Case Studies

This section shows how critical thinking and creative thinking about a small business can be provided to future-proof the business and ensure it survives and prospers during the forthcoming recession, possible stagflation, and the subsequent low-growth economy.

These three case studies are brief synopses.

1. Hospital kitchen Caterers- new market opportunities

Hospital Administrators are tight-fisted. Due to various global factors, global food prices rose by 55.2% from May 2020 to February 2022, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Covid’s May  2020 to February 2022 impact on supply chain shortages, which created a 55.2% global food price increase, was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Global food prices are expected to soar even higher due to this invasion.  Outsourced hospital kitchen caterers are hard-pressed to remain profitable.

After the Proactive Business Strategy was completed, my Strategic Advisory Service’s solution was to get the Caterers to see themselves as providers of prepared, cooked food and not only as hospital caterers to patients in bed.

Mealtimes at hospitals are prescribed, and there are periods of inactivity in the kitchens. By streamlining the process of hospital food preparations and using the spare production capacity and unused labor in off-peak periods, it is possible to create other prepared food for a wider market.

The starting point is to offer this food preparation service to hospital patients returning home and provide a “meals on wheels” operation. A standard two-course dinner menu of protein, vegetables, salad, or fruit can be scheduled for each day of the week.

For lunch, (optional), a sandwich and salad.

For breakfast, (optional) a pack of grains, e.g., muesli/ granola, a banana/seasonal fruit, and a small low-fat milk container.

Plastic cutlery and napkins complete the pack.

Dieticians at the hospital can assist with meal planning.

The food can be delivered during the day by a dedicated delivery service run by the Caterer, and the cost is factored into the daily charges. Upfront payment for the week ahead must be made via a payment gateway service. Having the cash upfront assists with the cash flow in making daily food purchases.

The second target market is older people in senior living housing or apartments.

The number of single-person households in the USA is 28%, and in the UK, 26.8%. This target market could be developed if the food preparation capacity becomes available.

Once the consistent demand increases sufficiently and the kitchen’s capacity is reached, a “dark kitchen” can be established in a low rent area to add to the Caterer’s supply of prepared foodstuff.

This process will increase the Caterer’s survival and enable them to prosper in the recession.

2. Making restaurants profitable again

Due to the Covid shutdown, concern about sitting in closed spaces, and subsequent seat limitations, restaurants have been one of the hardest-hit business sectors worldwide.

After an interrogative and interactive process leading to a Proactive Business Strategy, I established that the restaurant’s highest profit margins are starters, desserts, coffee, and alcohol sales. The largest drain on profits was the Delivery Service Providers such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo, and others, taking around 30% of the total sale price. This cut the restaurateur’s profit margin to be razor-thin.

As more and more people opted for home deliveries and not visiting restaurants, the restaurateur was mainly selling main courses, mainly hot, where the profit margin was not as high as starters, mainly cold, deserts which were also mainly cold, alcohol was always cold, and hot coffee.

My Strategic Advisory Service created a new strategy for the restaurant:

All home deliveries will come with either a starter and main course or the main course and a dessert. A starter or dessert could also be ordered separately to create a three-course meal. Coffee could be dispensed in an insulated coffee container which could be reheated at home in a microwave. Alcohol could be dispensed for beers, small “airline” bottles for spirits, and the equivalent of two glasses of wine could be decanted into small containers.

Free tealight candles with restaurant-branded matches to accompany the order for evening/night deliveries. A single red rose also accompanies the night delivery order. Two free gold-wrapped Ferrer Roche chocolates complete the order.

My strategic advice was to create the atmosphere of a restaurant’s evening dining experience at home. People, especially women, will look past the cost of food and drink and feel romance in the air while being at home.

School lunches could also be delivered the night before when evening meals were delivered.

Lunches for office workers to be created based on specials for the day where large quantities could be made and packaged during the mid-morning when restaurants were usually not yet open for their lunchtime trade.

A defined delivery radius is to be established for the economics of the delivery service.

Uber Eats, Deliveroos, etc., charge the drivers around 17-25% of the delivery driver’s earnings. Research among these motor cars and motorcycles drivers usually elicits extreme unhappiness of these charges. The current profit margins of this delivery personnel are razor-thin, especially as current gas prices rise substantially.

To avoid the demanding 30% of the restaurant’s gross sales delivery service charges by Uber Eats, Deliveroos, etc., the restaurant can contract with chosen drivers and motorcyclists to do the deliveries. They will have a constant supply of work at lunchtime, especially at dinner times. These drivers could also be retired people looking to supplement their pensions. The delivery charges paid to the delivery drivers and motorcyclists will be added to the cost of the order and, as well, a tip suggested for the delivery person. By limiting the radius of the delivery orders, these delivery charges should not be expensive. An option to collect the order from the restaurant can also be offered.

The marketing strategy I created for the restaurant was to go back through their previous bookings for in-house dining and deliveries to identify their previous customers’ names and telephone numbers.

To contact these customers asking for the birthdays of family members and wedding anniversaries, and say that a special offer will be offered on these days including a free small cake/muffins and candles. The restauranteur will contact the responsible adult a few days in advance to discuss menu options for home deliveries or in-house dining experiences.

At the initial contact with existing customers, ask their permission to email them your menu, specials (if any) for the day, including a restaurant dining experience at home, school lunches menu, and other work lunch menus.

Permission to send them messages on their mobiles once a week letting them know specials for the week ahead.

All delivery packages to include the stapling of the printed delivery menus of the restaurant and specials for the next week. These menus will be stapled onto the outside of the delivery package.

Residents in the delivery area have mailbox drops of the restaurants offering a discount for first-time customers—a color picture of the in-house dining experience is on one side of the marketing pamphlets.

Offer retailers in the restaurant’s vicinity a “swop” facility by leaving your marketing pamphlets in a prominent place in their stores. You do the same for them in your restaurant.

With each delivery for a restaurant dining experience at home and meaningful day eating experiences, the restaurateur should request their customers to create social media posts to go viral. If also sent to the restaurant’s Facebook and Instagram pages, a treat will be included with their next order.

These proactive strategic and marketing action plans should enable the restaurant to survive and prosper in the recession, especially as word-of-mouth spreads and social media posts go viral.

3. Increasing a Charity’s donations in a time of recession

Economic recessions are bad news for charities relying on donations.

A Proactive Business Strategy Report identified the possible dire state of a Charity’s income from reducing donations in a recession.

The future of Charity’s traditional collection of donations is bleak. A new strategy is urgently needed to continue funding the Charity for the beneficiaries of the Charity.

After the Proactive Business Strategy, I put on my Creativity Thinking hat. I came up with a Strategic Advisory Service that recommended the following new strategy to increase donations substantially.

Top Seconds

Most of the Top 1% have haute couture and top branded clothes and accessories. Many of these people usually only wear their outfits once or a few times before shopping for new clothes and accessories.

Cupboards overflow with no longer worn high-value clothes and accessories.

The creative strategy I devised was to identify how to target these 1% and request them to give their now unwanted high-value clothes and accessories to the charity as a donation. The charity will sell them off on the Internet as Top Seconds and raise donation funds.

A picture of each item for sale will be displayed on a section of Charity’s website entitled Top Seconds. The size and measurements will be included with the pictures of each item for sale.

The Donors can either be anonymous or named, as requested by the Donor. The Donors will be given a number, so Buyers knowing their size and measurements and those of the numbered Donor, can follow this Donor’s contributions and purchase accordingly.

Target markets

Several Donor target markets were identified: celebrities, people on society pages, Top Businesswomen, and Top Business organizations.

I identified a unique target market; banks, other financial institutions, businesses, and professional firms advising High-Net-Worth Individuals(HNWI).

Approaching these financial advisors and proposing a joint venture of sorts whereby they can be seen doing charitable works will enhance their clients’ view of them and their public images.

The financial advisors can approach their HNWI clients, explaining how they can benefit a deserving charity by donating any unrequired clothes and accessories for sale by the charity.

This becomes a win:win:win: win strategy for the Charity; the people acquiring these  Top 1%’s clothes and accessories at a major discount; the financial advisor’s relationship with their HNWI clients, and public awareness of the financial advisors’ contributions towards the charity and their HNWI who are the Donors.

Donation Tax Certificates from the charity of the funds raised per Donor will be provided to each Donor before the end of the current tax year. Deductions can be claimed from their taxes.

Marketing Top Seconds via a social media campaign and details of Top Seconds going viral will attract the buyers of this deeply discounted haute couture and branded clothes and accessories.

The practical issues of approaching the target markets and their financial advisors, the collection of the clothes and accessories from the Donors, marketing and selling the clothes and accessories on a website, collecting the sales proceeds via a payment gateway, packaging the sold items, dispatching the sold items via a courier service and follow up thank you emails to the Donors and their financial advisors were spelled out in the strategy  Negotiations with the courier company resulted in a sizeable discount of their service charges.

All involved financial advisors and the courier company were promoted on Charity’s Top Seconds website page. Donors were offered this opportunity as well.

The increase in donations is virtually guaranteed, and the Charity can prosper during the extremely difficult tough times ahead.

Initial Assessment Future Proofing Report

Small Business Owner / Stakeholder / Buyer / Investor

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