Robert Rainsford is a twenty-eight-year-old facing a major turning point in his life. He has found himself unemployed for the first time since he was fifteen years old. Robert holds a BS degree in marketing from the University of Rhode Island. After graduation, a firm that specialized in developing web presences for other companies hired him. He worked for that firm for the last seven years in New York City.
Robert rose rapidly through the company’s ranks, eventually becoming one of the firm’s vice presidents. Unfortunately, during the last recession, the firm suffered significant losses and engaged in extensive downsizing, so Robert lost his job. He spent months looking for a comparable position, yet even with an excellent résumé, nothing seemed to be on the horizon. Not wanting to exhaust his savings and finding it impossible to maintain a low-cost residence in New York City, he returned to his hometown in Fairfield, Connecticut, a suburban community not too far from the New York state border.
He found a small apartment near his parents. As a stopgap measure, he went back to work with his father, who is the owner of a restaurant—Frank’s All-American BarBeQue. His father, Frank, started the restaurant in 1972. It is a midsize restaurant—with about eighty seats— that Frank has built up into a relatively successful and locally well-known enterprise. The restaurant has been at its present location since the early 1980s. It shares a parking lot with several other stores in the small mall where it is located. The restaurant places an emphasis on featuring the food and had a highly simplified décor, where tables are covered with butcher paper rather than linen tablecloths.
Robert’s father has won many awards at regional and national barbecue cook-offs, which is unusual for a business in New England. He has won for both his barbecue food and his sauces. The restaurant has been repeatedly written up in the local and New York papers for the quality of its food and the four special Frank’s All- American BarBeQue sauces. The four sauces correspond to America’s four styles of barbecue—Texan, Memphis, Kansas City, and Carolina. In the last few years, Frank had sold small lots of these sauces in the local supermarket.
As a teenager, Robert, along with his older sister Susan, worked in his father’s restaurant. During summer vacations while attending college, he continued to work in the restaurant. Robert had never anticipated working full-time in the family business, even though he knew his father had hoped that he would do so. By the time he returned to his hometown, his father had accepted that neither Robert nor Susan would be interested in taking over the family business. In fact, Frank had started to think about selling the business and retiring. However, Robert concluded that his situation called for what he saw as desperate measures.
Initially, Robert thought his employment at his father’s business was a temporary measure while he continued his job search. Interestingly, within the first few weeks he returned to the business, he felt that he could bring his expertise in marketing— particularly his web marketing focus—to his father’s business. Robert became very enthusiastic about the possibility of fully participating in the family business. He thought about either expanding the size of the restaurant, adding a takeout option, or creating other locations outside his hometown. Robert looked at the possibility of securing a much larger site within his hometown to expand the restaurant’s operations. He began to scout surrounding communities for possible locations. He also began to map out a program to effectively use the web to market Frank’s All- American BarBeQue sauce and, in fact, to build it up to a whole new level of operational sophistication in marketing.
Robert recognized that the restaurant was as much of a child to his father as he and his sister were. He knew that if he were to approach his father with his ideas concerning expanding Frank’s All-American BarBeQue, he would have to think very carefully about the options and proposals he would present to his father. Frank’s All- American BarBeQue was one of many restaurants in Fairfield, but it is the only one that specializes in barbecue. Given the turnover in restaurants, it was amazing that Frank had been able to not only survive but also prosper. Robert recognized that his father was obviously doing something right. As a teenager, he would always hear his father saying the restaurant’s success was based on “giving people great simple food at a reasonable price in a place where they feel comfortable.” He wanted to make sure that the proposals he would present to his father would not destroy Frank’s recipe for success.
Question 1: Discuss how Robert should explicitly consider the customer value currently offered by Frank’s All-American BarBeQue. In your discussion, comment on Newman and Gross’s five types of value and the perceived costs. (500 words)
Question 4: Frank Rainsford has been, in effect, the CEO of Frank’s All-American BarBeQue since its inception. His major role has been that of restaurant manager, receiving support from his assistant manager Ed Tobor for the last fourteen years. Frank has two children, a son and daughter, who both worked in the restaurant as teenagers. His daughter has worked periodically at the restaurant since she graduated from high school. Frank’s son, who recently lost his job, has returned to work for his father. The son produced several plans to expand the business, including the opening of a second restaurant and the extensive use of social media. After careful consideration, Frank has decided to open a second restaurant, but this has presented him with a major problem—how to assign responsibilities to personnel. His son wants to be designated the restaurant manager of the second restaurant and made the vice president of marketing. Ed Tobor also wants to be the manager of the new restaurant. His daughter has expressed an interest in being the manager of either restaurant. How should Frank resolve this problem? (Hint: How (what needs to be considered) should it be solved, not what are the roles they should be assigned). (500 words)
Question 6: Frank’s All-American BarBeQue is planning to significantly expand its takeout business. Currently, customers come into the restaurant and order from the menu. With the new Darien facility and website, customers will be able to order online or fax an order to the restaurant. Frank and Robert have been arguing over how to structure the takeout portion of their operations. Frank wants to maintain the approach where customers order items from the menu. Robert believes that in today’s world, it would be more convenient for customers to order complete prepackaged meals. Father and son have argued about the nature of these meals. Frank has suggests a limited number of standard meals that could be prepared during the day and sold in the evening when commuters are returning home. However, this might mean that excess inventory would be built up on unwanted items. Robert wants to offer greater variety. These would include a main course, two side dishes, and a dessert. Because there could be a large number of combinations, most would have to be made after the receipt of an order. The “rush” to make these
meals would drive up costs. How would you go about pricing these two types of meals? (Hint: Pricing objective and pricing strategies need to be considered)
Question 7: In the Appendix (Chapter 16 “Appendix: A Sample Business Plan”), you will find the business plan for Frank’s All-American BarBeQue. This plan examined several possible locations for a second restaurant. Frank and Robert considered several factors when evaluating alternative towns as possible locations. Some of these included population size, average income, travel times, and percentage of population. Based on the data, they selected Darien, Connecticut. Do you agree with the decision? Why or why not? Do you think other factors should have been considered? If yes, what would you recommend?