College of Business

Capstone: A Unique Applied-Learning Experience

Photo of Bernardus Lodge & Spa Team
Bernardus Lodge & Spa Team

CSUMB's College of Business Senior Capstone Course is Unique

Rather than working on theoretical case studies, students in the Strategic Management course, BUS 499, evaluate the operations of local businesses or non-profit organizations. Students work in small teams of four-to-six, with the goal of helping companies and organizations solve real-world problems and gain a strategic advantage.

What does a Capstone project look like? During the 2018 spring semester, one team in Instructor Calvin Carr’s Capstone section performed a strategic analysis of Peter B’s Brewpub, located within the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey, CA.

Photo of Peter B's Brewpub team
Peter B's Brewpub Team

Peter B’s Brewpub sells its own craft beer and offers a full bar and extensive menu. The team performed a thorough analysis of the Brewpub’s internal organization as well as its external environment. During their analysis, team members Houston Hansen, Courtney Keaton, Cassidy Merideth, Sonal Patel, Christopher Riggin, and Michael Smith (pictured on pg 29) uncovered a serious challenge the Brewpub is facing.

To analyze the Brewpub’s competitive environment and operational activities, they researched the competitive landscape, markets served, products and services provided, the client’s current corporate- and business-level strategies, extraordinary resources, core competencies, supply chain, value-adding activities, and essential strengths and weaknesses.

Through this analysis, it became clear that the Brewpub’s original fine-dining restaurant servicescape was not consistent with a craft beer restaurant identity. Performing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis along with a VRIST (Valuable, Rare, non-Inimitable, non-Substitutable, and non-Tradable) analysis, the team proposed that Peter B’s create a new vision and mission statement and a new logo to help clarify its identity and establish brand recognition that was consistent with a brewpub.

The team also recommended that the client remodel the floorplan of the existing servicescape by removing walls that blocked the view of the brewery operations, replacing existing booths with movable tables and chairs, and opening up the existing fireplace to make it a focal point of the brewpub floor plan. The budget scenarios proposed for this remodel ranged from $140K to $148K, depending on the furnishing options selected. The loss of revenue during the remodel was considered and was well within the $250K budget that was allocated by the client.

The remodel was estimated to take approximately three months. Based on the team’s research, sales could increase by 43% from new customers and 7 to 10% from existing customers. The client is currently considering the team’s recommendations.