White Label Restaurants
Balancing demands of Head Office and consumers

Summary

The White Label Restaurants game offers the challenge of growing a multiple consumer retailing business over as much as 10 years. At first, there is considerable undeveloped opportunity, but as restaurant numbers increase, it becomes increasingly difficult to drive further growth.

Players act as the management team, taking on the business with some history of growth and performance in earlier years. Decisions control customer experience, profitability, and business growth. 'Head Quarters' rewards success – or punishes failure! – and allocate capital to expand the business. Teams can tackle one of several challenges, with the business in differing states of development and performance and facing a variety of competitive conditions.

Team role

Players act as the management team for the business, and someone in the team needs to pay attention to:

  • …Marketing – to win and retain customers, and persuade them to spend more, by offering attractive pricing and an appealing menu
  • …Customer service – to ensure enough (but not too many) staff to give good service, and ensure the restaurants are in a good state
  • … Finance – to deliver the profit targets from corporate HQ, and to decide on capital spending to drive growth
  • Depending on the team size, player can combine these responsibilities or share them.

Challenges

  1. Perfect Start The business has developed very successfully during its first four years. Even better, no competitor has spotted the same opportunity or been able to attack your business. As a result, the previous management team continually hit headquarters’ profit target and had enough capital to expand as they wanted. Can you continue that success?
  2. Rapid Take off (Tough!) The business has started off extremely well. Sales per restaurant have grown strongly, profits have raced upwards, investment in new sites has started to rise, and management have enjoyed some bonuses – but is this success sustainable?
  3. Wake Up Teams take on a business that has been asleep while a major competitor has taken a strong lead. In just two years they have built a business of 120 successful restaurants, while your previous management made no efforts to grow much. Has the competitor taken too strong a lead, or is there still a chance to build a business before the opportunity is gone?
  4. New Threat After 5 years of growth, your business finds itself under threat from a new and aggressive competitor. Their entry is damaging your performance as they compete with you for the few remaining good sites. Can you repel this threat and maintain a lead in the market, whilst continuing to deliver strong growth and financial performance?
  5. Hitting the Limit Teams take on a business that has grown rapidly to over 200 restaurants. Profits have grown strongly too, but the future is starting to look difficult. Meals per restaurant have been declining for two years, reputation for quality is proving hard to maintain, and profit growth is slowing – you have missed HQ targets for the last two quarters. Has this business run out of growth potential – or did it cause its own difficulties? Either way, can you rebuild a sound business from which to grow?
  6. Turn Round (very tough) You are taking over the business following the previous management resigned. All the quality indicators are in bad shape, and previous management made little effort to grow the business. Is it possible to turn this business around, making it profitable, and capable of growth?

Key Learning points

Players gain valuable insight into important issues common to other business situations, such as:

  • … building and maintaining a strong reputation with customers, based on high quality product and service,
  • … driving growth through expansion in a large but limited market, when profitable growth becomes increasingly hard to find,
  • … balancing the need to improve customer service whilst at the same time limiting costs in order to deliver profitable growth
  • … satisfying investors with an adequate financial return, in order to win their support and investment
  • … [optionally] driving quickly to exploit the opportunity for sales and profitable growth in the limited market, against a determined competitor,
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See also

Other resources

Play Video Video: Instructors introduction, with audio (8 mins)

Play Video Video: Overview of the interface, no audio (4 mins)

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