Harvard Case Study Attracts BBX Capital to MOD
The Harvard Business School case study, in which students, professors and executives debate the challenges facing a major company, is considered a classic of American business education.
It’s not often a franchisor attracts a prospect by being the subject of a Harvard Business School case study, but that’s what happened for Seattle-based MOD Pizza. BBX Capital just signed on as a franchisee, with plans to develop 50 or more of the fast-casual pizza chain’s restaurants across central and southern Florida over the next seven years.
“My first introduction we had to MOD was I read an HBS case study” about the brand, said BBX President Jarett Levan. He knew MOD’s co-founder and CEO, Scott Svenson, through membership in the Young Presidents Organization. “I immediately called Scott and told him that I wanted to be considered” as a franchisee, “just based on the 35-page case study.”
Most CEOs only dream of their company being the subject of a Harvard case study. For Svenson, a Harvard alum, it was a heady experience, especially because he brought two of his staff members, the vice president of HR and the district manager, along to the presentation.
The attraction for BBX Capital was the culture, which co-founder Ally Svenson described on the top of that case study, published in September 2015, this way: “Competitors can copy our store design and our pizza, but not our culture.” I’ll describe that culture in depth in an upcoming story about MOD.
BBX Capital is an unusual restaurant franchisee, in that it has never operated restaurants. The company ran a 60-year-old commercial bank with 100 locations, among other businesses. “We understand how important the brand is, and how important the culture is. Competing with the behemoths, you had to be consistent with the culture to be successful,” Levan said.
What BBX Capital does know is real estate, with many relationships with shopping center developers in the region, and they’ve executed three letters of intent already on locations, after signing the deal with MOD earlier this month.