Businesses have always taken a step higher in finding ways of improving their products. There are various strategies that companies use to improve their systems and products. These business entrepreneurship skills are important because they help in identifying the diverse strategies to utilize and the best fit in the business. This study aims at providing an assessment of the business strategy that will be appropriate in improving a particular product while also evaluating other aspects of a company. More specifically, the study focuses on Patisserie Valerie as a case study, with the focus being the technological development that can be utilized in improving the performance of the products and company as a whole.
Patisserie Valerie is a popular business in the United Kingdom. The company is a group of cafés operating in the country, specializing in hand-made cakes and other related products. The cafés also provide breakfasts, lunches, teas as well as coffees. The company has been successful in this enterprise, focusing on various products as well as improving them in order to have variety and quality. The business started way back in 1926 by Madame Valerie, a Belgian investor. However, the business patent rights were acquired by the Scalzo brothers; later, Luke Johnson engaged in the acquisition and became the major shareholder. The chain of cafés has grown significantly since then, increasing in the number of stores to over 100 across the country by 2015.
Patisserie Valerie has continued with its development, selling new products and improving the current ones. However, the company has to compete with various companies, including the giants like Starbucks and McDonalds in the provision of similar products such as coffees. Therefore, the company has to consider this in order to come up with new strategies that can ensure that it overcomes the challenges as well as breaking into the market. The number of cafés – standing at over 100 – is still a small number compared to its competitors who have maintained their stores within the United Kingdom. Therefore, the company has to come up with unique strategies that will ensure that it maintains its rise in the food and beverage industry through development of new products, improvement of current products and other aspects such as technological advancement. However, before looking at a particular product, it is important to assess the various discussions regarding the business strategies.
Benefit to consumers
The company has produced important products that are important for the clients. The customers are able to not only purchase cakes but also buy breakfasts, lunch and have business meetings within the premises of the company. The company has a variety of products that are appealing to customers as well as providing supplements for their daily energy requirements. Another important aspect is on affordability; the products sold at Patisserie Valerie are way cheaper than some of its competitors. Therefore, the company has the ability of increasing its customer base in the United Kingdom while also focusing on further improvements. However, when discussing the benefit to the customers, it is important to point out the benefits associated to the internet of things (Behmann, & Wu, 2015). The major benefit for the customers is that there is efficient and quality services offered to the clients. The implementation will be useful in reducing the time of service as well as improve on the quality of the products through proper storage.
The Assessment of Company’s external environment
There are various issues that should be considered when discussing the external environment of the company. The assessment is crucial in understanding various external factors that the company may not have the power to control, but have to find strategies of managing the factors or using them to improve in business. These factors are divided into political, social, economic, legal, technological and environmental aspects. In other words, this section discusses the major factors that the company should consider that will improve its performance over the next five years.
There are various political factors that affect the performance of Patisserie Valerie. One of the major political situations is on the issue of Brexit – the United Kingdom leaving the European Union (Guild, 2016). The political situation in the United Kingdom is becoming a major challenge for companies, as there are various uncertainties that have not been resolved (Guild, 2016). The Brexit situation has led to financial instability for the country, with various discussions being put across concerning how the United Kingdom should leave the European Union (Price, 2016). However, there is also an option that Britain may have another vote that may prevent her from leaving the Union – although the chances are slim.
Even so, the process of Brexit is becoming an issue because of the idea that many investors are finding new regulations tougher for them and hence moving to other European countries (Guild, 2016). The Brexit situation has therefore made the economy to struggle (MacShane, 2016). This is important in the performance of Patisserie Valerie because it has to cope to the uncertain business environment while focusing on not only improving its businesses or sales in the United Kingdom but also on extending abroad. The company needs to assess its political situation while ensuring that it does not engage in political issues.
Another political situation that is becoming an issue for the enterprise is the Scottish independence from the United Kingdom (Murkens, Jones, & Keating, 2002). Scotland has in the recent times struggled to find her independence from the United Kingdom, although the previous referendums have failed (Whyte, 2016). For instance, after the failed independence referendum in 2014, Scotland is still pushing for her independence (Cochrane, & Kerevan, 2014). One major issue is that Scotland is citing the Brexit situation as one of the major reasons, as she wishes to remain within the European Union.
The unstable political condition in Scotland is therefore highly affecting the business processes of Patisserie Valerie, as it also has various stores in Scotland. The political temperatures continue to be a challenge, as there is instability within the stock market as well as the movement of British citizens in the member countries – including England, Ireland and Scotland. However, the company has to adapt to these uncertainties as it focuses on improving its performance.
There are various economic factors that can be discussed when focusing on the performance of the company. One major economic issue is the increase of taxation. The taxation in the United Kingdom is considered one of the highest across the globe, due to the processes such as maintaining the monarchy as well as the democratic form of government. High cost of living is impacting on the lives of the Britons, with the challenge affecting both the common citizens as well as companies. In other words, the discussion on taxation can be approached in two different dimensions.
The first argument is the taxation of the company, which means that the raw materials and the levies it pays for other processes affect the prices of the products. The company has to make profits and therefore when the price of coffee and other raw materials are raised, then it has to raise prices. The second argument is on the challenges facing the clients, as the company targets various customers from different social backgrounds. The customers face the high cost of living when highly taxed, and therefore they may consider some products as luxurious. This affects the performance of the company, since most of the customers can do without the products in case the economic situations do not favor them.
Another argument is on the harsh economic times and uncertainty in Britain due to the global economic crisis. Even as major countries as struggling to overcome the economic crisis, there are predictions that the economic crisis may still bite. Due to these challenges, the company has to find strategies of maintaining the customers through reducing the prices, increasing customer care services and even developing a bonus plan for regular customers.
Still connected to the harsh economic challenges, the loss of value of the British Sterling Pound against major world currencies such as the Dollar and Euro have made the cost of production to increase. This has majorly been affected by the Brexit situation as well as other factors (Guild, 2016). The company retrieves some of its raw materials from out of the country and therefore during forex exchange, it has unnecessary expenses. The rise in expenditure means that the company has a threat in its business processes and therefore has to consider strategies of overcoming these challenges.
The social factors affecting the company regards to the various customer preferences and patterns associated to the purchase of the products. The major focus is on the customer preferences and lifestyles in the United Kingdom. There are various discussions concerning the change in lifestyles of the people living in the United Kingdom. One major aspect that should be considered is the issue of the types of foods that cause cancer and other medical disorders (Finkelstein, 2013). There are concerns regarding how fast foods are not healthy and therefore the population seems to avoid the products.
The company therefore has directed its efforts towards improving the safety standards for the foods. In addition, there is need to come up with strategies of coming up with diverse foods that will ensure every customer has a priority product. However, the eating habits that the population has especially during daytime are associated to the type of work or schedules that they have. In other words, the company provides breakfast and lunch and most of its foods are fast foods. Most of the people, particularly the working class, purchase the products as they do not head back to their houses to get food such as breakfast and lunch. Therefore, the company has an opportunity of combining these issues and coming up with strategies that will improve its relations with the customers.
The technological factors are highly important for the improvement of Patisserie Valerie. The company has an established system in various factors but has not majorly dwelt on technological factors. The major technological factor that needs to be assessed is the emergence of innovative technologies (Raj, & Raman, 2017). Most companies in the food industries have improved their systems through innovative technology. One of the major technologies include the enterprise resource planning, cloud computing and internet of things (Gaglio, & Re, 2013). These technological advancements are important in improving the supply chain, production processes as well as ensuring that the products are of high quality and also healthy for consumption. The company has to focus on the technological innovative processes that would help in these aspects, although the major focus of this study is the utilization of the internet of things particularly in the serving processes and storage (Greengard, 2015).
There are various legal factors that affect the performance of Patisserie Valerie in the United Kingdom. One of the major factors is the introduction of strict customs as well as trade regulations. Trade regulations have been made tighter due to the issue regarding Brexit (Guild, 2016). There are strict regulations being put into place in the United Kingdom especially when it comes to goods that enter and leave the country as well as businesses being conducted within the country. Patisserie Valerie is highly affected by the regulations especially those that touch the raw materials.
The company has to meet these regulations in order to meet the standards raised by the country. The same case applies to the second factor, licensing regulations, where the company has to ensure that its licenses are palatable and in line with the regulations. The regulations of the food and beverages industry are stricter due to the health hazards and issues that majorly affect these industries (Mahoney, 2015). The company has engaged in getting the licenses while focusing on its employees particularly in improving the safety standards (Academic Press, 2013). Some of the safety standards include the provision of information on the major raw materials – and their quantities – used for a given product. In addition, safety standards such as the amount of temperatures the workers are exposed to during the preparation of the cakes.
There are few environmental factors associated to the company within the United Kingdom, since it has its headquarters based in the country. The company has focused on these environmental factors, particularly on its practices with relations to the environmental concerns (Ranken, 2012). The major environmental concerns have been discussed is on the environmental hazards caused by the fumes and other processes (Stockton, 1996). The company has to ensure that the employees are not affected during the processing of the foods (Holah, & Gabric, 2016). In addition, there are regulations concerning the production of coffee beans, which is associated to various hazards including the burning of coffee beans and other form of preparations. However, Patisserie Valerie has complete control of the environmental factors and therefore it has to focus on other factors.
The UK Market
The company has majorly focused on the United Kingdom’s market, mainly engaging in various practices. Patisserie Valerie has been outstanding in the country being able to make huge steps towards its performance. The company has made hundreds of millions through the sale of products, with the focus being on the improvement of the cakes. However, the sale of cakes has become a competitive business, with various multinational companies also investing in these areas. In other words, it is important to evaluate the various market aspects with regards to the performance of the company.
From the study, Patisserie Valerie is a common name when it comes to the sale of handmade cakes. The trademark of the company has ensured that it has made huge sales within the market. However, the company faces stiff competition from other companies that have other substitutes and competitive service delivery. These companies are mostly multinationals who have invested in the United Kingdom. However, it is important to assess these products within the United Kingdom’s market.
Currently, there are many companies that are involved in the process of baking cakes. Many bakeries are opened in every part of the country. Some of these bakeries sell their products over the counter while some sell their products through other vendors. In other words, the competition in the cake production industry is highly stiff. Some of the popular bakeries that are competitive in the United Kingdom include the Dutch House Yorkshire, Handmade Cake Company as well as Little Betty’s Baby Bouti’que. These companies produce quality cakes that are competitive to Patisserie Valerie’s products. However, Patisserie Valerie is still competitive and considered as an upcoming company that is gaining ground in the cake market.
However, various statistical predictions have placed the cake industry as one of the most industrious areas of business. As a matter of fact, there is a prediction that the market will grow by 9% in 2020. From the scenario therefore, it is important to point out that the company has important opportunity in improving its services. In addition, the major substitute of cakes is the chocolates, with various companies also getting involved.
The understanding of technological advancement is crucial in improving the cakes. Technology is one important aspect that should not be ignored when it comes to the performance in the production process. Currently, the company has only been involved in having the common technological devices including those that help in the decorations and the management of temperatures. However, the food and beverage industry has more technological aspects that can be considered. This is because there are various areas that need improvement in these companies.
In the food industry, companies have utilized technologies such as the internet of things, the cloud computing in ensuring that workers have effective communication as well as the enterprise resource planning programs. These technological advancements are crucial in improving the sales and monitoring of the supply chain of these companies. Through proper analysis of the needs of the company, the company will be able to improve its performance. The target for innovation using technology can be directed towards the production process, safety standards as well as the service delivery. In other words, Patisserie Valerie has the ability of improving its sales through utilizing one of these innovative projects that are directed particularly for cakes.
From the analysis, it is important to understand the various aspects that should be considered in improving the performance at the company. The major focus has been on cakes, although there are important technological advancements that should be taken into consideration for the development of the product. One of the major advancement that is important is the implementation of the internet of things. The internet of things has been popular in every aspect within the food and beverage industry, and many companies have tried implementing the same. The devices that are associated to the internet of things are all directed towards the improvement of the supply chain while also focusing on the performance and services being offered.
The company can utilize the internet of things in the production process and storage of products. In addition, the service delivery can also be improved through the internet of things. The major concern is therefore in the service and preparations, with the baking process requiring an oven which regulates its temperatures and other conditions by itself. Patisserie Valerie has a unique opportunity of using this technological advancement in ensuring that the cakes are not only produced in high quality but also ensures that the service to the customers is never delayed.
The reason for implementing the internet of things in such a company – particularly on the service section – is that there is need for more people to be served faster than the current rate. Since the company has high number of clients, it has to find out ways of improving its performance by automating the serving system. Through its automation, the clients are able to receive their orders immediately. This is an important strategy, since customers are highly appreciated when they receive the food orders that they had placed and be comfortable with the services being offered.
Still on the same discussion of the internet of things, the company has the opportunity of improving the cooking process by not only regulating the temperatures but also checking on the quality of raw materials and checking on whether the food is poisonous or not. In other words, the production and serving of cakes through are crucial in ensuring that the clients receive the products of high quality. In other words, from the discussion, it is important for the company to focus on the various types of technological advancement associated to internet of things in meeting the requirements of the clients.
Patisserie Valerie is an important company in the United Kingdom, majorly dealing with the processing of handmade cakes. The discussions above have provided important understanding with regards to the situation it has in improving its performance. The company serves multiple types of customers and is focused on improving its performance. However, this study focused on the specific product – cakes – in understanding how these products can be improved. The following represent the key areas where the cakes can be improved through the internet of things.
||Reduce the number of days, hours or minutes the clients receive their orders
Improve the specificity of the orders issued by clients for perfect satisfaction
Improve the health standards of the cakes with an aim of improving relationship with clients