Background of Tailwaiters Inc
Tailwaiters Inc. was founded in November after the founders forgot to clean up after their tailgate and went to cheer the Jets who were on a losing streak without putting away their grill but to their surprise, they found it stolen and the charcoal ruined.
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The customer base therefore comprises of big sports fans especially football fans who are interested in tailgating or enjoying a pre-game meal before they go and cheer their favorite team (Tailwaiters.com). Tailwaiters is however thinking out of the box and is including bachelor parties and birthdays as well as concerts. They also offer an opportunity of hiring a chef for a fee.
Tailwaiters Inc. has been in business since the start of the football season in 2008 and it turned profitable since mid 2009 to date. It was founded by three friends who had a bad experience with tailgating and decided to change the business. As far as the growth of the organization is concerned, the founders started with word of mouth and they managed to get between 5 to 10 tailgates a game catering for a small number of people (Clancy, 2009). They have however increased their capacity to date with the ability to cater to a 300 person party and also providing a diverse variety of foods on their menu.
For my internship, I was assisting in the marketing department, setting up jobs at citified and the Jets and Giants stadiums.
Management and Organization
There are a number of characteristics of successful management which fall under four categories namely conceptual, communication, effectiveness and interpersonal skills. Conceptual skills refers to a manager’s ability to use information in problem solving, recognizing innovation opportunities and understanding use of technology as well as an organization’s business model. The management at Tailwaiters demonstrated this skill through recognition of the business idea that led to the founding of Tailwaiters Inc. They have also continued to apply this skill in the day to day operations through the use of technology to market their services as well as solving problems as they arise.
Communication skills entail the ability of managers to transform ideas into actions and being able to relay the information to colleagues, peers and subordinates. In Tailwaiters Inc., the managers apply this skill through maintaining an open channel of communication throughout the workforce and the management (Javed, 2010).
Effectiveness skills refer to the ability of managers to contribute to the corporate mission or departmental objectives, focus on the consumer, work on multiple tasks concurrently, manage projects, negotiate, manage time, and to set and maintain both internal and external standards for the organization. The management at Tailwaiters which comprises of the three founder members demonstrates this skill as they have other careers apart from tailgating which clearly shows their abilities at multitasking as well as time management as they are able to perform their duties without fail. The fact that they are actively involved in offering the services of tailgating enables them to set the standards for the organizations which guide the rest of the workforce (Javed, 2010).
Finally, interpersonal skills refer to the ability of management to coach and mentor, embrace diversity, promote team work and finally networking within and without the organization (Javed, 2010). Having founded Tailwaiters Inc. as three friends, the management has shown interpersonal skills through training and coaching a diverse workforce as they usually engage the required workforce for tailgating as the need arises instead of maintaining a permanent workforce.
The organizational culture of Tailwaiters Inc. is based on the founding of the organization itself. It was the experience of the founders of the company that led to the transformation of the tailgating industry. It is thus that the founders vowed to provide the best tailgating experience that exempted the customers from all the hassles involved and this paved the way for the company’s organizational culture of ultimate tailgating experience which has been passed on to its employees (Tailwaiters.com).
Social Responsibility and Managerial Ethics
Social responsibility and ethics has been deeply etched in Tailwaiters Inc. The environmental aspect of its social responsibility revolves around the need to keep the environment clean especially after holding a tailgate party. Being in the tailgating industry, there is a lot of responsibility that lies with the organization as they offer catering services providing food, snacks and required equipment and also help the customers avoid the hassle of having to clean up the tailgate before going to watch a game.
Managers’ Responsibilities in Making Decisions
With regard to the manager’s responsibilities in making decisions Tailwaiters Inc. has had the experience of the founding members being on the management team that has the mandate of making managerial decisions. The decision to begin the organization itself is a clear example of the managerial decisions that Jason Watson, Zachary Henick and Joshua Winston had to make after they decided to enjoy a tailgate before the kick off of a New York Jets game but forgot to clean up before going to cheer their team. They later came back to find their grill stolen which is where the idea of providing a hassle free tailgating experience was born. It however started as a joke as they were still in college and it was after they were through with college that they actually implemented the idea to start the company. They then started the company where they provided everything from the grill, food and snacks with the exception of alcohol much to the delight of football fans who love the tailgate experience like themselves.
Organizational Structure and Design
The current mission of Tailwaiters is to transform tailgating by taking the hassle out of the experience. Founded by three diehard football fans, Tailwaiters provides fans with the best tailgating experience as it supplies them with the best tailgating equipment and food for the party. With an experienced staff comprising of sports fans that are familiar with what constitutes a great tailgate, Tailwaiters do not fail to deliver the ultimate tailgate suited to the fan’s unique needs.
Tailwaiters recognizes the shortcomings that fans are likely to encounter thus hindering them to enjoy their tailgate and have focused on removing those shortcomings. These problems include fans without cars and have to use public transport to the game, those without the time to set up a tailgate or those wish to avoid the hassle of setting up a tailgate. Tailwaiters has turned these problems into a lucrative business idea where fans can enjoy the tailgate and the game without caring about the mess made. Tailwaiters enables fans to enjoy quality time, eat good food, and have a unique bonding experience with fellow fans by taking the hassle out of the tailgate (Tailwaiters.com). This is because Tailwaiters clean up after a tailgate providing the fans with ample time to enjoy the game. Figure 1 represents the organizational chart of Tailwaiters Inc.
Communication and Information Technology
The fact that Tailwaiters has been a part time gig and the employees are on call as compared to being permanent, the communication channels that are used are effective because sometimes orders are placed with time limitations and therefore there is need for the communication channel to be effective and fast. It is therefore for this purpose that Tailwaiters have embraced a number of communication channels which include telephoning, e-mailing, as well as departmental meeting where vital information is exchanged. The hands on coaching and mentoring advanced by the management to the staff have also played a vital role in developing the skills of the employees while providing services to the customer base.
Fig. 1: Organizational Structure
Accounting and Finance
Tailwaiters was founded by the three founders with a startup capital of $ 15,000 that was contributed by the partners with the help of their parents after they completed college (Tiffany, 2010). The organization generates its revenue from the catering services that it provides which comes in packages that the customers can choose from depending on their preferences. Their basic package is suited for six people for $129. which includes a dozen hot dogs, eight burgers, choice of salad, chips, plates and utensils, bottled water and soda, a grill and tables and chairs while for larger parties, the cost is $15 to $20 per person, depending on the food. The service delivers and sets up, then cleans up afterward.
The most significant expenses at startup were the acquisition of tailgating equipments such as the grills, tables and chairs while the most significant operating expense is the cost of food acquisition and preparation. As a strategy to cut down on expenses, Tailwaiters hire the necessary manpower for tailgating as the need arises as compared to having a permanent workforce. It also exempts itself from providing alcohol but most of the customers are glad to take care of that area.
Human Resource Management
As far as the employees are concerned, Tailwaiters which according to the founders is a part time business has a total of 10 part time employees including the founders. In a bid to reduce the operating costs, the employees are on call as compared to being permanent. This is also the case with the founders because they have other jobs but they can be seen getting their hands dirty on weekends alongside their employees. The pay for the employees is on a contractual basis due to the fact that they get to work when they are on call especially in the football season (Carlson, n.d.). Tailwaiters offer an attractive compensation package as well as monetary incentives to the employees as means of rewarding employee performance.
Tailwaiters base their pricing strategy on a combination of cost and customer value basis. The prices range from $129 for the basic hot-dogs-and-hamburgers party for four to six people, up the $229 for filet mignon, shrimp, sausage and hamburgers all inclusive of, choice of salad, chips, plates and utensils, bottled water and soda, a grill and tables and chairs. For larger parties the cost ranges $15 to $20 per person depending on the food preferences (Chris, 2009). All these costs are considerate of the cost of service provision.
During startup, Tailwaiters relied on word of mouth and placing flyers on cars in the parking lots to advertise their services and they managed to tailgate at least one party per game. However, as their financial position improved, they ventured into radio adverts, public relations and branding so as to promote their services. Another major step made in their marketing strategy is the launch of their website where fans can be able to see all the packages that are available and the costs involved. They have also been said to woe the support of some Jets and Giants bloggers to promote them over the internet in return for throwing tailgate parties for them (Carlson, n.d.). Their very presence in parking lots during games and concerts has enlisted the curiosity of customers and thus they enquire about their services which stimulate them to utilize their services.
Operations and Value Chain Management
Tailwaiters provide value to its customers in the sense that with the services that they provide as compared to the cost, the customer gets value for his/ her money. This is because for the price range of $129 for the most basic package to $229 for a premium package that caters for six people, it amounts to about $22 and $38 per person respectively which is about as much that the fans spend in local bars for pre-game foods (Chris, 2009).
With respect to the Deming’s 14 points for improving management’s productivity, Tailwaiters meets the criteria in the sense the management does create constancy of purpose towards improvement as there are plans on how to transform the business from a part time gig to full time. The management is also hands on when it comes to the adoption of new philosophies which helps the employees to follow suit. Coaching and mentoring is actually an integral part at Tailwaiters because since its inception, the employees have been trained by the managers on how to undertake their tasks. Finally, there are no barriers that exist between the management and the employees because even the management is not afraid to get its hand dirty and perform similar tasks as the employees so as to achieve the set targets (Cohen, n.d.).
Carlson, D. (n.d.). Creating a biz in a parking lot. In businessideaoftheday.org. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from http://businessideaoftheday.org/4013/creating-a-biz-in-a-stadium-parking-lot
Chris (2009, December 13). Tailwaiters-A catered tailgate. In tailgatingideas.com. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from http://www.tailgatingideas.com/tailwaiters-a-catered-tailgate/
Clancy, A. (2009). Tailgating caterer on Long Island a hit with fans. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from http://www.allbusiness.com/long-island-business-news/41533-1.html
Cohen, P. (n.d.). Deming’s 14 points. In hci.com. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from http://www.hci.com.au/hcisite2/articles/deming.htm
Javed, R. (2010). Management skills. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Rashid_Javed
Tailwaiters.com (n.d.). Our story. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from http://tailwaiters.com/our_story.htm
Todd, S. (2010, January 13). Pals transform tailgating from hobby into a career. In nj.com. Retrieved August 5, 2010, from http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/2010/01/pals_transform_tailgating_from.html
Tiffany, L. (2010, January 12). Tailwaiters: Creating a business in a stadium parking lot. In smallbusiness.aol.com
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