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The Future of the Great Italian Food Company Essay

Problem Statement

Six members of the of the Great Italian Food Company’s Board of Directors have ideas for the future growth of the company. Each of the members proposed idea has its merits, but their ideas are mutually exclusive and only one strategy can be chosen. This could be a potential issue and delay the company’s future growth if the board members cannot come to an agreement. Without a unified strategy, corporate or business, to guide the company over the next decade the Great Italian Food Company will make costly mistakes and jeopardize the company’s current position and future growth. Hard decisions must be made and appropriate planning will have to be conducted.

Analysis and Evaluation

Joe Marconi, the founder and current Board Chairman of the Great Italian Food Company, established the first Papa Joe’s restaurant in 1960. Since that time the company has expanded to include three additional Papa Joe’s restaurants in the Greater St. Louis area and established a Board of Directors. The members of the board include Joe’s wife along with their four children; Little Joe, Johnny, Tony, and Maria. Additionally, three of Joe’s longtime personal friends are also members of the board of directors. The restaurants themselves are family establishments with a unique Italian atmosphere and a basic Italian menu. Over the years the company has been fairly successful under the management of Joe’s oldest son, Little Joe, with the expansion to three additional Papa Joe’s restaurants. However Joe’s children now believe that the current business model will not remain profitable enough to maintain their current lifestyles, which they have grown accustomed to and want to grow the company even further. Each of Joe’s children and Jimmy (one of the other board members), including Joe himself, have ideas about the future growth of the company.

However, they all seem to want to move in a different direction. Joe wants to open an upscale restaurant and partner with a well-known personality allowing the restaurant to charge more for its meals. Little Joe wants to maintain the current model and continue to expand in the Greater St. Louis area. Tony wants to break into the frozen food industry. Johnny wants to broaden the company and open additional ethnic type restaurants. Maria believes that the best direction is to continue expanding the business throughout the mid-west focusing on major cities. And Jimmy likes the McDonald’s business model and wants to develop a Papa Joe’s fast food franchise chain across the country. The company has a limited access to capital and can only afford to pursue one strategy. So which is the best future for the Great Italian Food Company? Up to this point the Great Italian Food Company seemed to be fairly successful; they have expanded the company by opening three more restaurants in the Greater St. Louis area and have established an organizational structure that provides management positions for each of the family members. With all growing businesses, the way ahead is always the question.

The motivating factor for any businesses that desires continued growth and that wants capitalize on their current success is to continue to increase profits. Recourses, competition, and management are just some of the factors that must be taken into consideration when a business wants to increase growth and of course there is always risk, how much is a business willing to take. The main issue the Great Italian Food Company is facing is that they have not established a strategic plan that supports their mission, vision, or goals (Bateman & Snell, 2013, p. 139). There are six members of the board with six completely different ideas who want to move the company in six different directions. However, none of the required strategic planning has been done to evaluate which of the ideas, if any, is the best for the company’s current situation and future growth (Bateman & Snell, 2013, p. 138). Each of their ideas has great potential and point toward numerous possibilities, providing an excellent starting point in the development of a strategic plan, but their disagreements could also erupt into conflict among the board members.

As the Chairman of the Board, Joe will need to temporarily forget that he is a father, husband, and friend to other board members, and take a purely clinical approach to the issue. When developing the company’s strategic plan, Joe may be forced to make decisions for the betterment of the company. He does have options; he could make the decision alone or engage in a group decision process (Bateman & Snell, 2013, p. 102). Managing a group decision can be a difficult process; however, in this case a group or team process could be the most productive. Each of the board members has specific skills, knowledge, and attributes that could be leveraged to make the best decision. Many companies, both small and large, have failed due to poor strategic planning; as a result they have either failed to keep up with technology and/or their competitors, mismanaged their resources, or relied on poor planning and costly decisions. Without a well thought out strategic plan to guide a company over the next five, ten, or even twenty years, growth is not a possibility for its future.

Recommendation

The board members of the Great Italian Food Company need a corporate or business strategy, depending on which direction the company wants to compete in the market (Bateman & Snell, 2013, p. 147). If they want to challenge the larger competitors in the food industry or expand into the frozen food sector they can build a corporate strategy. If they decide to stay with their current model and continue to build more Papa Joe’s restaurants then a business strategy maybe more appropriate. Whatever level and type of strategic planning the Great Italian Food Company focuses on it should be flexible enough to adapt to a changing business environment. The strategy should not be so deliberate that it they are unable to make adjustments to their strategic plan (Mintzberg, & Waters, 1985). As with any method of planning or decision making considerations must be taken into account; quantity over quality, current and future recourses, control over the company, competitors, and customer base (Bateman & Snell, 2013, p. 14).

Without having conducted a complete analysis of the company, it is hard to say which strategy they should choose however, The Great Italian Food Company has been successful in its current model as a family establishment with a unique Italian atmosphere. With limited capital, resources and investors, breaking into a new industry or making radical changes could be extremely risky. However, failure to change or grow while their competitors adapt to the industry could leave the Great Italian Food Company wayside along with Blockbuster and Borders. The Great Italian Food Company is still a considerably small company, continued investment into the further expansion of the Papa Joe’s restaurants throughout the mid-west, building additional capital and investors, and testing the market with new products could strategic plan that continues growth while limiting risk.

References

Bateman, T.S., & Snell, S.A. (2013). Management: Leading and collaborating in a competitive world. (11th ed.). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Education. Mintzberg, H., & Waters, J. A. (1985). Of Strategies, Deliberate and Emergent. Strategic Management Journal, 6(3), 257-272.


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