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On December 14, 2015, Manju commented on Sweetgreen: Live the Sweetlife :

Great post, Brian! I went to Sweetgreen this Saturday for the first time, and had a great experience.
It seems like the speed of their growth is a key discussion topic on this post. I am curious to learn that they think franchising would make them have less control over the company’s core values and business model. I have worked with a few franchise-model companies and have learned that if the model is well designed, the franchisor can have a lot of control on how the franchisees manage the business and its operations. I wonder how Sweetgreen would do if they explored growing through franchises.
Do you see any other challenge for the company if they decide to start adopting a franchise model?

On December 14, 2015, Manju commented on Trader Joe’s: Food for Thought :

Great write-up! You translated the feeling I have whenever going into a Trader Joe’s: easy and quick to navigate, with few high quality options that satisfy the consumer. I think that having its store brand is a key advantage for the company’s growth, because it is a great way to manage its margins.
I would be interested to learn, from an operational/supply chain point of view, how the direct relationship with its manufacturers works and if it would make sense for the company to bring manufacturing inhouse as a part of its growth strategy.

On December 13, 2015, Manju commented on Hampton Creek – Food Innovation Through Technology :

Great write-up!
I have been interested in Hampton Creek for a while, and following news related to the company has been interesting. They seem to brand themselves as a truly food-tech company, but there seems to be claims from former employees that the company does not employ nearly as much science and research as it claims, and that the products that are in the market have not really been fully tested to guarantee safety and quality (I’ve read of issues of their mayo going bad when used with seafood and that their shelf live is actually shorter than they market it – mainly because they didn’t do all the necessary testing to understand how product behaves long-term).
I would like to see how the company unfolds long-term-wise given these claims, and how it will brand itself when its product offering grows and more R&D is needed to develop alternative food products.

On December 13, 2015, Manju commented on GNC – Supplementation Gone Wrong :

Thank you for the post, it was really interesting.
It was curious to read what they consider is the differential for GNC in having brick and mortar stores, since they don’t actually have a huge sales experience differential. Whenever I go to GNC I don’t feel that the sales staff has the information I need to help me make a good purchase decision based on my needs. They state in the business model that they give “helpful advice in identifying the correct supplements that fit their needs”, but I feel that if they had a stronger online presence they would deliver better information with customer reviews than the current in-store experience they provide – as your write-up states!
My only question in switching the retailing channel would be how to best compete with their own brand vs. current supplement market leaders. I feel that once you are in the store it is easier to be persuaded to buy something branded by GNC, but online the draw would not be the same.

On December 13, 2015, Manju commented on PICARD, French gastronomy everyday for everyone! :

JC, I was extremely interested in the business and operational model of Picard. It seems like they have strong control of the supply chain, which creates a strong competitive advantage for growth and development of new branches.
One question that I had while reading is if this business would be scalable to have products be sold in third-party grocery stores. There are many restaurants and consumer brands that sell their products to supermarkets under their brand, which is a great way to both grow the brand recognition and sales footprint.
Given they wouldn’t have full control of the supply chain when selling to third-party vendors, do you think this could be an avenue they would be willing to explore/be part of? If so, how would they tackle the challenges of expanding their business model?