Thanks for the description! Do you think that EA’s operating model will be as successful in the mobile gaming world, where there is less emphasis on AAA titles and much lower price points. Will they be able to spot trends early enough to acquire budding development studios at reasonable prices? From your description, it seems like the EA model of development is not too dissimilar from the strategy followed by some Hollywood studios (i.e. focus on franchises). Do you know how much their internal R&D (excluding acquisitions) is focused on new ideas (vs. franchises)?
Great insight! I think you are absolutely right – the mono-brand stores that YNAP manages are an excellent source of supply for their multi-brand discount channels. I think that the consumer-facing elements of Yoox and Outnet will remain separate over the medium-term, but I believe the management of the platforms will be consolidated to one subdivision (the President of Outnet left YNAP last month). I believe that the overlap in brands offered by each website will continue to grow, but it may take some time for the respective consumer bases to adjust to increased selection. Once the customer has had time to work through the gradual transition, it may be the right time to combine the online storefronts.
Great piece! I appreciate you highlighting the importance of the incentive program in driving improved customer service. What do you think about the span of control that GMs have in their restaurants vs. their span of accountability? Assuming that one of the key criteria for judging a restaurant is SSS growth, is it fair for individual GMs be responsible for elements out of their control (e.g., menu variation, pricing, décor)? Perhaps this is a good example of the power of the entrepreneurial gap?
On a separate note, I understand that Texas Roadhouse occasionally experiments with newer food concepts – recently opened Jaggers (fast food restaurant selling chicken sandwiches). Do you think that a similar operating strategy (incentive system, hedging food prices) would be effective with a slightly different business model (smaller check size, different menu, potentially altered location type)? As the Company explores new avenues for growth, it may be important for Texas Roadhouse to recognize that elements that have historically made them successful, may not necessarily hold true for newer concepts.
Solid work! You mentioned that there have been backorders for L.L. Bean Boots in recent years. Do you think that this is an operational choice that is trying to introduce an element of scarcity into the business model? As you pointed out, the Company is hesitant to increase prices (which would be the value maximizing option), but is also wary of increasing production facilities outside Maine.