Business Structure Characteristics. Whitbread Structure Analysis

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The following report consists of two parts; PART A identifies Whitbread’s main business information users (or, stakeholders), based on the information provided on their website. In contrast, PART B analyses different types of business structures and determines the pros and cons of Whitbread being a PLC. Tables and bulleting are used throughout the text to convey a vast volume of information in the given scope.

-PART A-

1. MAIN BUSINESS INFORMATION USERS AND THEIR NEEDS – KEY WHITBREAD’S STAKEHOLDERS

Business information can be used for a variety of reasons, depending on stakeholders and their needs. The following table presents a concise analysis of external and internal business information users. Further, it identifies Whitbread’s key stakeholders based on the information provided on its website. Business information users| Stakeholder needs| Whitbread| External| Shareholders| -A proof that the investment is worth holding; that it’s making the best return. | Shareholder Centre provides information on dividends, business performance, share prices (1844.00p on 01/04/2012) and a guide on share purchasing/selling.| | Creditors| -Information facilitating lending decisions-Evidence the company will repay the loan| Whitbread stresses: business performance, its share of the market and returns on investment.| | Competitors| -Records on competitor’s growth and profitability| Whitbread presents YouGov BrandIndex disclosing their and competitors place in customer brand awareness. | | Customers/ Suppliers| -Information to choose a service (customers)-Confirmation that the cash flow is sufficient to pay them on time (suppliers)| The company shows its transparency by: guest satisfaction rating and credit rating/ corporate debt.| | Tax authorities| -Accounting information to determine company's tax liabilities.| Published AGM report| | Potential investors| -The past performance reports to foresee future trends on return on investment.| Detailed information is provided on: historical data, share price and expansion plans (to open 65,000 bedrooms by 2016).| | Trade unions/ employees| -Performance details to determine job security, level of wages | Whitbread highlights: job security, investment in people (£3 million budget on training), great salaries and benefits. Also, www.thewhitbreadjourney.co.uk offers further details on career in hospitality.| | General public| -To check business accountability for their impact on environment and local community.| Whitbread emphasises corporate responsibility on: environment, people, sourcing, health, community, sustainability and customers. It also gives long term aims, e.g. raise £1million for WaterAid.| Internal| Company managers| -Detailed year to date results and budgets to run the business and make forecasts. | n/a| Table1. Business information users (HOSPA U1 (2012, pp. 8-10); www.whitbread.co.uk) Even though any stakeholder can find useful information on Whitbread website, it can be inferred that the main ones are: investors, customers, shareholders and future employees. This is because of the attention given to these groups. Overall, the main focus is on external stakeholders, as the internal ones need sensitive information and detailed, daily updates on company’s performance, which was clearly missing. The information is presented from management’s perspective and show the company in the best light possible. However, it needs to be admitted that the company seams to present a ‘true and fair view’.

-PART B-
1. DIFFERENT TYPES OF BUSINESS STRUCTURES
The legal business structure is one of the first decisions that a businessman/woman must take (O’Donnaghue and Luby, 2005). According to HOSPA U1 (2012) there are four main business structures: 1. Sole Proprietor

2. Partnership
3. Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)
4. Limited Liability Companies, including: Private limited company (LTD), Public limited company...
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