A Modest (Business) Proposal – The Food Cart

A Modest (Business) Proposal is a series in which bastions of knowledge from The Ohio State University generate ideas for a start-up.

Bernard: Guys, I have this fantastic idea for a business venture.  Easier to implement than Google.  Not illegal like iTunes.  Won’t require IP theft or a chicken like Facebook.  It’s perfect.

Samantha: Ok, what is it?

Bernard: It’s simple.  There’s an indisputable need for the service, and a clear way of delivering it to customers.  Better yet, the product is a sure fire hit.  And we can roll it out in Columbus.

Samantha: And that product is?

H/T to Filmdrunk for the image

Roger: It’s been right under our nose this whole time.

Bernard: Exactly.  Open a flan cart… outside of Gerlach.  Lunch flan.  Dinner flan.  Late night flan.  Hell, if I can wake up before 9AM, breakfast flan.

Samantha: …

Roger: All flan, all the time.

Bernard: I know.  I can’t believe it took me this long to think of it.  It’s a good thing I decided to go to Fisher, otherwise I never would have come up with it.

Samantha: So, have you done a 5 Forces Analysis?

Bernard: A what?

Roger: Samantha, what does Power Rangers have to do with this?

Samantha: No, a 5 Forces Analysis of the food cart industry, specifically outside of Fisher.

Bernard: Well, not yet.

Samantha: It seems like there would be low barriers to entry, given you need to acquire a van and something to make flan.  And I would think anyone would be able to do the same, is there anything preventing other parties from executing the same business plan?

Roger: We might need a permit.

Bernard: Actually I was thinking we just drive real slow a few times, like we were cruising Carriage Place back in the day.  A few laps, if you will.

Samantha: …

Roger: Good call, saves on fixed costs.

Samantha: Next you have supplier power.  I would think it would be difficult to obtain raw materials at cost, as we don’t have an economies of scale advantage if it’s make to order production.  There is an availability of substitutes, given gas station Subway, the VC and the food court that’s going in Mason in 2012.

Bernard: But that’s plenty of time to establish ourselves as the premier flan vendor (!!!!).

Roger: Clear First Mover Advantage right there.

Samantha: And what about rivalry among competitors?  Do you think they’re going to watch you cut in on business when you’re doing it without a permit?

Bernard: Well, we might have to worry about them building a better flan.

Roger: A genetically engineered flan, if you will.

Samantha: /stares with mouth open

Bernard: Samantha, you’re getting too caught up in paralysis by analysis.  No good business model fit a 5 Sorceress Analysis before it was implemented.  This is a chance to execute Karate Strategy and get a chop on the competition!

Samantha: … it’s Judo Strategy.  You use your competitors’ weight against them.

Roger: And we’ll be able to do that once they start eating our flan.

Bernard: Exactly.  Besides, it’s perfect.  Flan in 60 Seconds.  Catchy, too.

Samantha: Have you tried the VRIO analysis model?  I mean, what is the competitive advantage?

Bernard: Flan.  In 60 seconds.

Samantha: But is that valuable?

Roger: I believe Jack Black once proved that rich people love flan.

Samantha: In the movie Envy?

Bernard: Market research is already done for us!

Samantha: Ben Stiller movies are market research?

Roger: Well, it is the target market we’re appealing to.

Samantha: Fine.  But is flan a rare commodity?

Bernard: Sam, please.  Don’t call flan a commodity.  It’s special.  And it’s made in 60 seconds.

Samantha: Can you even make flan?

Bernard: I’ll learn.

Roger: Ambitious entrepreneurial desire if I’ve ever seen it.

Samantha: You don’t even know how to make it?  How are we possibly organized to use this competitive advantage?


Roger: Bernard, we can’t have you handle finances if you’re talking like that.

Bernard: Agreed.

Samantha: I don’t know.  I can see someone coming along, improving our business model which I’m not sure even exists, and forcing us into a pricing war.

Bernard: Samantha, you’re putting too much thought into this.  Like the great Joan of Arc once said, “Let them eat flan”.

Roger: You do bring up a valid point, Sam.  I’ll get to work on a Pricing Bosom Strategy.

Samantha: Blossom.  A Pricing Blossom Strategy.

Bernard: A delicate flower, if you will.

Samantha: Sigh.



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