Identifying a Solution for the Sales Drought in J&D Pizza

Steve Sarkis, Nghi Ly, Raul Najera Bahena, Ying Liu, Ruyan Ashley Lim MBA

Subject area:              Identifying a Solution for the Sales Drought in J&D Pizza

Region:                        USA, New England; Woonsocket, RI

Industry:                     Restaurant

Company:                   J&D Pizza

Client:                          George and Therese Sarkis

Challenge:                 J&D Pizza is a family-owned restaurant. Due to the global outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, dine-in restrictions limit their profitability and most of the time they are sold through delivery. In addition, they also face competition from local restaurants. J&D Pizza’s vision is to become a local favorite in the Woonsocket area. In view of the current situation, J&D pizza needs to decide as soon as possible to prevent more losses, and even be forced to close due to lack of profitability before deciding.

“J & D Pizza” as a “Making Your Case” project


Project Relevance/Our Team


A small business that is easy to understand provided us with the opportunity to learn strategic frameworks in a simpler business model. Our financial backgrounds can be leveraged to produce quantifiable recommendations while still providing us with the key learning experience applicable in large corporations.

  • Steve: This pizza shop is actually owned by my parents who are the clients. Obviously, I feel passionate about helping my parents succeed in their newly acquired business, but I also see the opportunity to develop a stronger strategy for their business and hopefully add tremendous value for a local business.
  • Raul: During my high school and undergraduate school, I worked for a small restaurant (7 years) because of this background I was able to understand J&D Pizza’s dilemma. I once was a manager of the restaurant that I worked for, and it was a bit frustrating having an owner that was not opened for change- eventually, the business shut down. Helping J&D’s Pizza was perhaps the most meaningful project I have encountered during my MBA program. Currently, I work as a small business banker, J&D’s Pizza has expanded my horizon by looking at small business needs a bit differently. Overall, this project has helped me connect my past background with the present one and helped me see different things from a new perspective.
  • Ying: In the case of J&D Pizza, I applied the knowledge I learned to analysis and practice, which gave me a deeper understanding and cognition of this course. In my work in the future, I will use the knowledge I have learned more flexibly, analyze and respond to various situations more proficiently. In addition, this case is in the restaurant industry. When doing research and collecting information, I have a better understanding of this industry, which also makes me more confident if I enter this industry in the future.
  • Nghi: With little experience in the business sector as my background mostly consists of underwriting insurance, this opportunity to assist J&D Pizza was a great start to be able to work with a small-scale operation and employ all the studies that I have acquired in the MBA program so far. This opportunity will allow me to continue to practice and gradually apply this to larger organizations.
  • Ruyan: As someone who just stepped into the business industry, I have struggled to understand why managers make certain decisions when I think a different solution would have been better. Applying the strategic frameworks to the small business J&D Pizza showed me an uncomplicated view of the behind-the-scenes work that happened before a decision is made. This will be a good stepping stone for me to slowly build up to using these frameworks for increasingly larger companies, like the hospital I currently work at.


Connecting with the Company’s Reality/Data Collection


The methodologies utilized for the data collection piece required to derive our recommendations from are as follows:

Personal Interviews – This data was conducted in multiple personal one on one meetings and phone calls. The objective of these interviews was to identify the owners and employee sentiment on the business and obtain as many details as possible on the company’s operations, resources, and capabilities.

Direct Company Data – Data directly sourced from J&D Pizza’s internal operations, location, and website. The purpose of this data was to uncover as much information on the company’s internal affairs, financial health, and value proposition.
Secondary Data Sources – The data extracted from third party sources revolving around the case challenge. Its purpose serves to supplement an external analysis on the case company and provide additional insight on potential recommendations.


Generated Value


Once the necessary data had been collected to conduct a thorough case analysis, we used the learned frameworks from our course to help narrow down our recommendations, such as: the SWOT analysis, PESTEL model, and VRIO analysis. After these framework tools were developed and finalized, we came up with the following recommendations:

• Remaining open later or shifting hours of operations to capture more ‘prime time’ customer traffic and relieve the threat of losing those potential sales to competition.
• Looking into adding more online delivery platforms to grant customers greater accessibility, awareness, and the ability to have more options during a safety restricting pandemic environment.
• Increasing customer relationship-oriented promotions to retain greater customer loyalty and reward big client account for ordering frequency.
• Leveraging the restaurant’s large dine-in area by offering beer and wine and attracting a nightlife customer base.



What’s Next and Project Utilization


After completing the project, each of us reflected on our course and have the following thoughts on our learning experience and how it will be utilized in the future:

  • Steve: Apart from feeling that this project provided my parents some valuable insight in their business, I feel that this experience will be valuable in my understanding of strategic development. The framework tools and data-backed logic provided in this course is applicable in any industry and size of a company. When trying to identify new prospects for possible business development ventures, I can use these frameworks to reveal how my firm compare to competition and how I should approach the prospect in delivering investment solutions.
  • Raul: This project has helped me see small business needs with a new perspective. We have great number of small business owners in our community that have plans for their business, but sometimes having a great plan without the capital it makes it almost impossible for these owners to carry own their strategies. As a small business banker, I have the privilege to advice and help some small business with their banking needs, but also helping them accomplish their business plans by helping them secure capital. Moving forward- the models and material that I learned in this class will continue helping me to make better decisions and understand my clients with a new perspective.
  • Ying: Although I have not yet determined which industry or type of company I will work in in the future, the strategic knowledge that I have practiced in small companies this time gave me several analytical methods and experience in how to implement them. I think in the future, no matter what industry I am in, I can use this strategy implementation process to help challenge the company or department strategy, and ultimately achieve the company’s strategic goals and create greater revenue and value.
  • Nghi: Aside from this project, I had worked on other projects during this semester that I had found myself exercising the frameworks from this course into my other course. I can foresee myself continuing to use what I have learned and being able to add and improve on more projects that I will take on. The valuable learnings that I have obtained from this course will benefit and aid in my shift from the underwriting field over to the business operation field instead.
  • Ruyan: As I stated previously, I had never understood why and how certain decisions were being made at my job. Aside from just learning the about the strategic frameworks in class, this project has allowed me to see the strategic frameworks in action and how certain findings affected the decisions and results of a real business. Not only did it allow me to apply what I was taught in class right away, but it also forced me to take all my analysis and recommendations more seriously as it could potentially affect the client’s business. Going forward, I would like to use these frameworks on past issues that my company has resolved to better understand why we took the steps we did and why it led us to where we currently are. I also want to use these frameworks on current issues that my company is currently trying to resolve to potentially provide more insight or suggestions that upper management may have missed.


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