Starting a business is one thing but maintaining one can be another. Beginning businessmen may already find it hard to start a business, a franchise, a corporation, or a small company that subcontracts work from outsources now knowing that they have only just began. During the startup period of a business, challenges should always be expected for they will surely come. The first or in some cases, even the second year of the business’ existence may still be well considered as part of the startup phase. It is after the first one to two years that the business will encounter maintenance and business risk-related problems.
The objective of this paper is to discuss the difference aspects of maintaining a business named Buffalo Wild Wings, analyze its core values, and mission as an organization; lay out strategic and management plans for the first two and upcoming years and how such plans can be implemented. The paper has been divided into ten sections, each having a purpose. The first four sections will focus on characterizing or describing the company based on the idea that the business owners and planners have in mind. This is where the core values and mission of the company will be discussed in detail. The following sections would be an analysis of the industry where the business owners are planning to plant their business in. Based on the name of the business, it may well be considered that Buffalo Wild Wings would fall under the food and service industry.
The environmental or industry analysis may well be the bulkiest part of the presentation because of the fact that all strategies, decisions, and plans of the business owners would depend on their outlook of the food and service industry and their confidence in putting their investments in it as evidenced by their willingness to put up a business. The last few sections will focus on the intra-organizational plans that the owners and planners have in mind all of which are in accordance with the findings from the industry and environmental analysis. The initial and current strategies for business maintenance and growth shall be outlined followed by some recommendations as to how the business can grow faster than its current projected pace. Planning would basically be useless if the plans would not be converted into actions. Implementation plans will basically outline how the managers are planning to carry out their plans and achieve business goals and objectives. The last two parts of the paper shall deal with the risks and threats surrounding the business and how the business managers can minimize the effects of such risks and threats in case they explode. Such mitigation plans shall also be followed-up by contingency plans should the original strategies and implementation plans prove to be ineffective in ensuring the growth or worse, the survival of the business.
After spending a significant amount of time thinking about the best strategies and analyzing the food and service industry and the business plan itself, the authors of this paper suggest that continuing Buffalo Wild Wings as a business is feasible and offers promising albeit not spectacular investment returns due to the increasingly high level of competition in the food and service market and the fact that current market behavior indicates consumers’ buying and availing decisions will be mainly guided by brand bias and awareness, an aspect where Buffalo Wild Wings fares goodly as it is already more established compared to other players in the industry, although there are also some players that are larger and more established in the industry.
Buffalo Wild Wings started in 1982 as a small four-cornered restaurant in Columbus, OH. The first few years turned out to be very successful and profitable ones for them. Since then, the company’s executives started to plan and execute the process of planting new stores. Now, Buffalo Wild Wings has grown to have at least one store in every U.S. state there is. We live in an era where the practice of shortening every word that can be possibly shortened is prevalent. The name of Buffalo Wild Wings has also been shortened. For years, it has been more famous as B-Dubs. B stands for Buffalo while Dubs stands for the two “W”s (Wild and Wings).
There are three things that are unique, at least when they started, to Buffalo Wild Wings since their first few branches were established way back in the 80s: Wings, Beer, and Sports. It is not a recipe. It is more like a trademark that describes what a customer should expect when planning a visit on a Buffalo Wild Wings branch. According to the company’s website, there is only one reason why they decided to pick those three things as part of their trademark or more like a company tradition and that is because it is what their patrons and fans want and that there is only one thing they are most committed to doing—making their fans happy.
In the Buffalo Wild Wings headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and also in other major branches, there is only one mission that the company has. “Our mission is to WOW people every day” . It can be seen that the company has a rather short mission statement at least when compared to other restaurant chains that are similar in size and complexity. However, in this case, short does not translate to useless. It is just that Buffalo Wild Wings’ mission is concise. According to the company, there are four specific how to WOW strategies that it uses and encourages its employees to follow as guides in their actions, behaviors, decisions, and priorities every working day: 1. We are Guest Driven – we will wow our guests every day. 2. We are Team Focused – we will wow our team members. 3. We are Community Connected – we will wow the communities where we do business. 4. We are dedicated to Excellence – we will wow our franchisees and stakeholders.
Things like value statements, code of ethics, and business conduct are important business indicators as they can be used by customers and potential business partners as tools in making impressions about a particular company. By reading value statements, code of ethics, and business conduct statements, one can look into how the company and its managers do and treat business. These indicators are like windows to the business’ operations.
This code applies to all team members, directors, officers, and all employees of Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. and its operating subsidiaries, each is referred to as the company. It is important to the success of the code that each team member understands that:
- We should help to safeguard the company’s reputation for integrity in our business dealings. We are each personally responsible for our own conduct in complying with this code as it pertains to our jobs.
- We are responsible for promptly reporting known or suspected violations to the individuals designated for this purpose
- We should seek assistance when we have questions about Buffalo Wild Wings’ code or when faced with a challenging ethical situation.
- No one has the authority or right to order, direct, request or even influence someone else to violate this code or the law. Thus, no one will be excused for violating this code or the law at the direction or request of someone else.
- Any attempt by any team member to have someone else violate this code, whether successful or not, is itself a violation of this code and may be a violation of the law.
- Any retaliation or threat to retaliate against a team member for refusing to violate this code or for reporting in good faith a violation or a suspended violation of this code is itself a violation of this code and may be a violation of the law.
- Every reported suspected violation of this code will be investigated and every violation will result in disciplinary action up to and including immediate dismissal of the team member.
Buffalo Wild Wings’ business code and ethics revolve around these three questions: 1. is this action the right thing to do? 2. Would this action withstand public scrutiny? 3. Will this action uphold Buffalo Wild Wings’ reputation as an ethical company? All Buffalo Wild Wings team members should remember these three questions before making any decisions and acting on it. If the answer to at least one question is not a definite yes, then by all means, the team members should not do it or that could be considered as a violation to the code .
Environmental Scan and Analysis
Buffalo Wild Wings may not be the biggest restaurant franchise in the U.S. but over the years of growth and expansion, it has placed itself well in the top 10 fastest-growing restaurant chains in the country. The fact that this business which was established in 1982 expanded into its size today and still continues to grow and plant more branches means that the market has not started looking for alternative commodities; that consumer preferences at least towards Buffalo Wild Wings’ products and services have not significantly changed—otherwise there would be a dramatic drop in branch sales and performance; and that the food and service market and industry has continuously expanded since the business’ inception.
There are three interrelated subcategories that are important in performing an analysis of Buffalo Wild Wings’ external environment and these are: the remote, industry, and external operating environments.
Remote environments pertain to the different economic factors, patterns, and indicators that may have a direct or indirect effect on the company’s growth, and the plans and decisions that the company’s management makes. An upward trend in economic activity would for example be perceived by the Buffalo Wild Wings’ executives as a good opportunity to expand their business and operations further since the risks of investment failure would be lower. The main point here is that the patterns and trends in the economy directly affects the plans and decisions of businesses. An upward trend in economic activity would most likely stimulate expansionism; a downward trend on the other hand would most likely serve as a signal for businesses to cut expenses and focus more on survivability.
An industry consists of a collection of firms that offer similar products or services to a market. A market on the other hand pertains to a pool of consumers or businesses (as in the case of wholesalers selling commodities to retailers) that the businesses’ products or services are made for. Since Buffalo Wild Wings is not a local food business any longer, it should not be concerned on going after its local competitors in terms of product value and cost-effectiveness. It should now be more focused on larger industry players. As it grew to be one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the country—the U.S., its competitors just grew fiercer and larger, and also in number as the fact that it still has to deal with local businesses taking away its share of the market remains unchanged despite its spectacular growth rate. Locally, there are a lot of sports bars offering similar products and services, and even themes (Wings, Beer, and Sports) operating within at least a twenty mile radius from Buffalo Wild Wings’ branches. In the Hattiesburg area for example, one of Buffalo Wild Wings’ toughest competitors is Hooters. “Hooters” is a restaurant business that offers the same products and services, and even theme that Buffalo Wild Wings offers. Of course in other areas, the list of Buffalo Wild Wings’ competitors may be longer and the competitors may be tougher, depending of course on the branch location. If Buffalo Wild Wings wants to maintain its position as one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the country, then it should not put its guard down or else, some other company may swiftly take its place.
The external operating environment consists of the following factors: “the firm’s competitive position, the position of its customers, its reputation among suppliers and creditors, and its ability to attract capable employees” . Buffalo wild wings compete on the basis of taste, customer service, price and the uniqueness of the dining experience—thanks to its theme. These factors are what make it competitive in the market. The products and services being offered in all Buffalo Wild Wings branches are narrowed down to a point that only a few competitors will match that level of specificity, an effective method of bringing down the number of competitors. Company and brand awareness are two important factors that have a direct influence on sales. The higher the company and brand awareness are, the more the managers can expect to have lower table turnovers. Buffalo Wild Wings currently uses updated marketing and operational strategies to ensure the recognition and consistency of the organization through its partnership and affiliation with award-winning advertising and marketing organizations specializing in franchised restaurants. The company also uses stringent policies and measures to ensure that only the most qualified employees get to serve the customers and handle or in some cases participate indirectly in the delivery of the products and services. At the same time, it also ensures that its employees are well taken care of by providing a competitive and at the same time, enjoyable working environment.
Review of Strategies
Buffalo Wild Wings has won several awards across the country which means it is walking on the right path. Competitive pricing policies, the wide variety of food and service choices in their branches, and the memorable experience eating in the restaurant branches—thanks to its unique combination of Wings, Beer, and Sports, are the three main reasons behind its award-winning success. Apart from these three product and service-centered strategies, Buffalo Wild Wings’ management also plans to uphold and ideally improve its position in the industry by recruiting, developing, and supporting highly qualified management teams and team members and implementing operational standards and best practices in all Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants .
Based on the company’s latest reports and financial statements, it can be ascertained that they are doing a good job and is walking the right path. Should these things continue, the company would probably end up with higher customer satisfaction and brand and corporate awareness ratings over the next couple of years. Of course that would be great for their growth. One recommendation at this point is for Buffalo Wild Wings to continue whatever it has done in the past that led to positive results such as their competitive pricing policies, their wide selection of products and services, and the memorable dining experience they guarantee, and their commitment to product and customer service excellence. The managers should watch out for constantly changing consumer preferences and market behaviors as these two could potentially undermine their hard-earned track record of being one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in the U.S.
Risks and Threats
Competition is the single biggest real and existing threat that managers at Buffalo Wild Wings should keep at bay. Evidently, the company’s managers have been successful in doing so in the past years up to now. However, those competitors also see Buffalo Wild Wings as a competitor and so naturally, it will continue to develop products and create policies that have the potential of chirping away Buffalo Wild Wings’ share on the food and service market. If Buffalo Wild Wings would become conceited and confident with their currently strong position in the market, chances are it will be overrun by its competitors not now but in the future. Constantly changing market behavior and consumer preferences are constant threats, although not yet existent, that the management should always look into. They should always anticipate and review changes in the market as such changes should dictate the way and the frequency of the development of new products, services, and gimmicks.
The recommended strategies can be implemented by creating a new and more aggressive pricing policy. Another important aspect of the implementation is the opening up of new branches located in strategic and high-traffic locations locally and internationally. Of course, opening branches in foreign markets would require more research as factors like consumer preferences and socio-cultural factors would always be a part of the decision-making process. Buffalo Wild Wings should also consider affiliating with or if this is not possible, using the services of marketing and advertising companies—a move which would lead to increased brand and corporate awareness. Aside from these three, the company should continue what it has been doing for the past years because as far as performance is concerned, they are still leading to positive results .
Contingency plans are important because they function as an airbag that protects the driver in case of an accidental car crash . The same is true for Buffalo Wild Wings. Contingency plans would serve as protection in an event of a local or international market crash. The good thing about this is that Buffalo Wild Wings operate in the food and service industry which is a considerably robust industry. In an event of a local or international economic crash, companies operating in this industry would not be that affected when compared to other companies in other industries such as the financial, investment capital, and real-estate industries. One good contingency plan for Buffalo Wild Wings is to control, but not limit, their exposure to the capital market because they will surely need capital for their expansion plans. What they should limit are their exposure to bank loans and other liquidity sources that can lead to a financial disaster in an event of an economic crash.
In conclusion, Buffalo Wild Wings is currently in a good industry position. If it wants to retain that status and ideally make expansions in the food and service industry, it should continue to exert effort and focus on competitive pricing, product and service varieties that are in accordance with the market consumer taste and preferences, excellent customer service, higher levels of brand and corporate awareness through marketing and advertising campaigns. It should keep in mind that the constantly changing market behavior and consumer preferences are risks that will always be present and so it should make sure that its products and services are always up to date and dynamic. It should also keep its competitors at bay by continuously offering more cutting edge and competitive products and services that are appropriately priced.
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