5547 Words May 29th, 2014 23 Pages
APRIL 4, 2011


Porcini’s Pronto: “Great Italian cuisine without the wait!”
In January 2011 Tom Alessio, marketing vice president at Porcini’s, Inc., of Boston, was pondering issues raised by a potential expansion of his company’s restaurant business. The domestic market for full-service chain restaurants was nearing its saturation point at both in-city and shopping mall locations. The big chains were looking overseas for growth, but as a small regional player, Porcini’s had neither the resources nor brand power to pursue that option. It needed a domestic avenue for growth. Alessio had persuaded Porcini’s senior executives to consider opening limited-menu outlets, Porcini’s “Pronto,” to serve
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Meanwhile, Chef Molise had begun formulating menu items for “great Italian cuisine without the wait.” In Alessio’s mind, all parts of the Pronto concept—service quality, food quality, pricing, branding, location, and ownership form—had to be coordinated and mutually supportive. And it had to meet or exceed the company’s 6% hurdle rate. That was a big order.
HBS Professor James L. Heskett and writer Richard Luecke prepared this case solely as a basis for class discussion and not as an endorsement, a source of primary data, or an illustration of effective or ineffective management. This case, though based on real events, is fictionalized, and any resemblance to actual persons or entities is coincidental. There are occasional references to actual companies in the narration. Copyright © 2011 President and Fellows of Harvard College. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, call 1-800-545-7685, write Harvard Business Publishing, Boston, MA 02163, or go to This publication may not be digitized, photocopied, or otherwise reproduced, posted, or transmitted, without the permission of Harvard Business School.

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