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Published by: Allied Business Academies
Published in: "Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies", 2004
Length: 7 pages
Data source: Field research

Abstract

On January 21, 2003, Andrew Puzder, CEO and president of Hardee's Food Systems, Inc stated, 'We are distinguishing ourselves from the competition as the premium burger specialist among quick-service restaurants.' But how much value can you really add to a hamburger? Clearly companies like Outback Steakhouse, Cracker Barrel, and Shoney's offer menu selections similar to Hardees' 'Thickburger,' but these restaurants set themselves apart by offering a casual dining atmosphere, a wide selection of entrees beyond hamburgers, and table service rather than order counters. On the other end of the spectrum are fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's, Hardee's traditional competitors offering low cost convenience meals. Hardee's Thickburger initiative goes beyond efforts at differentiating itself from its competition. Instead, the company is taking actions it hopes will move it into a new strategic group where competition is less intense. This case examines the difficulties in strategic reorientation when such reorientation requires a business-level strategy that moves a firm from one strategic group to another. Students must decide if Hardee's new initiatives will be successful or whether the fast food franchise will be 'stuck in the middle' with neither a feasible low cost nor a feasible differentiation strategy. Business-level strategy is the primary focus of this case. Secondary issues examined include strategic groups and strategic reorientation. The case has a difficulty level of four, appropriate for senior level courses. The case is designed to be taught in one class hour and is expected to require one hour of outside preparation by students.
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Abstract

On January 21, 2003, Andrew Puzder, CEO and president of Hardee's Food Systems, Inc stated, 'We are distinguishing ourselves from the competition as the premium burger specialist among quick-service restaurants.' But how much value can you really add to a hamburger? Clearly companies like Outback Steakhouse, Cracker Barrel, and Shoney's offer menu selections similar to Hardees' 'Thickburger,' but these restaurants set themselves apart by offering a casual dining atmosphere, a wide selection of entrees beyond hamburgers, and table service rather than order counters. On the other end of the spectrum are fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's, Hardee's traditional competitors offering low cost convenience meals. Hardee's Thickburger initiative goes beyond efforts at differentiating itself from its competition. Instead, the company is taking actions it hopes will move it into a new strategic group where competition is less intense. This case examines the difficulties in strategic reorientation when such reorientation requires a business-level strategy that moves a firm from one strategic group to another. Students must decide if Hardee's new initiatives will be successful or whether the fast food franchise will be 'stuck in the middle' with neither a feasible low cost nor a feasible differentiation strategy. Business-level strategy is the primary focus of this case. Secondary issues examined include strategic groups and strategic reorientation. The case has a difficulty level of four, appropriate for senior level courses. The case is designed to be taught in one class hour and is expected to require one hour of outside preparation by students.

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