Preparing to Conduct Business Research
On September 12, 2012 the New York City Health Department voted eight-zero with one vote abstaining, to enact a city wide ban on sugar-sweetened beverages in containers over 16ounce in size (Susman, 2012). At the urging of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg the health department is hoping that this ban will have an impact on the growing obesity problem among New York citizens (Susman, 2012). Opposition to the ban was evident before the final vote by citizens believing violations of his or her freedom are occurring and vendors who see the choices in what he or she serve the customers under dictation from city hall.
Perhaps the group with the most to lose is the beverage industry; the ban limits servings of sugar sweetened drinks to 16 ounces or less in the city’s 24,000 restaurants, delis, movie theaters, sports venues, and street carts (Petrecca, 2012). This means no 20-ounce bottles, no super-sized drinks, no monster drinks at the movie theater, the fact is most of these establishments consider a 16-ounce beverage a small or medium drink (Petrecca, 2012). So smaller drinks mean smaller profits; however, it may be possible that this is not the case.
The ban does not limit the number of 16-ounce drinks a person may purchase; the possibility for additional sales does exist (Petrecca, 2012). Because only restaurants offer free refills, it is possible that the smaller size drinks will result in greater quantities of sales at the other locations. Business Research The CEO of the Coca Cola Company is communicating with Learning Team A, hiring Learning Team A to research potential issues and opportunities resulting from the ban on containers over the limit of 16 ounces of sugar sweetened beverages in the city of New York.
Coca Cola is showing interest in learning what the consumer thinks of the ban; how the customers believe it will affect his or her recreational and dining experiences. Coca Cola is not only showing interest in this information as it pertains to New York City but also because the interest this ban is attracting from other large cities and what it would mean to the company if this became common practice in other locations (Koebler, 2012). Hypotheses
Team A offers several hypotheses to the ban and the effects it will have on the citizens, vendors, and distributors of sugar sweetened beverages: ? Team A hypothesizes that the ban on sugar sweetened beverages will cause a decrease in beverage sales that contain sugar, costing the Coca Cola company millions of dollars in sales. ? Team A hypothesizes that the ban on sugar sweetened beverages larger than 16 ounces will cause consumers to purchase multiple quantities of beverages in replacement of what they use to purchase.
Also the sale of sugar free beverages will rise; this will cause an increase in revenue for the Coca Cola Company. Team A hypothesizes that the public will be unreceptive to the ban and believes that the government body responsible for it has overstepped their bounds. The public will think that the removal of this choice goes against the constitutional rights every person has and that he or she will attempt to find a way around the ban. ? Team A hypothesizes that although there will be citizens upset in regard to the ban, the citizens will embrace the law proving a measurable difference on the obesity problem in New York City. Variables to Consider and Questions to Ask
In an effort to offer to the Coca Cola Company the most complete information, the best recommendations, and a reliable foundation on which to base future changes it is necessary to research as many variables as possible. Variable questions to include in the research include: 1) “The various age groups of the consumers, and their drink preferences. ” 2) “How the vendors plan on handling this new rule and will the vendor adjust the prices, add free-refills, implement buy one get one programs, and add additional drink dispensers to accommodate customers. ) “How these bans encourage customers to leave the city limits and visit establishments in the suburbs? ” 4) “How the consumer understands the reasoning behind the ban and the obesity issue with the removal of beverage choice? ”
5) “Coca Cola currently holding a 70% market share in New York; this is a significant margin over the competition (Petrecca, 2012). It is important to research if the customer loyalty level will hold up to “deals” by the competition and how aggressive Coca Cola is going have to be with marketing and pricing. 6) “Is Coca Cola willing to embrace this ban, explore ways to market their diet products and fruit juices as an alternate to the sugar sweetened beverages? ” Ethical Considerations Ethics play a critical role in conducting research projects (Donald R. Cooper, 2011). It is critical to examine how the results of the research issue breach the rights of the citizens. In the case of the New York City law that limits the sales of sugar sweetened drinks there are several ethical questions that arise.
The strongest being, “how will this state law infringe on an individual’s rights to choose the size of their desired beverage? ” The motivation behind the law is the unhealthy factors of sugary drinks, targeting one unhealthy option. Supporters of the law believe that this law will help prevent obesity; however, opposition believes it is unfair to place the weight of this issue on one product. Also at question “Is it ethical to restrict a consumer’s right to choose what he or she wants to drink?
Along with sugar sweetened beverages there are other unhealthy products available that have proven effects on weight with no restrictions. Vendors and beverage makes can argue that the law shows bias and is discriminatory. This leads to another ethical issue; does the law give preference or competitive vendor advantage over consumer’s advantage. A consumer, who may wish to purchase a larger drink, may find the need to purchase multiple drinks, thereby increasing the sales of the company but yet not eliminating the risk of obesity.
Also under consideration is the ethical question, “does the beverage company have a responsibility to their customers to reduce the chance of obesity, knowing that these beverages offer empty calories with no nutritional value? ” Conclusion Moving into the future it is important to understand what difficulties a company will be facing. Knowledge from research projects provide companies the possibility to develop contingency plans and reduce the chance that the unknown will alter the course of a successful business plan.
Earlier this month the New York City Health Department passed a law that has altered the way beverage makers and vendors conduct their business and altering the freedom consumers have in choosing something as simple as the beverage he or she drinks. The Coca Cola Company is looking to go forward armed with the knowledge they will need to maintain their superiority in the New York Market. This task has fallen on Learning Team A, as they will research and discover what the market and consumers will demand to remain customers of Coca Cola.