Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2011

Levendary Cafe: The China Challenge

by Christopher A. Bartlett and Arar Han


Just weeks into her new job, Mia Foster, a first time CEO with no international management experience, is faced with a major challenge at Levendary Cafe, a $10 billion US-based fast food chain. Strategically, many of her corporate staff have become concerned that the company's major expansion into China is moving too far from Levendary's well-defined concepts of store design and menu. Organizationally, Foster has been frustrated by the apparent unwillingness of Louis Chen, president of Levendary China, to conform to the company's planning and reporting processes. Meanwhile, financial evidence shows that Chen's efforts have produced strong results and suggests that he knows China far better than U.S headquarters does. The entrepreneurial Chen has resisted attempts by Foster and others to discuss corporate plans for China. As Foster flies to China to meet with Chen she faces a decision that will determine the future of Levendary China and perhaps the entire globalization effort: can she manage Chen at all, and if so, how?

Keywords: globalization; international management; foreign subsidiaries; entrepreneurship; strategic planning; General managers; strategy; Management Style; Strategic Planning; Business Subsidiaries; Multinational Firms and Management; Adaptation; Entrepreneurship; Relationships; Standards; Cross-Cultural and Cross-Border Issues; Retail Industry; Food and Beverage Industry; China; United States;


Bartlett, Christopher A., and Arar Han. "Levendary Cafe: The China Challenge." Harvard Business School Brief Case 114-357, October 2011.