In the article "Can You Say What Your Strategy Is" I found a great deal of application for a family business that my husband and I have been asked to take over. The company, in another state, is a privately owned collection of eight restaurants. While the current focus is reinvesting in the infrastructure that has been neglected over the past 10 years (facilities, such as roofs, employee wages and retention, and technology such as as POS system), as that resolves we have begun to look ahead at the company's strategy overall. As the article suggests, the company's leaders cannot succinctly articulate the company's scope, objective and advantage. In fact, many of the locations even have different offerings, different recipes (!), and wildly different decor/dining experience.
While defining the objective might seem simple for a family pizza business, they will need to work to put this into words. Based on what I know about the situation, the objective might be to offer quality meal to families for both take out and dine in experiences. The scope has been a topic of much debate, as many of the locations’ menus have crept far beyond the original pledge of offering “the best pizza in town.” With spaghetti dinners, burgers, and other items on the menu, I suspect it may benefit the workers and even the customers to simplify the menu and focus on what they do best – pizza. With that said, the advantage of the business in the past has been about quality, with the expectation that customers will pay a premium for a high quality product – a specialty large pizza runs almost $30 and is one of the most popular items. While the activity-system map exercise might be more complex than this small business needs, after reading this article I believe there would be enormous benefit to conducting informal focus groups with frequent customers to understand what it is that makes them come back. While the company’s strategy is undefined now, the formula is working – it’s a question of how a better articulated strategy could take this small business from good to great.