brands Plus, (901)298-8500, http://www.bestbrandsplus.com