A case study refers to the process used to carry out a special investigation into a particular firm or individual giving a comprehensive deliberation with full documentation of how it has developed within a certain period. This paper aims at formulating a report on Prêt A Manger and the methods it employed over time for its success.
Prêt Service Concept
The name Prêt A Manger is borrowed from a French term which means ready to eat. The company runs its services just like a restaurant. In every Prêt shop there is a kitchen inside. However, in a few cases, some shops have kitchens outside but close to where the outlet is located. Prêt has distinguished itself from its competitors through its unique way of providing services. Its food is handmade. Moreover, at Prêt, food is prepared and packed daily with no leftovers of the previous day being sold on the next day. Notably, coffee made at shops is organic. It is grown in the lush rainforests of high mountains. No pesticides are applied to the coffee and only organic fertilizers are used to boost its growth. Prêt serves only natural food. For instance, its sandwiches are made without using any additives or preservatives, hence they are chemical free.
Surprisingly, in order to reach out to its customers, Prêt avoids the use of advertising outside any of its shops. Instead, it maximizes its advertisement efforts on decorating the walls, windows, and doors of its outlets with its logo, which introduces what the company has to offer. Funding of activities carried out by Prêt, including payment of salaries and motivational activities for employees, is done through sales made daily by the shops, collaboration with shareholders and donations from the public. The latter come in handy for supporting programs run by the company such as the program for helping unemployed individuals around the United Kingdom to get jobs, together with feeding the homeless through its charity program. In rare cases though, Prêt also borrows loans from financial institutions.
The strategy for management of employees at Prêt is a unique process. Personnel are recruited to work in the company for the individual traits they have as opposed to the skills they possess. Due to this, any interview carried out by Prêt tests an applicant in three main areas. First is the desire of the candidate to work in the company. Second is how clearly the applicant can talk. And third is the ability of the candidate to work in a team. Notably, each Prêt shop carries out its own recruitment procedure. This process involves a candidate spending a single day in the company shop of his/her choice, after which the staff members of that outlet vote for the applicant to be hired or not. When one is hired, the management then places the new employee where he/she can perform best and be happy. At Prêt, consideration is done on the right placement of the personnel as opposed to the placement aimed at making profits and increasing sales.
Elements of Service Design
At Prêt A Manger, a number of elements are maintained for service design. The first aspect is a culture in service delivery. It refers to a set of principles which are used by the management of Prêt to exercise control and come up with the ways of maintaining as well as developing a social process to ensure efficient service delivery to the customers. For the company, maintaining the culture means ensuring that all the employees are happy. To achieve this, Prêt invests in parties for its workers, gives each of its shops a budget to pay for trips for all staff members, as well as gives rewards to the personnel. The second element maintained is an engagement of employees. This aspect looks at the attitudes of the workers, leadership methods practiced and the processes used in hiring people.
At Prêt shops, employees are highly engaged in all the processes. For instance, when new workers are being recruited, the existing personnel of the company are the ones mandated with voting for employing the candidate or against it. This process takes place after the employees have communicated and worked with the applicant for a whole working day. The aim of spending a day with the candidate is to assess and analyze his/her personality. The third element maintained by Prêt is service quality. This aspect refers to the strategies held by the company, processes followed and systems of management of performance at all the shops. At Prêt, all employees are recruited based on their personalities. Therefore, all members of staff are given the liberty of being themselves and behaving naturally when they are attending to the customers as opposed to working being limited with the strict rules of client service.
Service Design Components Requiring Extension to Expand Prêt Twin Concepts
Among the components of service designs that require extension is culture. This is one of the reasons why, Prêt A Manger has allocated a part of its funding to educating young people. Notably, this move aims at training the youth on the appropriate skills needed in preparation of healthy foods. This is one of the thoughtful ideas of Prêt for grooming a future generation. After training candidates, the company creates an opportunity for the new skillful young farmers to engage in the competition for funding. In this competition, the participants are expected to generate the original ideas of businesses they feel they can comfortably start and run. This program conducted by Prêt A Manger equips young people with skills of managing cooperatives. Furthermore, students are given the knowledge of computers, management of businesses and finance.
The other component of service design requiring extension is service quality. This is one of the reasons why Prêt introduced a program on entrepreneurship to young people. It teaches how to come up with a business plan, write it down and assess it. However, this program creates the need for Prêt A Manger to create a strategy of the market, which will be used to attract more people towards making more purchases of its products. In order for the company to win the clients it is targeting, it would be necessary for it to improve its services and develop the customers’ friendliness. This move will positively impact on the sales by enhancing Prêt brand image in the eye of the public. To achieve a positive brand image, the company has to meet the expectations of customers through carrying out research appropriately on likes in addition to dislikes of the consumers. With such a move, Prêt will gain an insight into preferences held by the clients.
Pitfalls the Management Should Pay Attention To
At Prêt, a number of issues require the urgent attention. First, a system should be created to better address the problem of having long queues at the company’s shops. This amounts to time wastage for customers who have little time, according to Prêt A Manger case study (Business Wire, 2009). The second issue that really needs to be addressed is the price set for some of the company’s products. For instance, all bananas are sold at 5pounds, while each piece of a rice cake goes for 35 pounds. Such high prices end up causing Prêt to lose the large number of customers who were willing to purchase the company’s products but had not enough purchasing power (Ritzer, 2013). The third issue to consider is asking the employees of the firm to cut down on the many questions they ask their clients as a way of trying to be friendly. Though this is a good human relations strategy, it might end up being offensive to people when they are tired and stressed up by their own problems. The business needs to consider other strategies of friendliness that do not compromise the success of the organization (Mathur, 2010).
Alternatives for Expansion
To avoid the use of twin strategies to expand the business, Prêt may also consider exploring a number of other options. First, the company may benefit if it employs market segmentation. Ritzer (2013) points out that segmentation of the market refers to a situation where a business picks a specific subset of its entire marketplace in order to be able to organize sales more appropriately. With this move, Prêt will be able to decide to whom it intends to sell its products. The second option the company would benefit from using is leveraging partnerships. This is when a business allows other parties to sell its products without paying for the service but sharing profits from sales with them (Hollensen, 2015). Such a move will save Prêt the cost of advertising and cost of employing more salespeople. The third option for the company would be using the checklists in all its shops. This would enable Prêt to remain focused on achieving its intended plans.
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