Three of the website’s strengths are its content, the integration of social media on the website, and the online ordering capability. In particular, the site is rich in content that any web user, whether a potential customer or business partner, would easily find the information they need. Information is also available in various formats such as text, image, and video format. The text information provides web users with just about everything they need to know. The images also provide the users with information as the images allow users to get an idea of the kinds of food they can expect to get from Pizza Fusion. These images also help customers choose the food they want to order. In addition, the images look very enticing, which will make even non-customers want to try them out. Similarly, the videos are a good way of imparting information to the web users, especially those who do not like to read long texts. The videos show testimonials from satisfied customers, which can further encourage non-customers to try out the food.
As well, links to the main social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest can be found on the website. This is a great marketing strategy as it allows the company to stay in touch and build relationships with their customers, and it also allows customers to share information about the restaurant with their friends, which means free advertisement for the company. This is also a good marketing strategy as people tend to believe and trust what their friends say about a product more than what the company says about its products.
Finally, it’s also good that the website allows customers to place orders online. This will be a convenience on the part of the customers. On the part of the company, this can mean more orders placed as the customers can easily take action while visiting the site. The customers won’t have any difficulty figuring out how they can place an order. On the contrary, not being able to easily find this information can discourage them from placing an order.
On the other hand, the site’s weaknesses include the speed at which the Flash images are displayed on the home page. The images change so fast that the users don’t get to read all of the text on the images. Another weakness is that information about employment opportunities is not easily visible on the main navigation bar as this information is located under the Contact menu. Lastly, the site requires customers to register before they can place their order online. This can be disadvantageous for the business because some customers find the registration process tedious and may be discouraged from placing an order. Some users may also just want to try out the restaurant’s food first before they register.
Three suggestions to improve the website include making the Flash images on the home page display more slowly; placing a link for career opportunities on the main navigation bar instead of placing it under the Contact menu; and allowing customers to place orders without requiring them to register.
Making the Flash images display more slowly will give the users enough time to read the text that they display. Placing the Career link on the main navigation bar will also enable users to easily find and access it. Although it can be accessed from the Contact menu, most web users won’t go through each of the menus on the site and might miss it. Most web users are also impatient and would immediately leave a site if they can’t find the information they need.
One online marketing strategy that can be employed is having a blog on the site where customers can post comments. Not only will this keep customers updated on the latest goings-on in the company, but this can also facilitate relationship building between the company and the customers, which in turn can help foster influencers for the business.
Another online marketing strategy would be to provide web users with online discount coupons for providing special recipes and for participating in online customer surveys. Aside from enabling the company to foster its relationship with its customers, online discount coupons can also encourage non-customers to try out the restaurant’s products. In addition, holding contests or surveys will help the company keep their customers engaged.
Finally, it would help for them to provide interactive online trainings for franchisees. Some business people may be intimidated or skeptical about buying a franchise of the restaurant. However, knowing that the company will provide them with the support that they need in training their employees can encourage them to make a franchise and feel more confident about it. In addition, an interactive online training program makes the training seem easier and more fun, which can further allay any doubts and fears that the franchisee may have.
When using Porter’s Five Forces Model in determining the competitive position of Pizza Fusion, it can be considered that the threat from new entrants is high since starting an organic pizza restaurant comes with low costs and do not need an investment in sophisticated technology. Similarly, rivalry from existing firms would be high as organic food is a current trend when it comes to diet. People are being more conscious of their health and weight and so many business owners try to address this need by starting their own organic pizza restaurants. As well, people are becoming more environmentally aware and are starting to patronize environment-friendly products. As such, businesses respond by going green. In the same regard, since the demand for organic food is quite high then the buyer power is low, which means that buyers or customers don’t have much influence over the prices of the company’s products. This means that the company can indicate the prices they think are appropriate for their products without the risk of their customers being put off.
On the other hand, the threat of substitution is high because the customers can easily shift to other food choices such as Japanese food, Chinese food, or the regular pizza restaurants. Even if they are health conscious and insist on eating only organic food, customers still have many other choices as there are other types of organic restaurants such as salad bars, organic Italian restaurants, organic French restaurants, and vegetarian restaurants. There are also many recipe books on organic dishes, and some people may just opt to make their own organic pizza. Similarly, supplier power would be medium to high because the suppliers of organic produce are limited and are usually located in places that are far from the restaurant. With the suppliers being few but with the demand being high (the number of organic restaurants is increasing), suppliers can increase their prices or keep them high without fear of losing their customers.
HR would be one challenge that Pizza Fusion would face if it were to expand internationally. In particular, cultural differences may make it hard for Pizza Fusion to hire and train employees, that is, it may not be possible for Pizza Fusion to use the same hiring and training strategies that it uses in the US in the countries that they plan to expand in. For example, while direct feedback may be appreciated by US employees, the same may be considered offensive by some cultures. Similarly, it may not be possible for Pizza Fusion to incorporate the same organizational culture that it has in the US in the other countries. For example, if Pizza Fusion’s culture is informal and friendly, some cultures may find this appalling and would prefer to work in a more formal and structured organization. Moreover, while individual performance rewards may work well for individualistic cultures, the same may not be appreciated in collectivist cultures.
In response to this challenge, Pizza Fusion should ensure that the people it deploys or sends to the other country have received adequate training in cultural diversity. This would ensure that they conduct the business in an appropriate and acceptable manner in the other country. This would also ensure that they are able to interact properly with the locals, which will enable them to easily hire the people whom they need. This will also enable them to more objectively evaluate job applicants, as they will be able to take the applicants’ cultural backgrounds and orientations into consideration. In addition, the company would have to adjust its management style to ensure sensitivity towards the culture and value system of the other country. In other words, the company should not use a “one-size-fits-all” management strategy when dealing with its local and overseas establishments.
I would recommend that the following factors be considered: compatibility with the community; population density; population trends; business climate; and wage rate. In particular, the restaurant should be compatible with the community. For example, a predominantly Chinese community will likely prefer Chinese food over organic pizza whereas a community that consists mostly of young urban professionals will more likely appreciate having access to an organic pizza restaurant. Population density should also be considered in that there should be enough people in the location to enable the restaurant to expand beyond its core clientele. Similarly, the company should consider the population trends and choose a location where the population consistently grows, as this will help ensure the continuity of the business and enable further expansion. In addition, the business climate should be considered. This will help the company ensure that they will be able to easily conduct their business in the selected location. Moreover, a consideration of the business climate will enable them to gauge the threat from both new and existing competitors. As well, the wage rate should be considered as the company should ensure that their potential sales can cover the employees’ wages. This factor should be considered alongside the population density and population trends. For example, although the wage rates are lower in rural areas, the population density in these places will also likely be lower so there’s a possibility that not enough sales will be generated to ensure profit and cover the employees’ wages.
An example of a location I would consider would be the business district of a major city. An organic pizza restaurant would be compatible with a business district as professionals (i.e. educated people) are more likely to appreciate and understand the value of organic food. Organic food will also be more expensive than the regular food so professionals who work in the business district will most likely be able to afford organic pizza. The population density in this area will also be high as people come here to work, to look for work, or to conduct business transactions. Similarly, the population trend will likely see a growth as more and more people will come to this place, given that more companies will likely hold offices there. In turn, this implies that the company will have more chances of expanding their business beyond their core clientele. On the other hand, the business climate in this location would be good. Being the business district, the local officials can be expected to have set up policies and processes that will enable companies to easily conduct their business there. Although this means that the company will likely have more competitors, the size of the population can possibly compensate for this. Finally, the wage rate will be high in this location, but with the large size of the population, the sales that will be generated will possibly be enough to make a profit and cover the employees’ wages.
Some of the new skills that would be necessary include quality control, communications, and training and support. Since all of the franchises essentially represent the same company and the same brand, the company employees should be able to ensure that they are able to maintain the quality of the products and services in all of the different franchises. This ensures that customers get the same experience and level of quality regardless of the specific branch they go to. If different branches provided different levels of quality in terms of their products and services then it will become harder for the company to foster customer loyalty.
As well, it would be important for them to develop communications skills. Since franchise restaurants would be located in disparate locations but still have to conform to the same standards and policies that are imposed by the main company, it would be important for the employees to learn to effectively communicate and coordinate with the main company to ensure that they are still abiding by the said standards and policies. This also ensures that they remain aligned with the objectives of the main company.
Lastly, it would be necessary for them to develop skills in training and support. Since franchise restaurants would be located in various places, the leaders in these franchises should have the capability of training their own employees in a manner that still conforms to the way that the employees in the main company are trained. They should also ensure that their employees have the same values as those of employees in the entire organization so that the franchise can be easily identified with the main company. Again, this would ensure a consistency in the quality of the products and services that the customers receive.