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Instructions Situation: You are the operator and manager of one of Saigon Pete’s
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You are the operator and manager of one of Saigon Pete’s food trucks. Currently the owner of the company has three trucks operating in the city, all of which specialize in serving spicy Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.
Your plan is to try to convince Pete Pham, the owner of Saigon Pete’s, that now is a good time to expand. You want to convince him to add new trucks to the fleet and to consider you for a larger management role as the business grows.
Compose a persuasive message to Pete Pham that will convince him to add new trucks to the fleet and to consider you for a management role in the growing business. Make sure that you support all of your conclusions with clear reasoning and relevant information from the “Facts” section that follows. Not all of the information below will be appropriate for your purposes, so choose your supporting information carefully.
Saigon Pete’s has been around for four years. It was the city’s original banh mi food truck. Saigon Pete’s still has the only trucks that exclusively serve banh mi and other Vietnamese food. You were part of the staff on the original truck. Two years ago, when Saigon Pete’s expanded, you became the manager of the midtown truck. There are now three trucks in all.
The “gourmet food truck” trend began about five years ago in the city. Most of the first trucks sold tacos and other Mexican food. Saigon Pete’s was among the first few trucks that were non-Mexican.
In general, the first wave of trucks sold ethnic food of some type. As time passed and food trucks increased in popularity, non-ethnic and specialty trucks emerged, selling such things as organic ice cream, Belgian waffles, and lobster rolls.
All of Saigon Pete’s trucks are profitable. One is assigned to the Uptown Route. Another is assigned to the Riverfront Route. Your truck is assigned to the Midtown Route.
Your truck usually outperforms the other two trucks in terms of daily revenue. Both of the managers of the other two trucks have expressed interest in your route if the expansion plans are carried out and you go on to a more managerial position.
Average sales for the three trucks are as follows:
Uptown Route, weekdays only: $2400
Uptown Route, weekend days only: $1900
Uptown Route, lunch hours only: $1300
Uptown Route, dinner hours only: $700
Midtown Route, weekdays only: $3100
Midtown Route, weekend days only: $2900
Midtown Route, lunch hours only: $2000
Midtown Route, dinner hours only: $600
Riverfront Route, weekdays only: $2300
Riverfront Route, weekend days only: $2700
Riverfront Route, lunch hours only: $900
Riverfront Route, dinner hours only: $1000
Pete Pham, the owner of Saigon Pete’s, served as manager of the original truck. Once the third truck came online, Pete relinquished his role as an on-truck manager and began to work from a small office, taking care of logistical problems such as ordering, scheduling, obtaining permits, and so on. Pete often claims that he misses the “good old days,” and would like to spend more time focusing on food and less time tending to “business.”
Each food truck must have several permits and licenses. The trucks are classified as restaurants and are subject to inspection and scrutiny from the health department. The motor vehicles department also closely monitors the activities of food trucks, especially with respect to congestion and parking. The environmental bureau provides another check on the trucks. Their primary concern is cooking emissions.
When things go well and you plan your location correctly, your truck often stays busy all day and has long lines during the lunch and dinner hour. For example, if you get wind of a beach volleyball tournament and park your truck nearby, you end up having a high-revenue day. Each day, you spend a great deal of time monitoring websites for local events to see where the best location for you will be.
Vietnamese restaurants are not new to the city. There have been at least a half-dozen prominent Vietnamese restaurants in the city for years. Recent immigration has prompted the opening of several new Vietnamese venues. Three of them serve banh mi; two include banh mi on their lunch and takeout menu but not on their dinner menu. Only one shop is considered a “banh mi” shop. Except for Saigon Pete’s, there are no food trucks that serve banh mi or Vietnamese food.
Food trucks continue to be popular in the city, but are no longer considered a “craze.” They are especially popular among the “social network generation,” who, according to newspaper articles, have been known to check out the daily location of their favorite truck ahead of time on Twitter and then plan their day around making it to that location for lunch or dinner.
The success of food trucks in the city has been attributed to a variety of causes. Newspaper articles point to the success as part of a national trend and cite the mobility of the trucks-“You never know where they’ll turn up next”-as the key to their appeal. Truck owners point to the excellent products that they serve and the high-quality ingredients that they use. Blogs and sites like Yelp point to the dominance of “foodie” and “hipster” cultures as primary causes of the trend. Pete himself, quoted in a magazine article, attributes his trucks’ success to the all of the “hard work” he puts in to the details of ordering, routing, planning, etc.
Local restaurateurs have been complaining about traffic and parking problems caused by food trucks. Rumor has it that the city is about to impose new regulations that will make it harder to get permits and will more severely restrict where trucks can park.
Two city councilpersons are especially involved in food truck issues. Pete supported one of these councilpersons, Roseanne Diaz, donating money to her campaign and appearing at her political functions. Pete also made it clear that he expected his employees to support Roseanne Diaz “in every way possible.”
If the expansion occurs, you envision yourself as taking over some of the managerial functions of the business in order to allow Pete to focus on food exclusively. You are well aware that you are proposing a promotion for yourself, but you have thought carefully about the situation and feel that this truly is a win-win situation for you and Saigon Pete.