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3

Is my framework TOO comprehensive for this question?

I was practicing a case recently and my framework was much more comprehensive than the provided answer in the book. In brief, this was a market entry case (a restaurant was considering whether it should start serving breakfast or not) and the answer provided basically came down to:

1) Is the market attractive? 2) Can the client enter this market profitably?

However, my own framework involved a lot more dynamics:

Before I begin making a framework, I’d ask what the specific goals of the client wanting to incorporate breakfast were and get some ideas of that. I assume they want to increase profits but I just wanted to clarify before proceeding and see if there was any numerical figure attached to this.

First, I wanted to consider of the state of the overall economy, the breakfast market in general, and the financial health of the potential client. These should be fine, but I think these are important to think about.

Second, I wanted to look at the drivers, the branches of an issue tree, and I identified the following: (1) Should the client do it? Consider a cost/benefit analysis and determine expected profits and rate of return on adding breakfast? Who are the customers served and what are their demands? What is the competition like? (2) Could the client do it? Do they have the funds and logistics to feasibly carry this out? Or might they need to accrue more costs for issues related to the value chain? (3) How would the client do it? Do they have any plan as to who they will target? Any ideas on what customer demands are for breakfast? Who will they serve? What are the customer segments? (4) Risks. Will there be any competitive response in the breakfast market?

Third, after identifying these issues, I would suggest (1) attractiveness is the most important and in particular determining if demand is there and then digging into a cost/benefit analysis, looking at the customers, the competition, and going out from there.

Is this type of approach overkill for this of question? Or would interviewers be pleased with the comprehensiveness of it?

Thanks all

I was practicing a case recently and my framework was much more comprehensive than the provided answer in the book. In brief, this was a market entry case (a restaurant was considering whether it should start serving breakfast or not) and the answer provided basically came down to:

1) Is the market attractive? 2) Can the client enter this market profitably?

However, my own framework involved a lot more dynamics:

Before I begin making a framework, I’d ask what the specific goals of the client wanting to incorporate breakfast were and get some ideas of that. I assume they want to increase profits but I just wanted to clarify before proceeding and see if there was any numerical figure attached to this.

First, I wanted to consider of the state of the overall economy, the breakfast market in general, and the financial health of the potential client. These should be fine, but I think these are important to think about.

Second, I wanted to look at the drivers, the branches of an issue tree, and I identified the following: (1) Should the client do it? Consider a cost/benefit analysis and determine expected profits and rate of return on adding breakfast? Who are the customers served and what are their demands? What is the competition like? (2) Could the client do it? Do they have the funds and logistics to feasibly carry this out? Or might they need to accrue more costs for issues related to the value chain? (3) How would the client do it? Do they have any plan as to who they will target? Any ideas on what customer demands are for breakfast? Who will they serve? What are the customer segments? (4) Risks. Will there be any competitive response in the breakfast market?

Third, after identifying these issues, I would suggest (1) attractiveness is the most important and in particular determining if demand is there and then digging into a cost/benefit analysis, looking at the customers, the competition, and going out from there.

Is this type of approach overkill for this of question? Or would interviewers be pleased with the comprehensiveness of it?

Thanks all

(edited)

3 answers

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Hi Paul,

Although possible, it’s difficult to have a framework that is too comprehensive and yours is definitely not. You bring up a lot of good issues that need to be considered. However, they are not presented in a very structured way in the question. You may have presented them in a more structured way in your preparation of the answer but it didn’t translate that way in the question you asked. If you have a comprehensive list like the one you detailed AND you structure it properly, interviewers would give you high marks for the comprehensiveness of your answer.

Given your case question and your answers, here’s a quick take on what a structure could look like below (there are more comprehensive answers but I tried to mainly use your thoughts with only a few additions). The last bucket may be a little overkill.

When considering whether our client should expand its restaurant hours and enter the breakfast market, I would want to explore X things:

  • Customers
    • What’s the overall demand for breakfast? What client segments will they serve? How will they market to customers?
  • Channels
    • Are our current channels located in favorable locations for serving breakfast? How much will it cost to configure their channels to serve breakfast? What hours will they serve breakfast? What will be the increase in labor cost? Utility cost?
  • Product
    • What specific breakfast products / meals will they serve? Will they create combination meals? How will they price meals? Can they use their existing sourcing vendors for our breakfast F&B purchases? What will be the incremental F&B units? costs?
  • Competition
    • What competition do they face? What will be the competitor response? Do competitors target the same customer segments? Do customers have the same product offerings as they are planning?
  • Internal Considerations
    • Do they have the capital to execute the breakfast strategy? Do they have the personnel and capabilities? What incremental costs will they incur?
  • External Factors
    • How is the overall economy faring? What is the dining out trend over the last few years? What is the breakfast dining out trend?

Hi Paul,

Although possible, it’s difficult to have a framework that is too comprehensive and yours is definitely not. You bring up a lot of good issues that need to be considered. However, they are not presented in a very structured way in the question. You may have presented them in a more structured way in your preparation of the answer but it didn’t translate that way in the question you asked. If you have a comprehensive list like the one you detailed AND you structure it properly, interviewers would give you high marks for the comprehensiveness of your answer.

Given your case question and your answers, here’s a quick take on what a structure could look like below (there are more comprehensive answers but I tried to mainly use your thoughts with only a few additions). The last bucket may be a little overkill.

When considering whether our client should expand its restaurant hours and enter the breakfast market, I would want to explore X things:

  • Customers
    • What’s the overall demand for breakfast? What client segments will they serve? How will they market to customers?
  • Channels
    • Are our current channels located in favorable locations for serving breakfast? How much will it cost to configure their channels to serve breakfast? What hours will they serve breakfast? What will be the increase in labor cost? Utility cost?
  • Product
    • What specific breakfast products / meals will they serve? Will they create combination meals? How will they price meals? Can they use their existing sourcing vendors for our breakfast F&B purchases? What will be the incremental F&B units? costs?
  • Competition
    • What competition do they face? What will be the competitor response? Do competitors target the same customer segments? Do customers have the same product offerings as they are planning?
  • Internal Considerations
    • Do they have the capital to execute the breakfast strategy? Do they have the personnel and capabilities? What incremental costs will they incur?
  • External Factors
    • How is the overall economy faring? What is the dining out trend over the last few years? What is the breakfast dining out trend?

(edited)

Thanks for the comments. They are much appreciated. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind to expand on your reasoning behind putting COSTS in the analysis three different times. Once under channels, another in product, and another in internal (company). I am assuming that channel costs would be things related to the value chain and may be especially significant if they're coming from a different distributor than their usual supply chain. I am assuming product costs are the raw materials, labor, and things related to what's going on in the product production process itself. And internal considerations? This I am not sure how they're different. Regardless, thank you for this much clearer framework. I definitely see the difference compared to mine and that is much appreciated. — Paul on Oct 22, 2017

Be sure that:
1. You won't transforme the initial part of the case in a monologue (e.g., do here and there a check with the interviewer if he's following or not..)
2. Ask to the interviewer if he has some preferred area to start with, so that you won't lose time on useless brenches of the structure

Be sure that:
1. You won't transforme the initial part of the case in a monologue (e.g., do here and there a check with the interviewer if he's following or not..)
2. Ask to the interviewer if he has some preferred area to start with, so that you won't lose time on useless brenches of the structure

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Hi Paul,

I definitely do not think this is too comprehensive; your instincts seem spot on. You clearly have a knack for creativity and deep-diving, so my recommendation would be to keep that in mind during your case interviews. In other words, go all out with your issue tree dep-dives, but be agile enough to move on if your inquiries are not met with any data/a positive response from the interviewer.

Hope you find this helpful.

Vasilis

Hi Paul,

I definitely do not think this is too comprehensive; your instincts seem spot on. You clearly have a knack for creativity and deep-diving, so my recommendation would be to keep that in mind during your case interviews. In other words, go all out with your issue tree dep-dives, but be agile enough to move on if your inquiries are not met with any data/a positive response from the interviewer.

Hope you find this helpful.

Vasilis

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