George Hansen is General Manager for the Marigold Inn in Augusta, Georgia. Sharon
Coombs is Restaurant and Food Services Manager for the Inn. She reports to George. Two
years ago, Sharon noticed a decline in room service business, the highest margin portion of
her operation. This decline coincided with an increase in the national sales of pizza delivery
and carryout firms as well as an increase in the number of empty pizza boxes from these
firms being left in guest rooms in the Inn. Her immediate response was to install a pizza
oven in the kitchen and offer room service pizza to guests. The effort met with modest
success, though it was well below her expectations. Questionnaires completed by departing
guests revealed a problem of product quality.
Focusing on this problem, Sharon improved the Inn’s pizza until blind taste tests judged it at
least equal in quality to the products of the two major pizza delivery competitors in Augusta.
Sales did not improve, convincing Sharon that the problem was a perceived mismatch
between the hotel’s image and guests’ expectations of pizza makers. Guests simply did not
seem to believe that the traditional steak and seafood restaurant at the Inn could make a
high-quality, authentic pizza. Based on this conclusion, Sharon presented the following
proposal to George:
“Sales of room service pizza are stagnant due to guests’ misperception that our product is
lower in quality than that of competitors. This misperception is based on the belief that until
we disassociate our pizza from the Marigold Inn name. Therefore, to capture more room
service pizza business, we should create a ‘Napoli Pizza’ image for our guest room delivery
• Preparing ‘Napoli Pizza’ brochures for each guest room, complete with a phone number
with a prefix different from that of Marigold Inn. The number will reach a special phone
in room service, which will be answered, Napoli Pizza, authentic Italian pizza from old,
• Using special ‘Napoli Pizza’ boxes for delivering room service pizza to guests.
• Issuing ‘Napoli Pizza’ hats and jackets to room service personnel for use in pizza
delivery. Room service waiters and waitresses will wear these garments to deliver pizza.
They will change to their regular uniforms for other deliveries.”
How should George respond to this proposal?
Author: Fred L. Miller, Associate Professor of Marketing, Murray State University
Posted by Daisy Wilson