Panera Bread Company and The Tata Group

1. St. Louis-based Panera Bread Company operates and franchises more than 1,200 bakery-cafes in some 40 states under the Panera Bread and St. Louis Bread Company brands. Its mission statement, “A loaf of bread in every arm,” reflects the company’s purpose and its passion.

Discussion Questions:
1. What corporate, competitive, and functional strategies is Panera using to realize its goal of turning the concept into a national brand under the Panera Bread name? Be as specifica as possible.
2. How would you recommend Shaich and his management team evaluate whether the company is accomplishing its corporate strategy?
3. Panera Bread was on BusinessWeek’s “hot growth companies” list for several years. What problems might arise if the company grows too fast? How might they know whether they were growing too fast?
4. The company depends heavily on franchising to fuel its growth. Do some research on franchising. What advantages and drawbacks might it present?
5. What other examples of affordable indulgences can you think of? What strategic risks are there to such a trend? How can Shaich ensure that Panera doesn’t fall victim to those risks?

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2. The Tata Group, based in Mumbai, India, is the largest conglomerate in that country. Tata has more than 95 companies in seven main business groups: chemicals, communications and IT, consumer products, energy, engineering, materials, and services. Its two largest businesses are Tata Steel and Tata Motors. Its Tata Tea, which owns the valued Tetley brand, is one of the largest tea producers in the world.

Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss the advantages and drawbacks of going international using Tata Group’s experiences.
2. What strategic challenges do you think Ratan Tata might face as he guides his company? Using what you know about managing strategically, how might he respond to these challenges?
3. Do some research on India’s economic and political environments. What opportunities and threats do you see? In light of these, do you think Ratan Tata’s strategy of pushing outside India makes sense? Explain.
4. Do some research on the Tata Group (www.tata.com). What is its purpose? How would its core values influence strategic choices? Does it international strategy approach seem to be working? Solution Preview
Panera and Tata Discussion

Discussion Questions – Panera:
1. What corporate, competitive, and functional strategies is Panera using to realize its goal of turning the concept into a national brand under the Panera Bread name? Be as specific as possible.

Business model of providing excellent food in an informal setting that encourages customers to sit back, relax, and enjoy their meals. Understands the needs of consumers wanting to reward themselves with quality products, but do not want to have an overwhelming choice selection, and capitalizes on this need. They focus on building customer loyalty by evolving menu offerings to conform customer’s taste. Panera uses a best cost provider strategy by offering high quality foods such as artisan breads at lower cost to consumers. To offset this cost, they re-engineer the cost to the company through using existing market ingredients so as not to increase labor cost by hiring additional employees to prepare these foods. Panera Bread targets value-conscious customers; provides a competitive edge with its ability to give consumers more value for their money; and, appeals to consumers by providing quality dining without the hassle of lengthy decision-making because of large menu offering. It also uses a centralized location for making the bread, thereby, eliminating additional bakers in the stores and cutting down on time.

2. How would you recommend Shaich and his management team evaluate whether the company is accomplishing its corporate strategy?

By consistently reviewing its strategic marketing plan for gaps, since the market climate is always changing.
By reviewing management objectives to see if they are being met; is management meeting the objectives of the stockholder, i.e., customers and employees? By reviewing goals – are they being met? How is Panera performing in comparison with those goals? Basically performing a strategic analysis based on the mission and values to determine where the company is at any given point.

3. Panera Bread was on BusinessWeek’s “hot growth companies” list for several years. What problems might arise if the company grows too fast? How might they know whether they were growing too fast?

Problems that might arise include the inability of the company to keep up with its financial output; losing touch with employees because of the incapability to understand and/or remain aware of their needs; erosion of customer service level; unable to stay up-to-date with internal systems because the company is growing so fast until systems become outdated more quicker than usual trying to accommodate the growth pace; taking advantage of market opportunities before strategically planning for expansion.

Some indications that the company is growing too fast include:
– More temporary than fulltime employees
– Low employee morale and high turnover
– Lost touch with competitors and understanding market advancements
– Losing control of company inventory

4. The company depends heavily on franchising to fuel its growth. Do some research on franchising. What advantages and drawbacks might it present?

Advantages
– Avoiding the unnecessary trial and error period in starting and operating a new business.
– Lower financial risk, compared to other ventures, because investment costs are lower and profit margins are higher.
– Business Format Franchising complete packages ensure a ready to go “turn-key” franchised unit.
– …

Solution Summary
This solution is comprised of an in depth analysis of the marketing strategies of the Panera Bread Company and the Tata Group. It is approximately 2,000 words of text, including the references.

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