February 7, 2011

A Business Study About Ducky's in the Globe and Mail by a Mount Allison Professor

Ducky's is undoubtedly the best pub in town. It seems like such a laid back place I had no idea they had any sort of strategy about how they do business...but clearly they do...and it worked.

Small-town bar drafts marketing plan
Last updated Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 10:08AM EST

Ducky's in Sackville, NB.

It was a case of too much supply and static demand.
The small university town of Sackville, NB, population 7,500, had seen a growth in the number of bars catering to the limited student and town population. Darren Wheaton, owner of Ducky’s, realized something had to be done to keep the business going in the face of competition from seven other bars in town. Mr. Wheaton had worked as a bartender at Ducky’s for six years before becoming the manager and later the owner after his brother passed away.
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The bar had been in business for 22 years, starting off adjunct to a pizza restaurant. Located in a prime downtown location, Ducky’s was a small bar but it had established a reputation as a social place for hanging out with friends.
Former students returning to town for a visit would mention frequently that after moving away they had a hard time finding a replacement hangout.

Mr. Wheaton realized his business catered to two distinct market segments. The university students formed one, while the professors and town residents the other. The student business trickled off during the summer months while the town business was steady throughout the year. Focusing on both segments of the market would allow him to distinguish his bar from the competition.
Although the student segment was lucrative, Mr. Wheaton knew he had to cater to both segments not only for competitive reasons but also to even out cash flows over the entire year. In terms of traffic, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., 90 per cent of his clientele consisted of town residents, while almost 100 per cent of the traffic after 7 p.m. was from the student market.
After conducting some research into market trends and customer demands, he found that there was a growing desire for greater draught-beer choices. Mr. Wheaton invested more than $20,000 in new refrigeration equipment, increasing his beer line from two to 10 selections. He also decided to hire more students to attract their friends as patrons. He introduced a “drink of the week” promotion, bringing in extra traffic and revenue despite the discount – not everyone in a given party would order the drink special at a reduced price.

By actively addressing the competition on various fronts, Ducky’s business not only picked up but also saw a very healthy 30-per-cent increase in sales in the first couple of years. The growth has tapered off a bit recently, but the bar was able to carve out a profitable niche in a small town.
Special to The Globe and Mail
Nauman Farooqi is an associate professor and chair of the Research Ethics Board in the Ron Joyce Centre for Business Studies of Mount Allison University.
This is the latest in a regular series of case studies by a rotating group of business professors from across the country. They appear every Friday on the Your Business website.
Published on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 9:12AM EST

A quick note about one class this term...

This semester I'm taking Middle East Foreign Policy. It's a special topics course which means it hasn't been taught here before as a regular course. Thankfully we have James Devine, Senior Research Fellow on the McGill-based Interuniversity Consortium for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies as our professor. I appreciate his fresh outlook compared to some others I have heard discussing politics. On the first day we discussed Canada's (lack of a major) role in the Middle East. I appreciated that it was the first look taking into account reality I've had just as a basic measure of Canada's importance in the world. I'm sorry to all those who are ardent nationalists, but Canada can barely be defined as a middle power.

From the first day I was excited about this course because it'll be one based on the reality on the ground, and not some pie-in the sky wishful thinking about Canada making the world a better place, or outright depressing pessimism about the structure of the world order itself.

It reminded me of someone asking a really uneducated question in introduction to political science. We were studying the start of the Westphalian Order and someone asked about modern day politics. He asked something along the lines of "Well if there's legal equality then why can't any country just say no to China?"

The professor responded that legal equality doesn't mean that they have the same say on the global arena. She China versus...umm...a small country without much of a voice on the world stage...and came up with Jamaica. It made me wonder wonder why she didn't say Canada. Unsurprisingly she later mentioned Canada being a middle power focused on peacekeeping...which...if you actually look at the facts and not the nationalist propaganda, is no longer true.

I'm glad to have a political science class that looks at the world as it really is, with a primarily realist perspective, especially where is it most appropriate: the Middle East.

Mount Allison University: Featuring Alex Dalton

Here's another one-on-one video. This time from my friend and fellow IR major Alex Dalton.