Case Analysis – Martin Blair
This week’s case focuses on restaurant owner Martin Blair’s two recently opened establishments, Pizzetta and Viva Italia, and concludes with Blair wrestling with the idea of expanding his business and opening more establishments in the Charlotte area. Particularly, he is considering expansion by franchising of either, or both restaurant concepts. Blair is thorough in his evaluation of the climate for expansion, and has done ample research into both of his operations. There is a particular quote from the case that I believe is telling in terms of how he should proceed. “In the food service business, you are serving food and trying to please your customer. In the franchise business, your customer is the person who has paid you thousands of dollars for a franchise…It’s a different business.” The crux of the case study details Blair’s inspiration and planning for his concepts as a result of a career in the restaurant business. His idea of an artisanal pizzeria in the Charlotte area is a novel one, and by all accounts has thus far been successful. However, he mentions that he has never worked for a franchise operation before, and by fundamentally altering his business by expanding via franchising so soon after his restaurants opened for business, I believe he would weaken his long-term prospects for success. I think it is critical that he take the time at hand to master the operations of his fledgling concepts, and when the time does come for expansion, he should do so organically until he has established a culture and reputation within his restaurant businesses that will be more easily replicated if he does franchise in the future. I would suggest to Martin Blair that he should focus his efforts on stabilizing his Viva Italia restaurant, which he admits still occupies much of his time, and then his first expansionary move should be to open another Pizzetta without going the franchise route.
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