+1(978)310-4246 credencewriters@gmail.com


Determine relevant factors allowing international business to succeed in a particular region or country.


Case Study

Review the case study above and prepare the necessary document as explained below.

Use the following website as a starting point for research on this project:

The World Factbook


In addition, you may likely need to do some additional research to help complete this project.

Please choose from one of the following countries to expand into: Japan, Brazil, India, Liberia, Ukraine, or Thailand.

Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (RMCF) has hired you as a consultant to help them with a planned expansion into a new market. Your role is to help facilitate this expansion into a new country/region, and to point out options and possible hurdles the company will face that they aren’t aware of. Write a report to the Chief Operations Officer (COO) and outline the overall business environment for the expansion, including the following:

Choose a country or region for the expansion, considering the details of the case study.

Identify the four relevant factors that will affect an expansion into this new market in a positive way.

For each factor identified, identify how these factors will directly benefit RMCF in its expansion into the new market.

What are at least two obstacles will need to be overcome in this expansion effort, and what is the recommendation to overcome them?

Ensure your report has an introduction properly describing the general scenario of what it will address, and then a conclusion wrapping up your points and what you addressed in the report.

Grading Rubric











No Pass

No Pass




Not Submitted

Does not identify four factors affecting the expansion into the new market.

Identifies a defined market to expand into, and also lists four factors that will affect the expansion into the new country/region.

A market is defined with some background on why it was chosen. Additionally, the four factors reviewed provide some analysis on why they will aid RCMF in the expansion effort.

Market selection is fully supported with information from case and outside resources detailing reasoning for making choice of new market. Detailed explanation provided on what the four factors are that will aid in expansion, and brings in outside research to support the assertions.

Not Submitted

Does not link factors to RMCF and how it will aid company in their expansion effort.

Shows how the four factors will positively impact RMCF in their effort to expand.

Leverages some outside research beyond case study to show impact on factors in the RCMF expansion.

Provides direct linkages on how factors identified will aid RCMF in expansion efforts, and utilizes outside resources to support analysis used for this.

Not Submitted

Does not identify obstacles that will need to be overcome in the expansion effort.

No introduction or conclusion, or very little included in them.

Identifies at least two obstacles to overcome, and also provides a strategy for doing this.

The introduction and conclusion adequately addresses the factors addressed in the body of the report.

Describes the two or more obstacles and provides rationale and some outside evidence as to why they will impede the expansion of RCMF, and also describes in some detail what strategies will work to overcome them.

The introduction and conclusion are substantial and are comprehensive in reviewing what was covered and to be covered in the report.

Describes two or more obstacles to overcome, and provides detailed rationale and outside support a nd research supporting why these will be obstacles, and provides detailed reasoning on what needs to be done to overcome them with outside research supporting strategies to overcome obstacles.

The introduction and conclusion are comprehensive, and additionally fold in analysis as to why the student made particular conclusions or chose the points covered in the report.

Journal of Case Studies
November 2014, Vol. 32, No. 2 p. 27-32
ISSN 2162-3171
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory International
Rick H. Mull, Fort Lewis College
Kaori Takano, Fort Lewis College
Stephanie Owings, Fort Lewis College
This case was prepared by the authors and is intended to be used as a basis for class
discussion. The views presented here are those of the authors based on their professional
judgment and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society for Case Research. Copyright
© 2014 by the Society for Case Research and the authors. No part of this work may be
reproduced or used in any form or by any means without the written permission of the Society
for Case Research.
As he sipped his hot tea and looked at the translucent curtain of white obscuring the 14th Green
below his house, the muffled sounds heralded by the season’s first snowstorm put Bryan
Merryman in a pensive mood. As the CFO of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (RMCF), a
publicly traded premium chocolate company created in 1982 and headquartered in Durango,
Colorado, Bryan recognized a significant challenge to the growth and future vibrancy of the
company. He knew only too well that the 2007-2008 financial crisis had a significant impact on
the growth of the firm and that he must rely on all his financial and strategic skills to continue an
incredibly successful track record of growth and financial profitability. Bryan understood that
growth needed to continue, but that it was his responsibility to manage the risk of that growth.
Bryan was proud of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate brand. RMCF nurtured their brand image by
primarily selling their product through franchise outlets. Bryan believed that the careful layout of
the store, the hand mixing of fudge on a marble table so customers could watch, and the smell of
fresh chocolate had contributed greatly to product sales. While other chocolatiers sold their
boxed product online and through department stores, he believed that limiting their sales to
brilliantly lit display cases of fresh chocolate in their franchise stores had been a major
contributing factor toward the high quality image of the product.
Bryan recalled the recent 2007-2008 financial crises and how it resulted in the decision by the
U.S. Small Business Administration to toughen up its loan standards. This tightening of credit
reduced the available capital to his potential franchise owners, which resulted in a decrease in
domestic expansion. The number of new franchises for his company had plummeted from 30-40
annually down to 5-10 annually. He anticipated that this trend would continue for some time,
which prompted him to consider refocusing company expansion to international communities.
Bryan knew that, given the size of the company and the resulting limited financial and human
capital resources, any expansion of the company into foreign markets must be smartly managed
and risk mitigated.
Bryan had loosely contemplated expansion in to a variety of countries and regions such as India,
Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia.
Page 27
Journal of Case Studies
November 2014, Vol. 32, No. 2 p. 27-32
ISSN 2162-3171
However, Bryan could not stop thinking about the more than 1 billion potential customers in
India. He saw customers falling like snowflakes to RMCF franchises to purchase their chocolate.
Given the current state of franchise expansion in the U.S. Bryan knew that he needed to decide
soon if the firm should embrace the Indian market or move on to other potential countries (B.
Merryman, personal communication, May 10, 2013).
Contrary to other premium chocolate producers, RMCF derived most of its sales from onpremise purchase from within their retail outlets. Many of the on-premise purchases, such as
caramel apples, were also immediately consumed. This was in contrast to other fine chocolate
stores that earned much of their sales from products intended as gifts. Approximately 68% of
RMCF’s revenues came from sales of chocolates, which were manufactured in Durango, to
franchisees. Some products, such as fudge, were hand made in the retail outlet, but all still used
only the raw materials manufactured in Durango. The collection of initial franchise fees and
royalties from franchisees accounted for around 17% of their revenues. The remainder came
primarily from sales at company-owned stores. Table 1 below illustrates this breakdown.
Table 1
Approximate Percentage Sales Revenue by Type for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
During 2009
Franchise Chocolate Sales
Franchise Royalties/Fees
Company-Owned Stores
Chocolate sales
Products prepared on the premises of a typical RMCF franchised store generated an average of
55% of the store’s revenues. These in-store products included fudge and caramel apples. RMCF
believed this on-site production process was a key factor that differentiated their product from
competitors. In their estimation, “in-store preparation of products creates a special store
ambiance, and the aroma and sight of products being made attracts foot traffic and assures
customers that products are fresh.” All products that were made in franchised stores were
produced with RMCF proprietary recipes and from ingredients purchased directly from RMCF
or approved suppliers.
Demand for RMCF products had a distinct seasonality to it. They had significantly higher
demand during the holiday season (mid-December through Easter) and through the summer
vacation months. Many of the purchases made during this high season were boxed items that
were used for gifting.
International Expansion
At this time, RMCF had 10 company-owned, 49 licensee-owned and 296 franchised stores. They
had a presence in 40 states in the U.S. In addition, they had stores in Canada, Japan and the
United Arab Emirates (UAE). Although 97% of their revenues were derived from domestic
sources, much of their recent expansion activities had been overseas.
Page 28
Journal of Case Studies
November 2014, Vol. 32, No. 2 p. 27-32
ISSN 2162-3171
RMCF’s international expansion began ten years after its incorporation. In 1992 RMCF entered
into a franchise development agreement with a partner in Canada who was granted the exclusive
right to franchise and operate RMCF stores in Canada. To this point, RMCF had 53 Canadian
stores operating under this agreement. Bryan knew the success that such expansion could
provide. His mind contrasted this success with a similar agreement in 2000 with a partner in the
UAE that resulted in a total of only four RMCF franchise stores to date. Although the UAE had
ranked 4th in GDP/Person at just over $48,000, he had suspected that the UAE population of 5.4
million had driven that slower development. At that time, the United States had a population of
almost 312 million.
Bryan uncomfortably recalled the effect on his firm of the 2007 – 2008 financial downturn in the
United States. Previously, RMCF’s strategy of expansion provided roughly 30-40 new franchises
each year, and allowed entrepreneurs an opportunity to become part of the RMCF family with
only $50,000 in liquid assets, with 90% of store build-out costs financed by the U.S. Small
Business Administration (USSBA). This technique minimized RMCF’s needs for capital to
finance expansion. However, since then, the loan rule changes instituted by the USSBA after the
crisis significantly decreased the pool of potential domestic franchisees. Now potential retailers
needed between $100,000 and $150,000 of liquid assets and the remaining borrowed build out
costs, between $250,000 – $300,000, that needed to be secured by an asset of equal value. As a
result, RMCF new domestic franchises fell to 5-10 new stores each year. The type of
entrepreneurs that had driven RMCF’s domestic success in the past could no longer afford to
become part of the RMCF team. So Bryan felt they needed to consider expanding internationally.
His most recent international expansion, achieved over an agonizing three years, occurred in
April 2012 by entering into a Master Licensing Agreement covering the entire country of Japan.
With the right to open RMCF stores in Japan for its own account and those of franchisees, he had
eagerly anticipated significant success in this new market in the near future, which would
provide a solid financial base for continued international expansion. Although the cost of
shipping the product overseas was higher than within the United States, it was not prohibitive: he
estimated that door-to-door refrigerated shipping to deliver their product to Japan was only
approximately an additional $1/lb.
Expansion Strategy
Historically, RMCF did not have to pursue business partners. Within the United States, the
majority of new franchises had been granted to existing franchisees that wished to expand,
individuals referred by existing franchisees, or to customers familiar with the product. With the
decrease in domestic expansion, the shifting focus to international expansion lead to a different
franchise process than used in the U.S.
Regardless of whether the market is domestic or international, RMCF paid careful attention to
site selection of its stores. Among other things, they considered tenant mix, visibility,
attractiveness, accessibility, level of foot traffic and occupancy costs. About 25% of domestic
franchise locations were found in regional centers such as the Mall of America in Minnesota.
Another 25% were found in outlet malls. Approximately 15% were found in tourist areas such as
Page 29
Journal of Case Studies
November 2014, Vol. 32, No. 2 p. 27-32
ISSN 2162-3171
Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and the Riverwalk in San Antonio. There were 13 airport
locations accounting for 5% of domestic franchise locations. Bryan considered their target
demographic group to be the “top of the middle.” Table 2 following reflects this distribution.
Table 2
Retail Store Distribution by Location Type by Type for Rocky Mountain Chocolate
Factory During 2009
Outlet Malls
When RMCF expanded into another nation its strategy was to sign a Master Licensing
Agreement (MLA) with a firm that wanted exclusive rights to sell RMCF products in a particular
geographic area. The MLA granted the right for the partner to both open corporate stores for
their own account and to sell franchises, all, of course, exclusively selling RMCF product. The
franchisee in a location governed by a Master Licensing Agreement would pay a franchise fee
and royalty fees that accrued, in part, to the holder of the MLA and in part to RMCF.
As a result of the financial crisis, RMCF had recently chosen to also pursue a more pro-active
expansion policy. First, RMCF participated in a U.S. Department of Commerce program termed
the Gold Key Matching Service (United States Department of Commerce, n. d.). For a fee, the
Gold Key Matching Service program matched U.S. firms with 4-6 potential partners in a
particular nation. A trade specialist of the U.S. Commercial Service, located in a foreign U.S.
embassy or consulate, would identify potential business partners, narrow the field to the most
promising, and arrange for meetings between them and the U.S. firm. The trade specialist
provided background information on each of the potential partners as well as preparing
customized market research and an industry briefing prior to the business meetings. In addition
to the Gold Key Matching Service program, RMCF also had increased its participation at foreign
franchise trade shows. The show costs were subsidized by the U.S. Department of Commerce as
Together, these strategies revealed several additional international expansion opportunities in
countries and regions such as India, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Taiwan, South Korea,
New Zealand, and Australia. Given the development of RMCF as a franchise operation with
Page 30
Journal of Case Studies
November 2014, Vol. 32, No. 2 p. 27-32
ISSN 2162-3171
entrepreneurs providing a bulk of the capital required for expansion, Bryan knew that the firm
must employ its limited financial resources cautiously.
Bryan also knew that the chocolate market in India had been booming and was, at that time,
primarily maintained by large multinational corporations using franchisees for new market
expansion (TechSci Research, 2013). A report from the market research firm Mintel Group
suggested that India was currently a fast-growing market for chocolate in the world, and
presented a tremendous untapped opportunity for Western chocolate companies (as cited in
Kavilanz, 2013). According to the report entitled India chocolate market forecast &
opportunities 2018 (TechSci Research, 2013), the Indian chocolate industry had shown a
phenomenal growth average of 15% for several years before 2009, and was expected to continue
to grow at more than 20% annually.
This untapped market opportunity did not go unnoticed by Asian chocolate makers such as
Royce’ Confect Co., Ltd. According to an internet-based business news called SankeiBiz
(“Hokkaidosan choko Indo de,” 2013), Royce’ Confect, a local confectionary company in
Northern Japan had earned a solid reputation, establishing itself in India by having located their
first Indian store in a high-end shopping mall in Mumbai. The company was doing extremely
well with their unique chocolates supported by young women and upper-middle class customers.
The Indian customers tended to love their chocolates even though their popular boxes of
chocolates cost more than $10, in contrast to Western chocolate firms, such as Nestle, who sold
similar sized boxes for less that $1.00.
The Decision Process
As the wind turned the storm into raging patterns of white and gray and he watched the shapeless
figures of snow hurl effortlessly across the sky. How similar to his whirlwind of expansion
activity he thought. His tea now cold with floating snowflakes, he knew that the only way to
make sense of the patterns was to have a plan. Bryan felt that he must approach expansion
cautiously and with a carefully outlined analysis process-a deliberate plan. As he stepped through
the door and out of the raging storm, he decided that he would first gather information on the
economic, cultural, and political aspects of an Indian expansion, compare that data to other
market opportunities, and use this process to drive the increasingly important expansion efforts
of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory into the future.
Hokkaido san choko: Indo de hyo-ban jou jou [Chocolates made in Hokkaido are very popular in
India]. (2013, October 8). SankeiBiz. Retrieved from
Kavilanz, P. (2013, February 22). India’s new craving for luxury chocolate. CNN Money.
Retrieved from the Cable News Network website:
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Inc. (2012, May 24). Annual report. Retrieved from
Page 31
Journal of Case Studies
November 2014, Vol. 32, No. 2 p. 27-32
ISSN 2162-3171
TechSci Research. (2013). India chocolates market expected to cross US$ 3.2 billion by 2018.
Retrieved from http://www.techsciresearch.com/2114
United States Department of Commerce. (n. d.). Gold Key Matching Service. Retrieved from the
Export.gov website: http://export.gov/salesandmarketing/eg_main_018195.asp
Page 32
Copyright of Journal of Case Studies is the property of Society for Case Research and its
content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the
copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email
articles for individual use.

Purchase answer to see full

error: Content is protected !!