Levendary Café: The China Challenge

Individual Case Study – ‘Levendary

Café: The China Challenge’

Bartlett, CA & Han, A 2011 (rev 2013), ‘Levendary Café: The

China Challenge’, Harvard Business School Publishing Brief

Cases – 4357 (4357-PDF- ENG).



“This document is authorized for use only in Contemporary

Issues in Int Management-1 by Jonathan D'Cruz, RMIT

University from July 2016 to December 2016.”

Question 1: The appropriate expansion path

From the case study, Mia Foster, the CEO of Levendary

Café strongly believes in the standardisation of a brand,

making sure that there are no differences in the offering

of the product. Out of the 23 Levendary Cafés that Chen

had opened in China, only two very closely typified the

company brand as it was known in the USA the country of

origin. According to Chen, the other cafés were meant to

suit location requirements. However, Foster was aware

the McDonald’s brand had not been altered even as it

expanded into China—it was only slightly modified to

include rice porridge in the breakfast menus. Denny’s

Japan on the other hand had altered its entire menu to

meet local requirements, when Denny’s, an American

restaurant company, entered the Japanese market—and

by doing that it attained great success.

 Discuss the pros and cons of standardisation of business

operations for multinational corporations offering a brand in

multiple locations across the globe. (350 words)

Question 2: Qualities of a good global manager

While Foster sees the potential of the Levendary brand in the

Chinese market, she seems to have doubts about Chen as the

right person for the job. She views him as a go-getter who has

become a local baron, but who lacks the qualities of a

professional manager. It seems the few weeks he spent in

Denver, USA when he was hired were far from being sufficient

to imbue him with the managerial talent necessary to oversee a

successful establishment of the Levendary Café brand in China.

(a)  Are there some characteristics which are possessed by

Chen that are needed to successfully navigate the Chinese

business environment? (150 words)

(b)  Do you think Foster herself as the CEO of the Levendary

group is able to steer the development or grooming of an

international manager, given that she herself lacks

international management experience, since her

management skills were acquired principally from working

within the domestic environment? (150 words)

Question 3: Involvement of head office

. (a)  There has been a reasonable debate in international

management circles about the role of the global

headquarters (HQ) in the operations of foreign

subsidiaries. Critically discuss the role that the global HQ

should play in managing external company operations.

(350 words)

. (b)  To what extent should the managers of these external

entities be given freedom to steer strategic and

operational mandates? (300 words)

. (c)  Provide and discuss an example of a foreign subsidiary of

a firm that has benefited tremendously from direct global

HQ involvement, and a second example where a laissez

faire-like approach was taken and was the best route to

follow. (200 words)

Material which could be used for the case


  Baruch, Y 2002, ‘No such thing as a global

manager’, Business Horizons, vol 45, no 1, pp. 36–42.

  Haas, H and Nüesch, S 2012, ‘Are multinational

teams more successful?’, The International Journal of

Human Resource Management, vol 23, no 15, pp


  Schlevogt 2000, ‘Doing business in China II:

Investing and managing in China – how to dance with the

dragon’, Thunderbird International Business Review, vol

42, no 2, pp 201–226.

  Paul, H 2000, ‘Creating a global mindset’,

Thunderbird International Business Review, vol 42, no 2,

pp 187–200. 
Also make reference to some of the articles

in the weekly reading lists provided by the Offering


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