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BUS 302 Business Environments Library Course Guide

Restaurant Case Study

Two ways to research:

1. Click each Griffin dimension to see suggestions for locating research material for this case.

2. Follow the    to suggested resources for your business environment report to a case study for a restaurant.

The examples are also relevant for other industries and organizations.

Griffin, Ricky W. (7th ed.) (2002). Chapter 3: The environment of organization and managers.  In Management. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p. 24.



Task Environment

Strategic Allies
Labor / Unions


Eco-Environment--How the physical environment and changes to natural resources affect business.

This topic is now widely reported in news, blogs, and special reports.
Some suggested sources for news through the library are:

Factiva  Latest two weeks--all in one: (Wall St. Journal, NYT, Washington Post,  Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Baron, Forbes, Fortune)
View demo
LexisNexis News
 Excellent for local news archives
ProQuest Newspapers  Especially good for industry news
The Futurist  (World Future Society)

General Environment

Economic dimension-The overall health of the global economic system in which the organization operates.  Selected recommendations only, historical, current and some forecast data.

Bureau of Economic Analysis
Bureau of Labor Statistics--San Diego Economy
Stat-USA (CSUSM only, license restriction-librarian will need to log you in)--Latest economic data for U.S. and Global esp for International

FRED: Federal Reserve Economic Database
Key economic indicators arranged in a way to quickly scan for U.S. interest rates, CPI (Consumer Price Index); PPI (Producer Price Index) GDP, and banking indicators

World Economic Outlook / International Monetary Fund
HC 10 .W7979 REFERENCE for latest year, earlier in book stacks and electronic

OECD Economic Outlook / OECD
HC 10 .O18 REFERENCE for latest year, earlier in book stacks and electronic

US Census Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services (NAICS 7221) Full service restaurants.

News articles about local restaurants:

San Diego Business Journal in ABI Inform (Proquest)
Lexis/Nexis / News / U.S. News / California

Technological dimension

The Futurist (csusm only) Use the recommended article from your professor as a starting point for your particular company.

Search Factiva – ABI Inform Trade and Industry or
forecast and technolog$ and restaurant
Limit to industry (Full service restaurants)
among the hits: Nations Restaurant News year end summaries

Sociocultural dimension

MediaMark Reporter
MRI+ has detailed consumer lifestyle spending survey data, national.

Lifestyle Market Analyst  HF5415.33 U6 L54  Business Quick Ref Shelf
For San Diego and major metro areas--demographic and lifestyle

ABI Inform Global  is excellent for news articles on industry topics

Political-legal dimension

Is the political or legal environment friendly toward the industry?  Locate the political action committee or lobby for state or national issues that may affect the industry.  Where do local politicians and legislators stand on existing or proposed laws governing the industry.

Chamber of Commerce websites for positions on legislation
Professional Associations support their members and are vocal advocates for their industry.  Search web:  [industry name] association
National Restaurant Association
search trade publications articles on political positions and legislation in an industry.

 Search:  In ABI Inform Trade and Industry you search for keywords: Restaurant industry and legislation. 
Articles on sodium, paid-leave, menu-labeling appear from the trade publication Nation's Restaurant News

Search:  Google Unclesam  Google selective search of all government sites in United States.  Searches federal, state, county, city.

International dimension Industry Search Industry information and opportunities for exporting.

Import/Export at Details for getting started, importing products, and trade agreements.

Look for import / export information.  Research target country demographics.

Task Environment


Business directories list private and public company information.  Business descriptions often list competitors.  Use the SIC or NAIC to get a list of companies in the same industry.

Search by Company Name
ReferenceUSA Company details, NAIC, competitors, radius, business expenses

Lexis/Nexis Academic then go to: Business / Company Dossier.
For additional suggestions: Business Research Subject Guides

Seach by Industry for Company List
LexisNexis Academic / Business Company Dossier

To find competitors to Don's Doggie Diner search using SIC 5812; location: San Marcos, CA, and key term in business description: diner or coffee shop

Search for Industry Statistics  Business / NAICS.
Economic Census to find the number of companies of competitors by zipcode, city, county etc.  From the Census home page, choose Business / Economic Census.

small to large companies   LexisNexis Academic / Business     
large companies Hoover's Company records in Lexis/Nexis Academic.

Business rankings:  For large companies: To know where a company ranks among it's competitors you need to look at business rankings or analyze financial statements. 
Business Rankings Annual  


Demographics--Define your population

American Factfinder  Choose your target population area (zipcode, city, county etc.)

Who is likely to eat at a restaurant?

Research lifestyle choices: 

Library catalog subjects:  Market segmentation, age groups
Lifestyle Market Analyst  HF5415.33.U6 L54 REFERENCE
(for demographic characteristics tied to lifestyle choices by metropolitan area.)

MediaMark Reporter (CSUSM only--will not work with firefox) product purchasing behavior and consumer demographics and media (magazine readership, TV, radio, and web viewing habits.)

read Trade publications:  ABI Inform Global / topic guide / restaurant / lists other suggested topics "Restaurants and Consumer behavior"

Use SanDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) to find the optimal location for the restaurants. (San Marcos and Rancho Santa Fe).
Once in SanDAG navigate on the right hand column to Other Resources / Demographic and other data to locate county census info. and transportation info.

Research local demographics


Look through trade publications such as Nation's Restaurant News and advertisements, and web sites.  Look at Trade Show websites and their sponsors.  Read business news stories and statistics about cost of operations for restaurant owners.

Don need's cleaning supplies for his restaurant and a search of Nation's Restaurant News website finds advertisements for cleaning supplies.

Nation's Restaurant News
Some links off their site:  supplier news, food trends

Thomas Register a super-catalog of manufacturers and services with links to company web sites and catalogs. 

Professional industry associations as a service to their members and prospective customers associations may provide directories.  Find your professional association through web searches, news releases, trade show listings.  One example for suppliers is IDS Packaging:  The information resource for the packaging industry.

Strategic Allies

Consider business enterprises that have mutual customers or needs.  Don's Doggie Diner proximity to high schools or athletic events.  The Diner may have a sharing arrangement for advertising or coupons, with another company.  Consider any useful business networking ideas.

Search secondary literature by using keywords that hint at strategic alliances:  partner, alliance, joint, etc.
Press releases (business wire, PR newswire) searchable in the business databases are often about these arrangements.


Regulations fall into different jurisdictions, they are either municipal, county, regional (water districts) state, or national.   Consider which jurisdiction cares about the issue.  For example, local business signs will fall into city or county jurisdiction.  Business license and fees will fall into state or local.  Taxes will fall under state, or federal.
To find the various regulations, licenses and permits Don will need he visits CalGold website.

To learn about pending bills that could affect his business in the near future:

State of California Web Site / Government / Legislature / Locating and Tracking Bills

Labor Market

Occupational information

Occupational Employment Statistics / US Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Contains metro area wages and employment trends, lags by 18 months.

Labor Unions

Be aware of labor union activities, in news databases, via union directories.

External Owners

stockholders, see investor relation pages of public corporation shareholder meeting votes.

Created by: Ann Fiegen