Amy's Bread Case Study and Narrative

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Case Study Questions

1. Who are the main players (name and position)?
Amy Scherber - owner and founder of Amy’s Bread
Toy Kim Dupree – manager of Amy’s Bread who is very involved in day to day operations and decision making and is also very trusted by Amy.

2. In what business or businesses and industry or industries is the company operating? Amy’s Bread is a specialty bread and pasty store. They specialize in handmade baked goods and are a wholesale supplier to many of New York’s prominent restaurants, hotels, and gourmet food shops.

3. What are the issues and problems facing the company? (Sort them by importance and urgency.) a. There is not enough space in the current location to meet the business demands. b. The limited space in the current location is threatening bread quality, which Amy perceives as “unthinkable”. c. Wholesale customers are on the brink of turning away, which would hurt revenue and reputation. d. Amy wants to become more involved in the retail aspect of her business due to the increased profit margins, but the current location is not ideal for retail sales. e. Highly competitive industry.

4. What is the primary problem for the company/organization in this case? The most critical problem is that the current location has reached its maximum capacity. Wholesale customers are being put on the waiting list and any further product expansion is impossible without sacrificing quality. There is an immediate need to expand her business, whether it is finding a larger space altogether or designating one location for wholesale and another for retail. If Amy does not expand her business, she will not be able to meet the needs to her current customers and risks attaining new customers.

5. Why have the problem(s) you cite emerged? Identify the causal chain (the events or circumstances that caused the problem-Some will be Internal Weaknesses, others External Threats). The overall cause of the problem would have to be the lack of capital and profit from the company. If there was more funding available during start-up, Amy may have been able to by a more desirable space, rather than just settling for what was affordable. It was difficult for Amy to getting bank loans because she was deemed a “high-risk” investment without a proven track record. In addition, Amy is quoted saying, “I just want to sell beautiful breads from a cute, cozy place.” Perhaps she was not thing “big picture” when she opened up or did not expect that business would pick up the way it did. As sales and popularity grew, Amy and her staff were turned into sardines and there was no room for additional people or equipment to ease the workload.

6. What are the characteristics of the industry that the company is in and how is the industry changing over time? The industry in which this organization operates is highly competitive with low wholesale profit margins. Success can depend highly on quality and price of the products and having a desirable location that can cater to both wholesale and retail customers. External factors can also affect the industry and change it over time. Diet trends, especially in a metropolis like New York, can limit what people are willing to consume and economic recessions can limit people’s demand for higher priced specialty products that are not a necessity.

7. What is the firm's strategy for differentiation, enabling them to compete within the context of their industry? Amy sets her business apart from competitors in many ways. Amy’s Bread employees only work a 5-day work week compared to other restaurants and bakeries that stick to 6-day work week. The staff can also take advantage of higher pay and benefits package. Amy also worked hard to create a happy, open, and friendly environment for her staff. This is something that is not high on the priority list for many other businesses that are just looking to turn a profit. Amy’s goals were to produce very high-quality breads by hand, pay...
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