The company was started by Grant Hastings and Gus Baker. Grant Hastings was from Tulsa originally and always ate at a rib joint in North Tulsa called Tipton’s. Hastings served in Europe in World War II. While in Europe he did not get to eat anything like the smoked ribs that he so dearly loved from Tipton’s so he came up with an idea to build a grill. Rumor has it that he built a grill in Europe and cooked ribs for his division, but this has not been confirmed by anyone that works for the company.
When Mr. Hastings came up with the idea, he decided that if he made it back to Tulsa, he would build his own grill so he could eat the ribs whenever he wanted. Upon arriving back in Tulsa, Hastings began working and the first Hasty-Bake Charcoal Oven was produced in 1948 in Hastings own garage. Gus Baker saw the grill and they decided to begin manufacturing the grills as a business.
Hasty-Bake is a pioneer company. At the time Hasty-Bake was created, there were other grills but nothing like what Hasty-Bake had to offer. Not only did they make improvements on current grills and set the standard that continues today, they also created new grilling methods that were revolutionary at the time. The Hasty-Bake Model 131 Legacy is their best selling item. This shows how Hasty-Bake set the standard of grills because this is an exact copy of the original prototype grill built by Hastings in his garage in 1948. This grill retail is so popular that competitors have designed their grills to copy the size of this grill. Hasty-Bake pioneered different areas in grilling.
They created the first portable grill and the first hooded unit. These are two things that are considered to be common in the grilling world today. Hastings also designed a grill that would cook meat using an indirect heating method. The original Hasty-Bake was the first grill that controlled the heat intensity by utilizing a vent system. The small holes in the sides of the grill could by open to release heat and closed to contain heat within the grill. Hastings also invented the adjustable fire box that the coals sit in order to lower the coals and pull the heat away from the cooking meat.
Selecting the target market is an important factor in Hasty-Bake’s business model. The company sells its product at a higher price than its competitors so their target market must first and foremost have the means to purchase their products. Sales Manager Adam Meyers at Hasty-Bake described their target mart as: “We are looking for people who like to eat. The single biggest thing about cooking over charcoal is that there is a lot more work involved in it than buying food or ordering out. The people that are usually after our products are the people that like the finer foods because they have to go to a little bit more work but it’s going to have much better result.”
He then went on to say that they have to find people within this description that have the means (financially) to purchase their grills.
Hasty-Bake is looking at a small segment that wants their product and that has the means to purchase their product. Because of this, they primarily market locally. They run traditional print advertising in newspapers and BBQ magazines and a lot of cooperative advertising with other businesses within the Tulsa area. Hasty-Bake often donates products for a specific reason in order to jump into a larger marketing plan. They have some local television commercial as well as a few cable spots. They advertise online through their website.
Hasty-Bake is sold nationally through different independent retailers so they will often team up with one of these retailers in order to get a joint effort in marketing to that specific location. Most recently the company has been trying to market with new methods of advertisements online. They recently began a Hasty-Bake Facebook page and as Adam put it, “They will take any kind of free marketing that they can.”
The major strength of the company is their dedication to customer service. The customer has access to the company because of the small size of the company. The owner of the company is one level away at any time. If the customer ever wants to more than the worker is able to give them, they will always get in touch with the owner. Another advantage is the in house production of their products. If a customer wants something customized or needs a replacement part, the worker only needs to walk through a set of doors and tell the metal workers what is needed. It is not a long process passed through people.
One of their biggest weaknesses is also their size. Because the company is small, they are not able to take risk. The lack of ability to take risky opportunities prevents Hasty-Bake from growing at a quick rate. The company tends to make very conservative decisions with spending and investing. This prohibits the company from growing at the rate they wish.
BBQ has become very popular in recent years. In the words of Adam Meyers: “I liken it to bass fishing. As a kid I love to fish, but on TV there were only two guys Jimmy Houston and Rollin Martin. That was your only option. If you wanted to be a professional bass fisherman you could be on TV and that was really your only option. Now there are professional bass fishing tournaments, there are multiple tiers and levels and now you can make a six figure salary off of bass fishing. BBQ is headed the same way.”
BBQ started out as a backyard hobby and now through the Kansas City BBQ Society acting as a sanctioning body there are BBQ competitions throughout the country. They have gone from holding 130 competitions in 2002 to over 250 in 2009. There are also television shows now that focus on grilling and competition style BBQ. The company sees this increasing interest in BBQ as an opportunity.
The main threat within the last 10 years is the replication of their products. Hasty-Bake hires all American workers to build their grills. Larger companies with large financial backing are copying Hasty-Bake’s design and sending the manufacturing overseas for cheaper costs. Because of these copies, the internet is hurting Hasty-Bake. On the internet a consumer cannot see the quality difference between the two grills and are usually just looking for the cheapest price.
Porter’s 5 Forces
Hasty-Bake doesn’t look at specific brands or companies as competitors, but identifies individual products as their competitors. Adam lists their main competitors as the Big Green Egg, the Webber Kettle, and the Traeger Pellet Grill on a national level. Adam says it is difficult to name direct competitors because the company falls into a weird place. It is weird because it is hard to find another grill that does what the Hasty-Bake grills can do. Most grills are either a basic grill, or a smoker, but a Hasty-Bake can do both of these.
Threat of Substitution
Adam contributes the versatility and extended life of the Hasty-Bake grill to the reason that it is hard to find a substitute. He says that someone that goes to Home Depot or Lowes wanting to buy a grill on a given weekend is not seen as a competitor because they are not in the target market of Hasty-Bake. Hasty-Bake is looking for the consumer that does research and knows what they are looking for in a grill before purchasing. The main problem is not that there is substitution for their grills, but that the average consumer is uninformed about grills and does not realize the difference between most grills and Hasty-Bake grills. Because of the uninformed consumers, many people who are in the target market do not purchase Hasty-Bakes that would prefer a Hasty-Bake.
Threat of New Competitors
The company is not worried about new competitors. Out of the company’s 62 years many companies have entered the industry and failed. Hasty-Bake has a strong reputation and is able is compete with new companies on their name recognition alone.
Bargaining Power of Customers
The prices at Hasty-Bake are set so the customer does not have bargaining power unless they are requesting a specially made grill or an outdoor kitchen. Even with these specialty items, Hasty-Bake is known enough for their quality that the bargaining power of the consumer is low because they are willing to pay the high price of a Hasty-Bake.
Bargaining Power of Suppliers
Because Hasty-Bake is so small, they do not require large amounts of metal compared to other companies that use steel. Since they do not require much steel, it is easy to find new suppliers that are capable of filling Hasty-Bake’s orders for steel. Adam said the company finds new suppliers on a monthly basis all within a close range of the company. Because of this the bargaining power of the suppliers is low.
Hasty-Bake has competitive advantage in several areas over its competitors. The company especially has competitive advantage in the Tulsa area where consumers can easily drive to the business location. Below are the areas the company sees as having an advantage: 1) The Name – Hasty-Bake has been in operation in the Tulsa area for over 60 years. It was established as a top brand and in the 1960 was one of the top 5 grill companies known across the United States. Consumers know the name as high quality and a good value. The company has gained the trust and is a name that will come up in any BBQ grilling discussion.
2) Hand Made – All Hasty-Bakes are made in house by American workers. The company takes pride that the production factory is in the same building as the headquarters. Because of the location, it is easy for the owner of the company to walk back and check on the production and it is easy to modify production if needed.
3) Versatility – Hasty-Bake was the first to invent multiple parts of the grill and know how to utilize these parts to their fullest potential. The grills can raise the firebox
4) Quality – Hasty-Bakes have a long life span. They also do not break easily and if they do, the company makes it easy to receive a replacement part. Because the grills last so long, they tend to get dirty before they break because most people do not properly clean their grills. The company offers an option to refurbish grills and clean them instead of purchasing a new grill.
5) Diversity – Hasty-Bakes do more than just grill. Most outdoor cookers are grills or smokers, but a Hasty-Bake does both. This allows a Hasty-Bake grill to properly cook more item of foods for different occasions.
6) Grilling Classes – Hasty-Bake offers grilling classes to help grillers understand how to utilize a Hasty-Bake’s versatility to grill different types of foods. They also offer excellent recipe ideas.
7) Outdoor Kitchens – Hasty-Bake build kitchens around their grills. While most people will build an outdoor kitchen then furnish it, Hasty-Bake will build from the grill up. When trying to compare the advantage of a Hasty-Bake grill, Adam recommended that it be shown, not only described. The company contributes the advantages of each individual grill to the overall competitive advantage of the company. The picture on the following page will give a visual representation and explanation of the advantages of a Hasty-Bake grill that help give the company its competitive advantage through its products.
1. Adjustable Fire Box
Using the crank handle located on the side to raise and lower the fire box, this feature allows for total flexibility in the style of cooking (i.e., sear a steak, bake a ham, smoke a salmon). The pullout box features a heavy duty ¼” diameter fire grate which holds the charcoal while allowing the ash to fall through into the ash pan.
2. Grease Drain System
“V”-shaped grills encourage grease and fat to drain off the meat, drip into the grease drain and continue outside the unit to the grease cup. Flare-ups are virtually eliminated.
3. Full-Width Fire Door
Allows for easy loading and starting of the fire, as well as removal of the fire box and ash pan for simplified cleaning.
4. Cooking Grills
Our grills are constructed of heavy ¼” diameter nickel-plated material providing a clean, durable cooking surface.
5. Heat Deflector Plate
The key to smoking with our grill, the plate rests on the fire box and distributes heat evenly throughout the cooking area without exposing any food to direct flame. The plate works with the grease drain system to eliminate flare-ups.
Accurate to within 1%, this stainless steel bi-metal thermometer helps you maintain the desired cooking temperature.
7. Ventless Hood
The special design holds in the heat and smoke allowing it to rotate around your food, creating even distribution and penetration.
8. Dual Draft Vents
Offer additional control of heat intensity.
Hasty-Bake has products in all of the segments of the product life cycle. It has new products that are growing and it has retired items and even brought retired items back when there was a need from a customer.
The company is currently in remaining stable, but Adam said he would not say the company is at its maturity stage yet. He feels the company has a long ways to grow and will do so even if takes longer than they would like. The company has declined in market share in the industry since the 1960s but at the same time the company has sold more products and moved to a larger building. They have just focused primarily on serving locally and not spreading across the U.S. to their full potential.
Adam believes the company actually will see a life cycle that will look differently than most companies. He believes the company has gone through the introduction and major growth and is currently remaining unchanged but believes with an increase in marketing that Hasty-Bake is trying to push, the company will see another growth stage.
Hasty-Bake would like to capture back the market share it had on a national level in the 1960s and become one of the top 5 grilling companies again. With the new marketing online and the use of digital tactics this is possible. They company has a large market share in Tulsa and surrounding areas, but the company would like to expand and become more prominent regional including Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Kansas Arkansas and parts of Colorado and New Mexico.
The company has the competitive advantage to build grills of high quality but do not have the advantage to mass produce grills that are cheap. As long as Hasty-Bake can educate their target market about the difference in grills and what makes a Hasty-Bake stand out, there should not be a problem with company growing.