Group in Class Exercise 3:
â€œThe Crepe Cartâ€?
Section 1. Business Type Decisions: Our group decided to choose the street vendor micro business, focusing on a Crepe vendor. We will offer a limited menu to keep operations simple but still cater to everyoneâ€™s desires; whether a sweet dessert or a flavorful meal with veggies and meat, our stand will still offer great variety. We are planning to offer our menu to the big amounts of foot traffic crowding the streets of Boston, giving them the luxury of convenience, quickness, and cost, without compromising with taste. This business also offers us growth opportunity down the road. With the uniformity of certain crepes, we would be able to prepare popular dishes in advance and even offer them to bumper-to-bumper traffic with a quick exchange. This business requires a plethora of skills and abilities. First and foremost, we are looking for a person with solid cooking skills. If the employee does not have experience in cooking crepes, we are able to provide basic training. In addition to solid cooking knowledge and expertise, we will need exceptional time management to emphasize our convenience over other establishments. People skills and customer service are critical for not only attracting new customers but retaining them and is something that cannot be overlooked. The entrepreneur will need exceptional operational and financial skills to make this business profitable. Operational skills will allow the entrepreneur to select and maintain perfect quantities of inventory to maximize his menu and prevent himself from running out of something in day-to-day operations, or having too much of perishable food items. Financial skills in this case will have less to do with actually financing the business and more to do with cost controls and prices. This will ensure that not only is the business maximizing its sales (and profits) with adequate prices but it is also using the most inexpensive (yet highest quality) ingredients and materials. While sales will drive the business, the entrepreneur does not need exceptional sales expertise because strong customer skills in the middle of a busy street will do the selling, as opposed to a hightech corporation selling expensive equipment to a limited pool of clients. For this type of business, we would need a large variety of licenses and permits. Firstly,
we would need a vending license through the Boston Department of Public Works; our vendor will operate on public premises, so there is no need for a permit specific to private property. We would also need a Hawkers & Peddlers license through the Massachusetts Division of Standards for our outdoor mobile cart. This business requires a mobile food service license through the Health Division of Bostonâ€™s Inspectional Services Department. We would also need a license for use of open flame/propane through them as well as through the Boston Fire Department. We would need to file for a City of Boston business certificate at the Boston city clerkâ€™s office. For tax purposes, we would be required to file a Form of List with the City of Boston Assessing Department, state tax forms and sales tax registration number/certificate from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, and federal tax forms and federal tax identification number at the IRS office in Boston. As for insurance, we would only require liability insurance. Finally, we are required to seek a zoning check and locational approval from the Building Division of Boston Inspectional Services Department. All of these permits and licenses make us very different from other micro businesses as well as rather similar. We will require all the same zoning/locational checks as others, but we do not need building permits, property permits, or environmental permits because we are operating a mobile cart on public property. There is therefore no need for building or property insurance. We will need to monitor food standards as well as criminal checks for our employees, considering the two essential parts of our business are the food and the vendor. Luckily for us, there is no professional training required.
Section 2. Target Customers Decision The target customer will be pretty much range from students to working-age adults of all income brackets. The $5 basic price point of a crepe will be affordable to anybody. We are catering towards on-foot, on-the-go people, who may not have a lot of time to stop for food at a traditional take-out place. Crepes will offer customers the ability to either have a snack or meal, since we will be selling sweet and savory crepes. The sample menu that follows will appeal to children with a sweet tooth, vegetarians, and meat-lovers alike: Sweet Crepes The PB&J: Crunchy peanut-butter and your choice of grape or strawberry jelly The Parisian: Nutella and bananafilled The Elvis: Chock-full-of peanut butter, bananas, and honey (add bacon for $1)
Savory Crepes What the HEC?: Honeyed ham, scrambled eggs, and cheddar cheese Vegetarian Delight: Sauteed red peppers, scallions, mozzarella cheese, and plum tomatoes The Fromage: Garlic butter, cheddar, Parmesan, and red onion
With the abundant hospitals, colleges, and businesses in the area, any hungry person in the area will be targeted as a potential customer. Considering the cart will be outdoors on a
busy street corner, it will act as an advertisement in and of itself. The delicious smell of crepes will help to attract all of the people walking by. We will make sure to give free samples as well. Section 3. Location Decisions The Crepe Cart will be located at the intersection of Brookline Avenue and Longwood Avenue. This is an ideal location because of all of the diverse businesses and schools in the area, including Harvard Medical School, Childrenâ€™s Hospital, Joslin Diabetes Center, DanaFarber Cancer institute, Brigham and Womenâ€™s Hospital, Emmanuel College, Simmons College, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Wheelock College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, assorted hotels, and just down the road, Northeastern University. Furthermore, It is located between two train stations, while several buses stop in the near vicinity. Also, having a Crepe business would fill a niche not already filled by competition in the area. The other food vendors in the area are Au Bon Pain, Sushi Net, Dairy Queen, McDonalds, and Souper Salad. The core competency of this business in regards to location is its location right on a very busy intersection and is outdoors. This will provide convenience to people that are in a hurry and wish to grab a quick delicious snack and not wait in line inside a store.
Image: Map of the area. Proposed location is indicated with an “X”.
Image: General view of the proposed location. To further support our choice of location, we consulted the data found at simplymap.com. Using projected values for year 2014, we found that 36% of the people who live within a 3 mile radius of the location want to know the ingredients of their meals. This significantly large portion of our potential customers will be accommodated by the display of the ingredients. We also noticed that there is a large number of locals who chose to eat healthy food (32%) and since we are planning to use healthy ingredients they have an additional incentive to pick us. Furthermore, 15% of the population within a 3 mile radius of the preferred location of our cart is willing to try new healthy food. This will give an initial boost to our business and establish a first round of customers. Interestingly enough, we noticed that 28% of the population “is too busy to take care of themselves.” This gives us the chance to take care of them, offering an assortment of different crepe choices. Additionally, 28% enjoy eating foreign foods. Since crepes can be considered foreign, our cart will appeal to these people as well. Though it can be noted that only 5.75% agreed that fast food fits their busy lifestyles; since our cart will utilize fresh ingredients made-to-order, the fact that we offer fast service doesn’t necessarily mean our food should be considered typical “fast food”. Simplymap.com also shows that in the area we are interested to locate our crepe cart is a wealthy neighborhood as 28% of the households’ income is more than $100,000 and 71% over $50,000. This offers a large number of individuals who can afford a delightful difference than the ordinary cheap fast food choices. Taking a look at the population map, we realize that the area around the spot is very highly populated. This will guarantee large numbers of people who may be potential customers. One thing to note are several lighter blocks. These blocks are mainly college campuses or hospitals, which do not yield data, and thus are indicated with white colors. In other words, even if the map contains areas that are not highly populated, these are high traffic locations and further support our choice of location. Lifestyle Statements
Number of individuals
% of total population
"I like to know about the ingredients of my meals before I buy them"
"I am usually the first to try new healthy food"
"I consider my diet to be very healthy"
"I am too busy to take care of myself"
“Fast food fits my busy lifestyle”
“I enjoy eating foreign foods”
Table: Lifestyle statements as projected by simplymap.com for year 2014
Chart: Household income distribution as projected by simplymap.com for year 2014
Map: Population density according to projected Census data for 2014. Darker colors indicate larger density. With green cross is indicated the preferred location for our Crepe Cart. Section 4. Hiring Decisions
As for the hiring decisions for our Crepe Cart, we will be looking for individuals who have prior experience in multiple areas. First of all, they will have worked in some niche of the food industry before, preferably cooking. The person working the cart who is actually cooking the crepes will have to have some cooking experience beforehand. Any other workers will need the ability to handle high-stress and high-volume work situations easily, as things will get very hectic at times of high foot traffic. Last of all, our workers will need to possess good interpersonal skills. One of the most critical points to the success of our cart is the word of mouth advertising we will get from actual customers. Ensuring that their experience with our cart be a good one is pivotal. When deciding who to hire, all of these factors will be considered before making a hiring decision. Once the initial hire of a chef is made, we will hire a second individual. This job will be specifically to help the chef, and be the main server of the customers. While obviously the chef will be busy most of the time cooking the crepes, we will need somebody serving them to the customers and collecting their money. One chef could not do this all at once, so adding a helper would lessen the stress and even the load of work the employees need to do. At any given time that our Crepe Cart is open for business, there will be a head cook making the crepes, and an assistant to help with the serving of customers and collection of money. The median salary for a “Counter Attendant” in Boston, 02115, is $28,442. According to Salary.com, a Counter Attendant “responds and attends to patron requests. Responsible for various attendant duties including making sandwiches and placing food in display cases. Has knowledge of proper food handling procedures and government regulations regarding the food code. May require a high school diploma or its equivalent and 0-2 years of experience in the field or in a related area. Has knowledge of commonly-used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field. Relies on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job. Works under immediate supervision.” The median salary of $28,442 amounts to roughly $547 a week, or $13.67 an hour, on a forty hour work week. That means that there would need to at least be an increase in sales of 3 crepes an hour to cover the cost. That would be 24 crepes a day, which seems manageable, especially considering the lunch rush will be super busy but with the help of an assistant, able to flow smoothly. $13.67 even seems a little high, so if $10 an hour was the salary, selling an additional two crepes an hour would cover the cost of the assistant. Section 5. Conclusion (Each member of the group …indicate whether or not this venture fits with you and state why.) Kate Pipa: This venture fits with me because first of all, I love crepes. I remember when I was younger, around eight years old or so, I had a sleepover at my cousins’ house. For breakfast in the morning my aunt and uncle made crepes, and it was the first time I ever had them and they were delicious. Then in high school my friends and I would go to a local cafe we nick-named “The Crepe Place,” which obviously served crepes. Now that we are in college, whenever we are back home we try to make it to that cafe to catch up. I still make crepes for breakfast occasionally as well. My enthusiasm for crepes would fit well with this business, for it would be a product I believed in and would be able to talk enthusiastically about. I would enjoy
making crepes, as well as coming up with new crepe fillers and fun names for the crepes. I am also interested in marketing, so I would have fun with creating interesting ways to get the word out about The Crepe Cart. George Banis: I believe in this business for a variety of reasons. First of all, food is a market that I have past experience in. The years that I was involved in the family business (production and marketing of olives and pickled vegetables) equipped me with tools that will prove to be helpful for this new business. Furthermore, in my home country (Greece) crepes are very popular and thus I had a good opportunity to learn the secrets of how to cook premium quality crepes. Moreover, crepes compared to sandwiches have similar costs but crepes provide a totally different experience full of flavor and aroma. Another good reason why I would get involved in this business is because I constantly see the roadside carts which are typically filthy and repulsive. Through this “Crepe Cart” we will offer a delicious alternative to fast food, at a price that matches them and in the meantime keep our customers-worry free for what they eat. Joe Savoia: I believe that this Crepe Cart business poses a potentially lucrative market that has not yet been tapped in this particular area of Boston. Being students and living here fulltime, we have the ability to see firsthand what products are available around this area on a regular basis. The target market is basically ourselves, which proves very useful in deciding some of the more subtle logistics of our venture. There are limited specialty shops around this area, and by specialty I mean businesses that sell foods out of the ordinary. Sure there are Boloco’s and Wendy’s all around, but a Crepe Cart would be an innovative idea around this area. As we are set up on the corner of Brookline and Longwood Avenue, a huge mass of foot traffic will constantly be in the area. If the crepe’s from out cart can be tasty and satisfying to our customers, we have the potential to be a huge and successful venture. Positive word-of-mouth influence is huge in ventures such as this one, and hopefully all the customers will be telling friends and family about the amazing crepe they got at our cart. This venture fits us, and I think with the right working parts there is potential for it to be a success. John DiRienzo: I am excited about this opportunity, despite first being opposed to the idea of crepes. While I am not directly experienced with crepes, I have begun to understand that entrepreneurs need to be open to change and ready to challenge the status quo. Crepes will offer not only a fresh change to the everyday fast food, but it offers variety and health, so it is an idea I can get behind. I can support the idea especially considering my background in the food industry (just about every part time job I’ve ever held), my passion for cooking, my passion for fitness, health and nutrition, and my unfortunate familiarity with the incredible traffic of Boston. I also support businesses that are largely customer-driven. As I commute every single day either to work or to class, I pass the exact spot we are planning to open our cart, and I know from firsthand experience that there will be enough foot traffic to provide us plenty of business opportunity. I am also a big fan of a business that maintains low inventory and relies more on quick turnover, so this is the type of business I would support. However, it is not the perfect fit with me as I am a finance major and like to operate the grand scheme of things; perhaps with major growth and the development of a large number of carts, this would become a perfect opportunity. I could then analyze and operate on a much larger chain of operations.
Sources: Salary.com data for â€œCounter Assistant - Boston, MA 02115â€?: http://goo.gl/tYWlm http://www.simplymap.com (data taken from projected values for 2014 of the Census and Simmons)