In order for our business, The Broadway Café, to become more competitive in this environment, I deem it necessary to build a collaboration tool that will stimulate contact, knowledge, information, and events among employees, customers, suppliers, and all others who are interested in the business.
A collaboration system is an IT-based set of tools that supports the work of teams by facilitating the sharing and flow of information. Collaboration systems allow people, teams, and organizations to leverage and build upon the ideas and talents of staff, suppliers, customers, and business partners.
A collaboration tool that I believe would fulfill our needs at The Broadway Café would be a Groupware System. Groupware is software that supports team interaction and dynamics including calendaring, scheduling, and video conferencing. We can use this technology to communicate, cooperate, coordinate, solve problems, compete, or negotiate. The trends in collaboration systems today are leaning towards e-mail, instant messaging (IM), private chat rooms, discussion boards, and other forms of communicating electronically. A website incorporating these tools would heighten our knowledge base and give our business a competitive edge in predicting consumer habits and enhance communication throughout our business to stimulate collaboration.
Having this particular system will enhance our communication within our business as well as with our customers and suppliers. We can use the Groupware System to facilitate planning by listing on an e-calendar various deadlines, goals, and other tasks needing completion. During our “coffee sampling” events for our customers, we can promote and encourage customers to give us feedback on which coffees they liked and disliked. This will help us to determine which coffees are underperforming and which are our customer’s favorites. Customers will also be encouraged to give any type of feedback that they feel will help us meet their needs.
When introducing new products, we can use our “coffee sampling” events to sample new coffee products to our customers and receive feedback from our customers either in store or over our Groupware System and determine which products show promising results and which ones are not as successful at garnering our customers attention. This will help us in determining which product lines to invest in and eventually add to our product line.
Competitive Advantage-Making Business Decisions
Competitive strategy in “Broadway Café” case is about taking offensive action in order to cope successfully with competitive forces and generate a superior return on investment. According to Michael Porter, the basis of above-average performance within an industry is sustainable competitive advantage. Buyer power is high since customers have many choices of whom they can buy coffee and food from. Implementing loyalty programs that reward our customers would most likely change how customers behave and get them to spend more money with our company. For example, free refills with the purchase of a thermos and having customers being part of a frequent drinker program of some kind. Supplier power is not substantial if suppliers can’t place much pressure on our business. If many suppliers can provide us with a particular product, supplier power is unable to affect “Broadway’s Café” margins and volumes. Threat of substitute products or services would seem to not be working in “Broadway’s Café” favor. There are on average several decent coffee shops in any neighborhood, plus Starbucks is taking over every corner of the shopping center offering all variety of substitute products. For those customers not wholly-convinced of the difference or superiority of “Broadway’s Café” products over its competitors', the cost of switching to another coffee shop is little or nothing, even if customers are part of a frequent drinker program of some kind, e.g. free refills with the...