August 3, 2018

A few months ago, we looked at why our subject for the Chapter 8 profile in Understanding Business was leaving her position as CEO of the Campbell Soup Company. As the video below shows, however, Campbell’s problems began long before Denise Morrison took the top job.

Questions:

  1. Why has Campbell’s struggled to grow steadily in recent years?
  2. What do you think Campbell’s should do to start winning over young consumers who don’t like canned soup?
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August 2, 2018

If you’ve never heard of poke (pronounced poe-kay) before, then you’re certainly not alone. This Hawaiian dish consisting of marinated sushi served over rice has been popular with eaters in the 50th state since the 1970s. For many people on the U.S. mainland, however, this meal remained a mystery until a few years ago when poke joints began to pop up along the east and west coasts. It has since grown into a nationwide trend: according to Foursquare more than Continue reading

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July 31, 2018

Although people sometimes use “vanilla” as a byword for “boring,” the complicated global industry that surrounds this flavor is far from dull. 80 percent of the world’s vanilla crop is grown in Madagascar, which has the perfect climate for vanilla orchids. These plants only bloom one day a year and must be pollinated by hand, followed by another 9 months of waiting for the fruit to mature into pods. Then comes another weeks-long process of curing the plants using steam, Continue reading

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June 29, 2018

Along with serving as a hub for the tech industry, San Francisco is also home to some of the country’s best restaurants. Unfortunately, the city’s success has led to skyrocketing rent costs that are pricing out the low-income residents who staff these eating establishments. So with a high demand for fine dining but a small pool of potential employees, local restaurateurs have begun to search for ways to save on service without compromising quality.

The result is that more and Continue reading

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June 12, 2018

Although founded in the 1950s as the International House of Pancakes, for more than 40 years consumers have known the breakfast chain better as IHOP. For most companies, gaining this kind of brand recognition with a simple acronym would be a dream come true. Last week, however, IHOP announced that its “P” was changing into a “b,” lowercase and all. And yesterday the chain revealed the meaning behind the switch: it turns out the “b” stands for “burgers.”

The announcement Continue reading

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In the Understanding Business profile for Chapter 8, we looked at how Denise Morrison brought a lifetime of business experience to her role as CEO of the Campbell Soup Company. She landed the job in 2011 just as the company was ready to undergo some major changes. Rather than continuing to use unhealthy, processed ingredients, under Morrison’s leadership Campbell’s began to focus on developing more organic options. “We believe we need to participate in this, so you can either lead Continue reading

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From picking up apples to distressing jeans, automation is spreading to almost every business you can imagine. And if you happen to live in the Boston area, you could swing by the new restaurant Spyce today and have your lunch prepared by robots. This automated eatery is the result of a partnership between a group of young engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and renowned chef Daniel Boulud. Together these intrepid entrepreneurs claim they have created “the world’s Continue reading

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With more than 26,000 locations nationwide and thousands more around the globe, Subway ranks as the world’s largest restaurant chain. Despite its size, though, the sandwich giant has shown some signs of decline recently. Along with three consecutive years of falling sales (including a 4.4 percent drop in 2017), foot traffic in Subway restaurants has plummeted by 25 percent since 2012. In fact, insiders estimate that as many as one-third of the company’s locations are not profitable.

To combat this Continue reading

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Famous for its sugary Slurpees and Big Gulp soft drinks, 7-Eleven allows people to grab a quick snack and get back on the road without a second thought. Although this business model has served the chain well since the 1940s, recent changes in consumer behavior have executives worried that 7-Eleven could be falling behind its competitors. According to the leading trade association of the convenience industry, the nation’s more than 155,000 convenience stores sold $53.3 billion worth of prepared foods Continue reading

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April 27, 2018

In the early 20th century, the Coca-Cola Company was quickly growing in popularity both with American consumers as well as imitators who hoped to duplicate the soft drink’s success. This very brief video looks at how Coca-Cola fought off the copycats by designing a distinctive bottle that it still depends on to this day.

Questions:

  1. Besides making things harder for imitators, how did Coca-Cola’s bottle redesign help the young company’s brand?
  2. Do you think Coca-Cola would have grown to be Continue reading
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