SOI: Eat Thai, Love Thai
Zenia Banaji, Brennan Dourdoufis, Young Jang, Jessica Kim, Miguel Palanca, Aakarsh Satyanarayan

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Title:                         Soi: Eat Thai, Love Thai

Subject Area:          Competetive strategy

Region:                      Manila, Philippines

Industry:                    Food Service Industry

Company:                 Soi Thai Restaurant

Challenge:              Soi, a Thai restaurant chain located in the Philippines, is a family-owned business. Since the opening of the business’s newest location in the Alabang Town Center (ATC), this particular venue has been experiencing declining sales compared to its other locations. The opening of this new restaurant (Soi ATC) served a strategic purpose to the owners by expanding the restaurant chain further south. The new restaurant opened with promising sales but recently has seen decreasing revenues. The Alabang district is a high traffic central location within the city of Muntinlupa, with nearly 60% of the population falling between the ages 19-55. The area also boasts an educated and informed population due to the presence of academic and cultural centers in close proximity. The ATC is home to many other restaurants that vary highly in cuisine, cost, and service.

 

Embedding in Realities of Industry and Company. 

As our team has a personal connection with a few of the owners of Soi, we decided to reach out to the restaurant in order to see if we could further research and gather information on their predicament. Given the Soi branch’s lack of success in its current location (ATC), the owners must now choose between the following two options going forward: (a) Remain in the ATC, and adapt their business/functional strategies and (b) Move to Molito Lifestyle Center, an alternative food venue.

In order to provide a quality case and consulting report to the client, our team analyzed Soi’s financial statements and secondary data for the market and food service industry analysis.

  • Interviews with management to gather internal data and help to determine strategic solutions
  • Financial statements and company documents
  • Secondary data for the market and food service industry

The data was collected for the timeframe of 2013, when the problem was first identified, through 2015, when the decision-makers were compelled to find a permanent solution.

 

Generating Value: Analyzing and Solving the Challenge

As mentioned previously, Soi has three options for the future of the ATC location:

  1. Move to Molito and change the business strategy.
  2. Remain at ATC and adjust the business strategy.
  3. Shut down the ATC location entirely (only as a last resort).

As Option 3 would be executed only in dire situations, Options 1 and 2 will be further analyzed. Both options involve modification of the business strategy but differ in the place of operation. We have prepared two SWOT analyses that highlight Soi’s internal environment (strengths and weaknesses) and external environment (opportunities and threats) in the context of options 1 and 2. For each SWOT analysis, strength and opportunity pairs are included and elaborated on for further consideration.

Using the data collected, our team applied several frameworks to analyze the external and internal environment surrounding Soi’s strategic situation.

Framework Application of Framework
PESTEL We assessed any relevant political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal opportunities and threats in Soi’s external environment.
VRIO We inventoried Soi’s internal resources and capabilities to measure the progress of each towards sustaining competitive advantage.
Porter’s Five Forces We evaluated how influential the five factors in Soi’s competitive environment was, including suppliers, customers, new entrants, substitutes and existing competitors.
SWOT We investigated Soi’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to formulate strategies by matching strengths with opportunities, and to indicate potential dealbreaker weaknesses and threats.

Findings

Through the application of the frameworks, our team made the following findings (amongst others):

  • The overall failure of Soi ATC to attract customers and continue to grow is likely due to a base incompatibility between their current business strategy and location.
  • There is a potential opportunity for Soi ATC as there are no other high-quality Thai restaurants in the area.
  • Soi could likely succeed in either the ATC or Molito given proper adaptation of their current business strategy.

Recommendations for Solution

Through our thorough research and coursework, our team formulated positioning and competitive strategies in response to the challenge. We also suggested new organizational culture and control systems.


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