Taco Bell Brand: Strategic Plan and SWOT Analysis

Introduction

A solid strategic analysis is beneficial to shareholders, employees, customers, and decisions makers within a company. The core of an effective strategic plan contains a well-thought and informative mission statement. Using the brand of Taco Bell as a benchmark, a mission statement has been developed to differentiate the company’s products from the competition. In addition, the vision statement also plays an important role in communicating the ultimate goal of the company’s strategic decisions. A driving force behind the mission and vision is the company’s values and ethical principles, which often dictate the choices made during strategic planning. When it is fully implemented, the strategic plan will allow Taco Bell to gain a strategic advantage over its established competitors.

The business will also set up a clear strategic map that will enable it to attain its goals. Such strategies will involve the establishment of a clear advertising plan, good and elaborate marketing, and winning organizational culture. There are various objectives for achieving these strategic plans. For example, advertising will enable the company to support its personal sales, increase the number of goods sold, reduce the shelf life of its products, and inform customers about the presence of new products. In addition, advertising will enable the company to amend any part of its image that is soiled by past happenings. Advertising is an effective way of making and amending a company’s image. Customers will therefore feel confident to purchase the products of Taco Bell since they will be confident about them. The measures that will be applied in order to ensure that there is an effective advertising of the company. Its products will include setting up strategic advertising funds that will ensure proper financing of the program, hiring the services of advertising consultants to ensure that effective advertising is implemented, and proper monitoring and evaluation of the advertising program to ensure that the company and its products are advertised during the prime time.

Advertising will therefore be done during the prime time when the target audience is either listening or watching the advertising media. The strategy will also ensure that adverts are repeated severally on the media platforms to increase the frequency and the probability of reaching out to all the target audience. The company will also “place the adverts on the billboards to ensure that it can reach out to the pedestrians and the motorists” (Thompson, Gamble, & Strickland, 2006). This will enable it to reach out to those who never have time for the media. Billboard ensures that there is an increased frequency of exposure of the target customers to the ad copy. As the target customer passes around the billboard, they can read the adverts as many times as they keep on passing around. This creates a vivid picture in the mind of the target customers; hence they are easily swayed into trying the product.

Customers that have information about a company or certain products are also confident when purchasing the products. Modern advertising strategies like the use of social media will also be applied. There will be several measures to ensure that there are close monitoring and evaluation measures. The first method will be ensuring that the management receives a fortnight written report on the effectiveness or failure of advertising strategies. This report will enable the management to make the necessary changes in the advertising plan. It will also enable the Organization to predict its success or failure. The second monitoring and evaluation measure will be ensuring that the company hires an independent consultant to evaluate the effectiveness of the advertising program. The independent consultant will enable the company to evaluate whether the finances invested in advertising will give returns. The indication of the evaluation reports from the consultants will enable the company to know the next measure to take. The evaluation will enable the Organization not to invest in advertising in a blind way.

The company will also ensure that the proposed marketing strategies are fully implemented. The company will apply measures like proper packaging of the products, attractive and appealing displays, and sales promotion. These strategies will ensure that the company can reach out to as many customers and potential customers as possible. Marketing is essential in every business. It is out of good marketing strategies that the company will be able to increase its sales, improve its profits, and ensure continued market leadership. Every step in marketing shall be guided by prior research on the target market. The research will ensure that marketing strategies narrow down to the specific needs of the customers. A clear monitoring strategy will also be put in place to ensure that the marketing plans are fully implemented.

The first step in monitoring the effectiveness of marketing will be to ensure that customers fill a simple questionnaire on whether they have information about the company and the company’s products. These questionnaires will be placed in certain strategic positions in places where the company’s products are sold. The feedback that the customers give will enable the Organization to adjust its program in the right way. This will enable the organization to tailor its message in a way that the customers can be able to understand. There shall also put in place a close data management team that will control and evaluate whether the volume of sales increases with increased marketing. From the results of such monitoring, the Organization will be able to know whether marketing efforts bear any good fruits.

The other strategic plan that the organization will put in place will be to ensure that there is the cultivation of good organizational culture. Culture is very crucial in determining how an organization functions and how its people associate with each other. The company will ensure that it set up a culture of success in its employees and other publics. When employees have his or her mind positioned in a way that they believe that there is no room for laziness or for failure, then they adopt the culture of success. Culture can lead to great organizational success since the new employees are inducted to high levels of performance in the Organization immediately they get into it. Such employees are highly motivated by the behavior and the performance of the previous employees in the company.

Good organizational culture also ensures that there is proper and clear communication between various functions of the Organization. Efficient communication lines also ensure that there is a reduced level of gossip and grapevine. With reduced gossip then there is reduced confusion on the part of the employees, and there are low levels of misinformation. Consequently, the number of conflicts in such organizations is greatly reduced. The employees and the management are therefore able to have enough time to think about the performance of their Organization and even to evaluate their performance. A good and acceptable culture will therefore ensure that the target market will be receptive to advertising and marketing. Culture makes the image of an organization either good or bad. The company will put in place measures to monitor its culture. For example, a continuous evaluation of its cultural welfare, employment of a public relations officer to manage the company’s image, and ensuring that the management and the employees are conscious of their actions.

Mission Statement

By delivering uniquely flavored Mexican style food at budget prices, Taco Bell seeks to establish an international presence over the next five years. The current international fast food markets in Asia, South America, and Africa are dominated by American-style fast food with leaves considerable opportunity for competing styles of cuisine. Taco Bell will use an aggressive marketing plan and develop a supply chain network that will enable rapid growth in overseas markets. Newly established restaurants will be able to supply local communities with quality meals at competitive prices while simultaneously creating value for shareholders.

Vision Statement

Taco Bell will grow into the largest fast-food provider of Mexican style cuisine in emerging markets. The brand will have an established presence in Asia, South America, and Africa, with restaurant locations being found within the top 25 major cities on these continents. By saturating the world’s most populous metropolitan cities, Taco Bell will be the most recognizable Mexican food brand in the world.

Guiding Principles, Values, and Culture

Taco Bell has several important ethical principles that influence major decisions in the strategic planning process. First, the company is concerned about making quality food available to the lowest income groups. Therefore, it is important to keep a wide selection of low-cost food products available on the menu. This becomes an especially important consideration as we expand in markets that experience high levels of poverty. Second, the company is committed to delivering exceptional customer service to its patrons. Customer loyalty is a driving factor towards the long-term success of the brand. Failing to deliver exceptional customer service could seriously hinder the ability to grow into new markets.

In order for employees to express Taco Bell’s guiding principles, it is essential to create a corporate culture that reflects these principles. Providing ample opportunity for advancement within the management hierarchy and the ability to participate in supplemental training will keep employee motivation high. As a result, employees will be eager to follow the ethical values set forth in the strategic plan. It is likely that the company will need to make slight modifications to organizational culture to meet the preferences of various world cultures.

Impact on Strategic Direction

The mission, vision, and values of Taco Bell serve as the foundation for strategic decision making while the company gears up for expansion. When an unexpected variable causes a change in direction, the company will continue to use its mission as a guide for future choices. The primary mission is always to maximize shareholder profits, but the values determine the approach the company will take to achieve this goal. Overall, this will help the company build a corporate culture in these new markets that gain the respect of the locals. If the company is considered to be helping the local community, the chances of creating an effective strategic plan are highly unlikely.

Addressing Customer Needs

Expanding into emerging markets presents a unique challenge to address customer’s needs. Every country exhibits its own unique culture, and it is essential to pander to the preferences of each individual culture. A system that works in the United States is not likely to see the same level of success in Bangladesh unless serious modifications are made to the business model. To overcome this challenge, the company will conduct independent research and use paid consultants to determine how to tailor the brand’s image for success in vastly different cultures. As time progresses, the company will be able to assess strengths and weaknesses by testing different models in each regional area. Gaining insightful knowledge about each country’s cultural preferences will allow the company to attain a competitive advantage.

Marketing and Information Technology Strategies

The speed at which information communication technology is advancing has pulled the world of business towards the evolution of e-commerce. Many investors in the world have realized that trade in the current world of globalization cannot escape the impact of information technology. The adoption of information communication technology by most nations of the world today has made the world of economics a small business village. Marketing has also been made a complex affair but a less expensive one. Communication technologies have reduced the geographical boundaries between trading partners hence reducing transport costs, and have increased the quality and quantity of information flow. For example, in a business with good marketing information systems, one can order goods online, pay for them online, and wait for delivery within no time. This has been made possible by the use of e-commerce.

E-commerce empowers customers through marketing in the world of business. Customers have become more informed, especially in making choices. It will therefore be important to appreciate that the period of passive buyers and very active sellers were eliminated in the Chinese economy through information communication technology. The company will therefore adopt e-commerce in order to make the consumer an active player in the whole business transaction. Adoption of information communication systems through e-commerce will enable the customers to choose from a variety of goods and services that will be advertised online according to the information posted on their website.

Monitoring and Control of Marketing Information Communication Systems

In order to ensure that the strategic plans for marketing information technology are wholly implemented, the company will put the following strategies in place. The first initiative will be to hire qualified and experienced information communication experts to implement and monitor the program. The experts shall be able to install, program, and rectify the marketing programs. Information communication systems require expertise in order to ensure that it is successful.

The second strategy will be to ensure that the information communication experts work with the marketing department in planning the company’s marketing plans. Cohesion in the department of information communication technology and the marketing department will ensure proper, thorough, and clear marketing strategies for the company. Finally, the company will conduct regular marketing research in order to know the position of its goods in the market. Independent marketing consultants shall also conduct the research. The results of such a monitoring and evaluation plan will then be handed to the strategic management team for evaluation and implementation of the recommendations.

Actions Needed to Address Ethical, Legal, and Regulatory Issues faced by the Organization

The company will put in place various monitoring and evaluation measures to ensure that the right culture is instilled in its publics. To begin with, the company will install cultural evaluation measures to ensure that it is only the right culture that enhances and passed on to the next generation. The management and the public relations department will ensure that the Organization evaluates and discourage bad behavior that may hinder the performance of the Organization. The second measure will be rewarding good behavior and performance. The Organization will offer both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for good behavior. This will cultivate good behavior in the employees and other employees. It will also motivate the employees to perform better. Thirdly, the Organization shall put in place measures to punish bad behavior. The employees that will contravene the cultural standings of the Organization will therefore be punished through monetary reductions and demotions.

SWOTT Analysis of Taco Bell

Taco Bell is one of the most important components under the Yum Brands umbrella of operation. By providing a Mexican inspired cuisine at budget prices, the Taco Bell brand has established a worldwide presence on five continents. This SWOTT analysis shows the various strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends that will influence the company in the future. With promising growth prospects in emerging markets, the company has implemented an aggressive plan to establish a dominating fast food throughout the world. This strategy poses several important risks and opportunities that shape the contents of the SWOTT analysis.

Economic Trends

Economic trends play a major role in the strategic decisions of Taco Bell. The brand has an ambitious global growth plan that is sensitive to economic changes. For example, the company reports that China and India are its main targets for new restaurant locations and expects to see significant growth as economic conditions improve (Yum! Brands 2012). This is a great business opportunity for the company, especially with the high population in China. As income levels rise in these countries, it is expected that new franchise owners will be eager to implement proven restaurant concepts into the local community. In addition, higher incomes will provide greater opportunity for a loyal customer base. However, there is a likely threat especially, if economic conditions start on a downward trend, Taco Bell’s aggressive expansion could be threatened by insufficient demand for their product. If franchise owners are not finding the locations profitable, it could create irreparable damage to the company’s image abroad and force the closure of restaurants. Closing such business ventures, especially in foreign countries, may result in image destruction; the citizens and potential customers in that country may label the company as a failure.

Legal and Regulatory Forces

Each new emerging market presents a unique mix of regulatory and legal challenges. For example, the company must adhere to specific cultural and religious customs in India. Beef slaughter in the country is highly regulated, with each Indian state having its own specific guidelines (USDA 2012). Because Taco Bell products are heavily reliant on beef, they must adhere closely to laws in this spectrum. Any major violations could create a major backlash to the brand that could prevent future growth in the country. The company should therefore be ready for scrutiny and regulations since it is dealing with products that have tight regulations both internally and even in foreign nations. These are the trends in the market and in world economies today.

Supply Chain Operations

Maintaining a consistent product is key to building customer loyalty for Taco Bell. Customers expect to purchase an identical product each time they visit the restaurant. In order to make this possible, the company has a sophisticated supply chain network in place to ensure every location is fully stocked with supplies. This feat is achieved by utilizing regional distribution networks that supply franchise owners with the proper food ingredients, marketing materials, and equipment. Building a distribution network in overseas markets is significantly riskier than in the United States (Yum! Brands 2012). Unknown distributer and freight companies must be chosen by the company to handle these important operational tasks. In the future, Taco Bell will be able to establish a strong supply network to minimize the threats faced in international supply chain operations.

Opportunities Based on SWOTT Analysis

The greatest opportunities for Taco Bell can be achieved by differentiating the brand from its main competitors. Primary competitors to Taco Bell market share include McDonald’s, Burger King, and Subway, which have established a dominating presence in international markets over the last several decades. Taco Bell has the ability to demonstrate value to their customers by delivering a dining experience that is completely unique from most fast-food chains. A marketing plan that outlines the unique culinary experience that Taco Bell offers will help penetrate markets that are already occupied by competing fast-food companies.

Taco Bell also has a great opportunity to achieve new innovations that can reduce labor costs. By implementing technology that can automate the duties of employees, the company can increase its operational efficiency. The company can also reduce operational costs within the supply chain by drawing on experiences in the US market. Building a new supply chain in an emerging market will allow the company to design it in the most cost-effective manner. Each of these opportunities will play an important role in the strategic success of the brand.

SWOTT Table External Factors.

Factor Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats Trends
Global Taco Bell has an established image in overseas markets Supply Chain management requires additional investment to establish in global markets Massive new markets in Asia, especially China and India Political unrest in African and Middle East Markets Growing consumption overseas will provide exception growth opportunities
Economic Improved economic conditions will provide suitable franchise owners. Greater disposable income will prompt some buys to seek more expensive alternatives Commercial real estate recovery will provide more restaurant locations domestically. Economic collapse and rising food costs could impact menu prices. Global economic recovery is remaining consistent
Legal and Regulatory Strong health and safety record New global markets present new regulatory challenges Establish strong relationships with foreign business partners Legal costs for breaking foreign regulations Increased regulation in the USA could raise labor costs.
Environmental Strong history of supporting clean environment practices Increasing public disapproval in the USA of fast food business practices Show a commitment to environmental friendly initiatives Environmental infractions could create media backlash Consumers place greater importance on environmental initiatives.
Competitive Analysis Taco Bell’s unique product line separates it from the competition Stronger fast food brands, such as McDonalds have more overseas locations Differentiate from competing brands Closely related brands establishing locations in emerging markets Most major fast food brands and expanding globally

SWOTT Table Internal Factors.

Factor Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats Trends
Strategy Aggressive strategy will provide rapid growth Rapid growth could cause investment in new innovations to lag behind Continue to build presence in emerging markets. Aggressive strategy may be rejected by some cultures Asian countries are showing increasing demand for US style fast food
Technologies Optimized efficiency for food processing Technology still requires significant human capital Automation to cut down on manual labor needs Competitors may develop tech at a faster pace Technology is decreasing in cost overall
Innovations Social media marketing in place to build customer loyalty Competitors are offering menu items that appeal to higher quality Automate payment processing for rapid ordering Negative media coverage could spread on social media Customers prefer products that are fresh and organic
Intellectual Property Taco Bell brand is recognizable worldwide Brand is associated with low quality budget oriented food Increase awareness of high quality menu items Use of IP by foreign competitors without legal recourse Internet makes it possible to market the brand rapidly

Communication Plan

Communication has become so dynamic, especially with the wide inception of information communication technology. The company will therefore endeavor to have an open communication flow from its employees to the management. Installation of modern and up to speed communication systems will involve the contracting of well-reputed communication consultants. Information sharing will also be enhanced through close public relations strategies. Communication will enable the company to experience a tight and trustworthy team. Good communication flow will enable the management close to the employees and other publics of the Organization. A clear, complete, and concise communication system will be established. Proper communication lines will reduce conflicts and enhance teamwork. The company will also use communication as a tool to regulate the order of supervision and command.

Monitoring and Control of Communication Plan

Many companies of the world have put in place communication plans and strategies, but they do not end up enjoying the targeted results. Poor monitoring and control of strategic plans lead to their flop. The company will therefore put in place several ways of supervising and controlling its communication strategies. The first method shall be continuous communication auditing by external auditors. The company will occasionally pay external communication experts to evaluate the wellness and the effectiveness of communication in the company. Secondly, the company will hire qualified and experienced communication experts to monitor and control both internal and external communications. Finally, the communication officer in the company shall be required to audit all the information that goes out of the company and that comes into the company. At the end of every fortnight, the communication officer shall be required to brief the management on the position of communication strategies in the company.

Summary

Taco Bell faces a complex set of challenges as they conduct their aggressive expansion into emerging markets. Ahead of all, the global economic climate poses the greatest risk to the company, as major changes could have a significant impact on the strategy’s effectiveness. However, competitive pressure dictates that Taco Bell must establish its presence in overseas markets as soon as possible. If the company waits to establish new locations, it may lose the opportunities provided by the current trend of global economic growth. The SWOTT analysis above provides insight that will help the brand mitigate risk as it continues to move forward with the strategy.

Balanced Scorecard for Taco Bell

As a method of further analyzing the strategic goals of Taco Bell, the balanced scorecard provides valuable insight into the vision, mission, and values of the company. An analysis from the perspective of shareholders, customers, managers, and employees allows the company to gain a stronger understanding of how strategic initiatives will affect these relationships. Each strategic initiative can have a differing impact, depending on the relationship a person has with the company. A strategic initiative aimed at lower costs may be beneficial to shareholders in the short term but could have a negative impact on customer and employee values. The balanced scorecard attempts to organize strategic objectives based on their specific relationship to Taco Bell.

Shareholder Value or Financial Perspective.

Objectives Targets Measures Risk Mitigation
Increase customer base by expanding product variety Increase domestic revenue by 10% with a new product line over 5 years A trend of 0.5% growth in domestic sales per quarter Test new items in a limited number of locations to determine nationwide viability.
Decrease international supply chain costs. Lower supply chain costs in international markets by 5% over 2 years This objective should also result in higher operating margins Invest in long term solutions to supply chain management.
Improve price-to-earnings ratio. The current PEG ratio sis 2.14 (NASDAQ 2013) and should be increasedto 2.50 A quarterly trend of improvement should be seen in the PEG ratio Expand into international markets that present the highest overallvalue.

Customer Value Perspective.

Objectives Targets Measures Risk Mitigation
Improve company image by marketing new products Increase customer recognition of new product offerings. Growth of new product sales of 10% relative to traditional menu items Conduct custom surveys to gain insight into new product reception
Improve overall customer service Increase positive feedback from loyal customers Improve customer feedback by 25% more than a year Implement an employee training program focused on customer service
Implement home delivery in large urban markets Make Taco Bell products available with rapid delivery. Implement Taco Bell delivery in at least 5 United Statescities Test the delivery system in limited markets before mainstream launch

Process or Internal Operations Perspective.

Objectives Targets Measures Risk Mitigation
Streamline payments with mobile devices Allow customers to pay with mobile devices Enable mobile POS systems at 25% of restaurant locations Survey customer preferences for mobile payments
Increase ordering speed with improved automation. Eliminate need for full-time staff by automating cooking process. Reduce total labor costs by 5% over two years. Determine long- term ROI of investment in automation

Learning and Growth (Employee) Perspective.

Objectives Targets Measures Risk Mitigation
Offer new opportunities for advancement within the company Promote more internal employees to middle manager positions Track the progressiontenured of employees within the management hierarchy Implement a training program for employees who desire management positions
Improve corporate culture with social media Allow greater communication at all levels of company 25% employee participation on Taco Bell social media conversations Monitor and track system to ensure conversations are beneficial

Summary

Strategic initiatives are always associated with a certain level of risk. As an internationally recognized brand, it is essential for Taco Bell to make an effort to safeguard its image with any new strategic choice. Failing to maintain the image that has been developed could lead to a decreased ability to move forward with the international growth of the brand. In addition, many of the strategic goals require a significant financial investment. Any large financial investment should show promise of delivering long-term value to shareholders. This is especially important in the process and internal operations category because it directly impacts the operational success of the company. A strategic initiative in this category must be designed for the long- term sustainability of the company.

Each perspective on the balanced scorecard has unique strategic implications. For example, the strategic goals of the shareholders are significantly different from those of the employees or customers. The managers in charge of implementing a strategic plan must find a middle ground between the objectives of each category listed on the balanced scorecard. Each category plays an important role in the success of the organization at large. It is essential that every category be considered during the process. Ultimately, the balanced scorecard will ensure the strategy meets the objectives and values of Taco Bell.

Reference List

NASDAQ. (2013). PEG Ration for YUM. Web.

Pearce, A., & Robinson, B. (2009). Strategic management: Formulation, implementation, and control. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Thompson, A., Gamble, E., & Strickland, J. (2006). Strategy: Winning in the marketplace: Core concepts, analytical tools, cases. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

US Department or Agriculture. (2012). Livestock and Poultry – World Markets and Trade. Web.

Yum! Brands. (2012). 2012 Annual Report to Shareholders. Web.