The Pub: Survive, Thrive, or Die?
Gina Grandy, Mount Allison University
Moritz P. Gunther, Mount Allison University
Andrew Couturier, Mount Allison University
Ben Goldberg, Mount Allison University
Iain MacLeod, Mount Allison University
Trevor Steeves, Mount Allison University
t was midnight on a Friday night in the middle of April 2008, and Mount Allison University campus was alive. The Pub was filling up. Patrons waited in line for twenty minutes, had their identification cards thoroughly checked, and entered into the basement-level facility. The music was pumping, the strobe lights were moving, and the dance floor was crammed. It was going to be another entertaining night at The Pub. Behind the bar was a familiar face—Jonathan Clark—known to everyone in town as Scooter. Scooter had been The Pub’s regular manager since 1993. Students and alumni would remember him long after they had forgotten their grade point average. On that particular night, Scooter’s thoughts were elsewhere. He was thinking about the board meeting held earlier that week. The board talked at length about The Pub’s financial situation and the need to change how it did business. The Pub had experienced financial difficulties for several years, although the current year had been financially sound. The likelihood of The Pub remaining profitable in the future was unclear. Competition among bars had increased as alcohol consumption patterns in Canada changed. The Pub had a special connection with the student base as their campus pub, but students were fickle and quick to move on to a different bar if it offered something more appealing. The Pub was set to move to a new location on campus in August 2008, and the board and Scooter needed to determine the most appropriate business model to ensure its survival. Scooter needed a plan to bring back to the board at the end of the summer.
Officially known as The Tantramarsh Club, The Pub was formed in 1974 at Mount Allison University (Mount A) in Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. The town of Sackville was located in southeastern New Brunswick, in the middle of the Maritime provinces of Canada. The town bordered the province of Nova Scotia. Sackville’s economy was driven by tourism and the staff, students, and visitors of Mount A. Sackville’s
Copyright 2010 by the Case Research Journal and by G. Grandy, M.P. Gunther, A. Couturier, B. Goldberg, I. MacLeod and T. Steeves. The authors would like to acknowledge the help of Tupper Cawsey and three reviewers. An earlier version of this case was presented at the Atlantic Schools of Business Conference held in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada in 2008.
The Pub: Survive, Thrive, or Die?
This document is authorized for use only in Strategy and the competitive environment by Dr Ioannis Thanos at HE OTHER from January 2013 to July 2013.
population was comprised of approximately 5,000 residents and a university student base of an additional 2,000 people.
Mount A was a public university and employed approximately 180 faculty (30 part-time and 150 full-time) and 340 staff (50 part-time and 290 full-time)1. The university’s target enrollment level was 2,275 students. The university administration deliberately controlled enrollment at this target number to ensure students benefited from the close-knit nature of relationships with students, staff, and faculty. The university experienced a decline in enrollments in 2004–2005 that took four years to work through the system. Enrollment levels were approximately 2,200 in 2007–2008. National trends indicated that between 2001 and 2011, undergraduate enrollment would increase by 34 percent. Data showed that 85 percent of all full-time students were enrolled in undergraduate programs. These rising participation rates were attributed to (1) an increasing number of university-educated parents influencing their children to attend university, and (2) students’ perceptions that a university...