Last Updated 08 May 2020

The secret ingredient in Mrs. Fields business concept

Category Bread, Chocolate
Words 687 (3 pages)
Views 160

Mrs. Fields was founded by Debbie and Randy Fields in 1977 as bakery shop. Debbie Fields decided that it's time to do something on her own to get out of her husband's shadow, and started doing what she knew best - baking chocolate chip cookies. Even though her friends and family didn't support her idea, she was persistent and started her first cookie store in Liddiocoat's Market in Palo Alto. Things got even worse when she didn't manage to sell even one cookie on the first day. Afraid that she is going to fail, she took the cookies and gave them away to people on the streets as free samples which attracted them to come back and buy.

The second store opened at the Pier 39 shopping area in San Francisco proved that people loved Debbie's cookies because they were waiting in lines which caused problems to neighboring business. That was a clear indication that there is demand for more stores which resulted with 70 stores in 1982. The pressure of expansion intensified development of innovative computer software which helped them to monitor stocks, plan daily production schedules, order materials automatically, easily communicate with headquarters, handle payroll and improve employee training.

The software was so successful that Randy started subsidiary named Fields Software Group and started selling his artificial intelligence store management software. However they had a setback in 1988 when they closed 85 out of their 500 stores, and lost about $19 million which resulted as consequence of the bad relationship with the British investors who felt deceived. Seemed like Debbie's 14 different kinds of cookies were not enough and Mrs. Fields decided to change the simple cookie stores into full-service bakeries. They also started selling frozen cookie dough.

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In 1989 Mrs. Fields managed to rebound from previous year's poor performance, revenues increased for 8% and the net income resulted with record of 1. 5 million. Although there was some reorganizing of the management, Randy and Debbie kept playing the major role in the company. A story about Mrs. Fields selling a recipe spread around and, as Debbie said in her book, it really hurt the company. Eventually, it became an urban legend and confirmed that people love stories about corporate rip offs and chocolate chip cookies.

In the 1990s the company faced many changes starting with an agreement with Marriot Corporation. They also started expanding internationally and had 45 stores worldwide, some of them in Canada, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and the UK. The company was reorganized once again in 1993 by remodeling some stores and franchising over 100 new stores which required new borrowing. The company continued expanding under the ownership of Capricorn Investors, while Mrs. and Mr. Field got divorced and split Fields Software Group and Mrs.

Fields. Certainly, chocolate and cookie addicts would be Mrs. Fields greatest customers. Children might be the end customers in many cases, but parents who care to provide fresh, not conserved cookies and sweets to their children are the real customers who make the purchase. Mrs. Fields cookies are used as gift in many occasions such as Easter, Christmas, Mother's day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Housewarming etc. All this occasions suggest families as major customers.

However, not all families can afford to pay the relatively high price which is result of the whole system of providing fresh cookies. So, we may say families with medium to high income. Recently, Mrs. Fields started serving business as well, by providing logo cookies, thank you gifts and even cookies customized according to business needs. The 'secret ingredient' in Mrs. Fields business concept is providing freshly baked and incredibly tasty cookies at each store. Mrs.

Fields offered variety of confectioneries including their very famous chocolate chip cookies, but the key concept was offering freshly baked home-style cookies to each customer. They were selling the cookies while they are still warm and as a rule two hours after they were taken out of the oven, fresh and at its best quality. To make it sure that the cookies that were not sold within two hours are not waste of time and material, Mrs. Fields was donating them to Red Cross to be given to blood donors or to other charities.

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