Contemporary themes in hospitality policy and practice

ASSIGNMENT INSTRUCTIONS Interim/Final: Final/September Intake First/Resit First Individual Essay Assessment Code: 011 Academic Year: 2016/17 Semester: 1-2
Module Title: Contemporary Themes in Hospitality Policy and Practice Module Code: MOD004063 Level:
6 Module Leader: Makayla Whyte Weighting: 60% Word Limit:
3000 words Submission Date: This assignment must be received by no later than 14:00 on Monday,
08 May 2017 WRITING YOUR ASSIGNMENT: This assignment must be completed as an individual essay.
The Harvard Referencing System must be used.
Your work must indicate the number of words you have used. Do not exceed the
maximum number of words specified above; all assignments which do so will be penalised. The penalty will be the deduction of marks at the Markers judgement. * The word limit does not include any diagrams or appendences.
Assignment submissions are to be made anonymously. Do not write your name anywhere on your work. Write your student ID number at the top of every page. Where the assignment comprises more than one task, all tasks must be submitted in a single document. You must number all pages and ensure you use 12 font and double space.
SUBMITTING YOUR ASSIGNMENT: You must submit your assignment using Turnitin software and obtain a receipt.
Requests for short-term extensions will only be considered in the case of illness or other cause considered valid by the Welfare Adviser (studentwelfare@lca.anglia.ac.uk). These must normally be received and agreed by the Welfare Adviser in writing at least TWENTY-FOUR (24) hours prior to the deadline. Mitigation claims must be submitted by the student or in exceptional circumstances (e.g. when a student has been hospitalised) by a Director of Studies, Programme Leader or Student Adviser on behalf of the student no later than five working days after the deadline. Work submitted up to 5 working days after the deadline will be marked. The penalty for missing the deadline will be the capping of the mark for the assessment at 40%. Work cannot be uploaded to Turnitin after the 5 working day period following the deadline. A mark of 0% will be recorded unless an extension has been approved in advance of the deadline. Please refer to the Academic Regulations or your Student Handbook for full details. Case Study: Business Development at Little Chef Little Chef is a chain of roadside restaurants based in the UK. Sam Alper, a caravan manufacturer, opened the first Little Chef in 1958 with only 11 seats in Reading. His concept of Little Chef was based upon the roadside diner model in America and over the next three decades the business has grown to over 400 sites. The restaurants are predominately based on A roads and positioned such that they are easily accessible to the passing traveller. In recent years Little Chef has encountered a number of difficulties and even went into administration in 2007. Little Chef has had a number of owners since the mid-1990s including Forte, Granada (took over the Little Chef in 1996 as part of the acquisition of Forte), Compass Group (in 2001), private equity group Permira (in 2002) and the People

Restaurant Ltd (in 2005). Under the ownership of The People Restaurant Ltd, Little Chef went into administration in early 2007. Private equity firm R Capital then acquired the business for 9million. At this point the business had been reported to be losing 3 million a year. In recent years Little Chef has had to compete with the massive influx of fast food establishments and the growing number of petrol station forecourts that have diversified into selling takeaway drinks and snacks. This is in addition to the greater range of eating options available to travellers through, for example, branded pub chains. Coupled with this have been the social trends towards healthy eating and eating on the move. Business travellers also often want to get to their end destination quickly and are therefore more likely to want to take the motorway instead of A roads which can add further time to their journey. Fluctuations in demand can also be impacted upon by roadworks, the weather and the time of year. The chain under subsequent ownerships has suffered from poor investment and a lack of clear direction. The Little Chef brand is closely associated with its Fat Charlie logo which adorns its restaurants. Famously, a previous owner of Little Chef (Permira) embarked on a rebranding exercise of the logo. This entailed a slimmed down version of Fat Charlie and was intended to negate the image that Little Chef was synonymous with unhealthy foods. However, the rebranding exercise encountered a negative a negative public reaction and was subsequently never rolled out across the chain. Under R Capital, Ian Pegler, a former boss of Little Chef during its ownership by Forte from 1990 to 1994, was recruited as Chief Executive of the firm and was tasked with revitalising the brand. Dishes such as bangers and mash Caesar Salad were replaced with meals such as fish pie, pasta salads, curries, and liver and bacon. Lighter breakfast options with granary bread, fruit juices and muesli breakfasts were introduced. The chain has also developed a take away option which includes breakfast rolls, jacket potatoes, toasties and burger options. Free Wi-Fi connections have also been installed. However, the chain has been reticent to cut costs as this may be poorly perceived by customers. In 2008 the chain commissioned celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal (owner of the triple Michelin starred Fat Duck restaurant in Bray, Berkshire) to offer advice on the way forward for Little Chef. This has resulted in a new-style Little Chef being trialled at the Popham restaurant near Basingstoke, with the intention that if successful it should be rolled out across the chain. This was documented through a series of programmes on Chanel 4 which followed the process. The chef, who presents shows such as Heston\’s Fantastical Food, is famous for his unusual culinary creations, such as snail porridge and egg and bacon ice cream. Following a six year experiment to re-vamp the restaurant chain The Little Chef dropped Heston Blumenthal\’s creations from its menu. The new meals served up included braised ox cheeks, coq au vin and a strawberry yoghurt and granola breakfast. However, Little Chef say the experiment was not a success, and have replaced Heston\’s fancy foods with more profitable stalwarts such as gammon, steak and egg, chicken and chips and french toast. The chain says it wants to focus on its traditional, big-selling dishes. Little Chef spokesman Richard Hillgrove said: \”Heston originally approached us to do his Channel 4 show about how he was going to save Little Chef. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But he took everything away from its core. He was very particular about the decor. He even wanted talking toilets in the restaurants where his food was on the menu. The problem is that no one wanted his food. None of his dishes are popular. Responding to Little Chefs announcement, a spokesman for Blumenthal said: \”As part of the Channel 4 programme he was asked to transform the Little Chef site at Popham. His ideas were well received and the Popham Little Chef concept was extremely successful, incredibly popular with the public and was awarded a listing in the British Good Food Guide. Heston never worked for Little Chef after the programme. Blumenthal maintains that three years after the programme aired, he was asked by investment company R Capital to be involved as an advisory consultant and that due to the success of the Popham site they wanted to roll out the new Little Chef concept Heston had created. But Blumenthal would not commit due to the level of investment required by R Capital in terms of training, rebranding and menu development to deliver consistency and quality in line with the Popham concept which were not forthcoming. This saw an end to his advisory role. Little Chef continued to struggle and in 2013 a Kuwait-based fast-food chain, Kout, came to the rescue of Little Chef with a payment of 15million for 81 of the remaining 83 Little Chef outlets run by R Capital, with a promise to revitalise the brand while retaining Fat Charlie, as its mascot. Fadwa Al Homaizi, chairman, said: \”Little Chef will benefit from a process of brand renewal in keeping with current trends, supported by traditional British values.\” Kout already runs more than 40 Burger King and KFC outlets in the UK as well as Maison Blanc, the French patisserie venture started by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc. It has exclusive franchises in Kuwait for Burger King, Pizza Hut, Applebee\’s and Taco Bell. Turnaround specialist R Capital felt it could provide the long-established business with a new lease of life after paying around 9m in 2007 to take the group out of administration following an earlier crisis. R Capital felt it had done enough to reposition the business after huge changes that involved closures, job losses and coping with the prolonged downturn in the economy. Fast food rivals McDonald\’s and KFC made offers that would have seen the Little Chef name disappear after 55 years, but only Kout came in with a bid that would protect the slimmed-down roadside chain, 1,000 jobs and a commitment to grow the business and the brands. Jamie Constable, chief executive of R Capital described Little Chef as the biggest and longest turnaround in its nine-year history. He conceded the turnaround task was much harder than expected but he felt R Capital had created consistently profitable sites in an operational turnaround that had stretched management. Mr Constable added: \”Having owned Little Chef for a long time, it feels like we are selling part of ourselves. But we take comfort from the fact that the new owners will take the brand to the next stage.\” The latest information shows that there are currently 73 Little Chef restaurants still trading. (Adapted from Hassanien et al, 2011) The ever-evolving nature of fast-food restaurants within the hospitality industry is perceived to be at its most demanding. There are many challenges to address in order to stay a viable, profitable business from short and long-term trends in customer behaviour, aggressive competitors, strong and ethical supply chains, strategic positioning of the brand, technology, transparency, and turf wars to name just a few. Little Chef has weathered turbulent waters, and are still in operation, but with far less restaurants and a question mark over whether they can stay in business in their current form. . Assessment Individual Essay Due Monday 08 May 2017 Task one: Examine the detrimental effects of strategic drift to a business and analyse to what extend has Little Chef been suffering from this concept. Assessment criteria You must write this task as an individual essay, following the appropriate structure. Points to consider: factors that create strategic drift and in particular the why Little Chef were unable to keep pace with the changes that occurred in their immediate environment. A Bibliography/Reference list containing at least 12 items throughout the whole assessment that you have independently researched. Marks will be awarded or deducted based on the range of vocabulary and technical accuracy (e.g. spelling, grammar, syntax) used in the assignment. 40 Marks Task two: Examine and analyse what factors may continue to act as a threat to Little Chef pursuing its future business developments. Assessment criteria You must write this task as an individual essay, following the appropriate structure. Points to consider: contemporary factors could hinder development should be explored, such as from short and long-term trends in customer behaviour, aggressive competitors, strong and ethical supply chains, strategic positioning of the brand, technology, transparency, investment etc. A Bibliography/Reference list containing at least 12 items throughout the whole assessment that you have independently researched. Marks will be awarded or deducted based on the range of vocabulary and technical accuracy (e.g. spelling, grammar, syntax) used in the assignment. 40 Marks Task three: Make suggestions on what you recommend Little Chefs future business development should be. Assessment criteria You must write this task as am individual essay, following the appropriate structure. Points to consider: areas that would positively contribute to Little Chefs development to enable longevity . A Bibliography/Reference list containing at least 12 items throughout the whole assessment that you have independently researched. Marks will be awarded or deducted based on the range of vocabulary and technical accuracy (e.g. spelling, grammar, syntax) used in the assignment
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