Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2012

Westlake Lanes: How Can This Business Be Saved?

by Richard G. Hamermesh and Alisa Zalosh

Abstract

Shelby Givens, a new MBA, is the general manager of Westlake Lanes, a near-bankrupt bowling alley that her grandfather founded decades earlier. Givens has been given one year to turn a profit; if the goal is not met Westlake will close. During the first few days on the job, Givens learns that the business is in worse shape financially than she—or the board—thought. She also finds that Westlake's employees exhibit minimal productivity. Givens tackles these two issues, creatively uncovering ways to reduce costs while building morale. After nine months, the business has its first profitable month in over two years. Yet Givens is worried it is too little, too late and begins to sketch a bolder long-term strategy based on pursuing one of two alternative new markets. Students are invited to consider whether the board should accept her potentially transformative proposal, maintain existing operations, or liquidate to pay off pressing loan responsibilities. The case includes a quantitative assignment for students.

Keywords: United States; operations management; small and medium-sized enterprises; turnarounds; marketing strategy; entrepreneurship; strategy; Leading Change; Marketing Strategy; Entrepreneurship; Operations; Transformation; Growth and Development Strategy; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; United States;

Citation:

Hamermesh, Richard G., and Alisa Zalosh. "Westlake Lanes: How Can This Business Be Saved?" Harvard Business School Brief Case 124-431, May 2012.