Free «Baldrige Landmark Case Study» Essay Sample


Landmark Dining Inc. is a small business organization that is owned and run by one family. This means that the company’s leadership is comprised more of people who are entitled rather than those who have earned the position. This becomes a challenge in the way the company is structured and how decisions are made. The presence of an advisory board should make things easier and instill accountability within the organization, but this advisory board needs to be well-defined in composition as well as mandate. The Baldrige performance excellence framework is supposed to evaluate all the important components of the organization at hand in order to establish any potential loopholes that could hinder the company’s performance excellence. In this case, it is important to note that the Landmark case presents a unique notion of inadequacies that could be attributed to the company’s ownership model and small size. The findings as discussed below indicate the company’s successes, but the limitations or opportunities for improvement are the issues that must be addressed to by the leadership.



Despite being a family-owned and -operated business, Landmark Dining Inc. has an impressive organizational governance structure with a balanced board of directors as well as an advisory board that comprises of numerous professionals in the valid fields of expertise. Therefore, other than being particularly informal in its operational foundation, Landmark Dining Inc. has taken on a very solid governance structure that ensures accountability amongst the leaders despite being family members. This system of checks and balances with an external perspective incorporated in the advisory board ensures that the organization remains on the right track with respect to their business processes and transactions (Evan, 2016). In terms of corporate governance, it can be appreciated that the organization is very well structured for transparency owing to the fact that all the members of the board of directors are considered accountable to the rest of the board. Senior leaders within the organization are particularly effective in providing directions and offering general insight into how the sustainable business should be operated.

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Strategic Planning

Under the strategic planning component, it can be appreciated that the company’s strategy development and deployment include not just the company’s management but also its suppliers in an advisory capacity. This is a commendable concept that implies the Landmark Dining Inc’s basing on strategic planning of a complete view of the circumstances surrounding the company. The strategy development and deployment components are thus very inclusive, and they allow the company to formulate strategies that are not only practical but also well received by the company’s stakeholders (Peterson, Galvin, & Lange, 2012). The participation of the suppliers can be seen as a part of the company’s strategy to be close to the stakeholders for better performance in the end.

Customer and Market Focus

This company is particularly keen with respect to its customer and market knowledge. The managers use listen-and-learn method named “the voices system” to gather all the relevant information in what their clients would like and what areas would need improvement. Also, the company is positioned within the market using a number of applicable parameters including price range and customer expectations in terms of what and how to serve. Listening to the customers is one of the best practice approaches within the restaurant industry. Thus, it makes Landmark Dining Inc. one of the best in the industry. The voices system also opens up the market significantly, enabling the company to understand customers and build relevant working relationships with them, thus ensuring customer satisfaction.

Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management

The measurement, analysis, and review of organizational performance functions within the organization are considerably sound. The company uses its strategic planning process to identify the kind of metrics to use, thus determining the kind of information that is to be collected for the measurement and analysis components. The company’s information system is also integrated under Foodtrak. In turn, it enables the collection of information within a specified database for an easy access and accuracy in analysis. This component is further embedded in the company’s value creation processes, thus allowing for improved performance in general. As for knowledge management, it can be appreciated that all the company’s employees have access to the Foodtrak database, and, consequently, they can access any required information easily from the various gadgets within the organization. This implies that there is an integrated system of information storage and sharing that creates an organizational learning pool and enables knowledge management. The challenge, however, comes in with respect to training and mentoring applied within the company. While there are individuals who have been working in the organization for more than ten years, there are also those who do not stay there for more than two years. During job trainings and mentorship programs, it would be more effective for the knowledge management component to consider that the company already has a knowledge database (Blazey, 2015).

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Human Resource Focus

The work systems at Landmark Dining Inc. are employee centric, where a part of the company’s strategy to reduce turnover revolves around its ability to support personal and career growth amongst the employees. Thus, the work systems are more focused on the people and not just on the tasks. The employee’s learning and motivation aspects, on the other hand, are fostered through the empowerment and engagement of the employees within the teams and the company as a whole. Employees’ engagement is widely employed as the company’s key strategy towards ensuring their well-being and satisfaction as the management focuses on creating a family more than a workforce. Like in the rest of restaurant industry, the turnover rates of the company are relatively high as most of the employees are in transition either in terms of their careers or from school. The company has a long way to go in creating a sustainable workforce for their competitive advantage. Recruiting and training new staff is a considerably expensive venture for the organization. In relation to the cross-process and cross-restaurant interactions, the company is doing really well to capitalize on diversity and enrich overall experiences of the organization with respect to their business processes.

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Process Management

This company bases their definition of value on the customer’s perspective. Being in the service industry, this is a very commendable and effective practice that enables the organization to perform well even in a crowded market. The company’s value creation processes depend on what the customers need or value and what they would like the company to focus on. This, together with the lean approach and mapping activities, enables the company to come up with the most effective and efficient process systems that focus on activities that have an impact on the company’s bottom line. This means that the company’s business processes are effectively aligned with profitability and other organizational goals and objectives including customer satisfaction and employees’ wellbeing. The company, however, does not involve the employees enough when it comes to operational planning and other supporting processes. The focus on the customers takes away the significance of the employees’ participation in the process management component.

Business Results

Among other components, the company has an impressive practice of sampling food and monitoring cooking time for each shift in order to ensure that they are up to date with the set standards within the organization and in the industry as a whole. The focus on the product and service outcomes is particularly fulfilling within Landmark Dining Inc. The customer satisfaction surveys also show that the organization pays attention to their customers by seeking for feedbacks in order to monitor how customers feel about the products and services that they get at the establishment. In order to measure their performance, Landmark Dining Inc. uses the gross profit per dining seat. This offers the company a rather accurate outlook on the way they are performing based on how much each of their customers is contributing to their gross profits. This allows for precise monitoring on the contribution of various aspects to the company’s bottom line. Further, it includes the most profitable meal courses and how the customers feel about them. The company’s focus on their financial and market results are thus very interesting and fulfilling. On the human resource results however, the company’s focus is on the growth and development of their employees as measured in terms of the number of in-house promotions into salaried as well as hourly positions within the organization. The company concentrates on promoting the employees based on merit, thus encouraging them to improve in value for reaching the threshold for promotion when the job positions open up. The priority given to employees when there is a job vacancy acts as a motivation towards career, personal growth, and development. The results are seen in the pace with which the company’s employees develop their careers. Moreover, while most of them may not be promoted since there are limited positions for promotion, they end up increasing their value in the labor market, and they also get to appreciate their work based on the growth opportunities that they get there. Thus, the organizational effectiveness results indicate that the company pays attention to the productivity of each employee through relevant calculations like number of meals served per chef, revenue per employee, and cost per employee among others. All these measures allow the company to narrow down the performance of the organization to the basics, thus tracing profitable aspects while highlighting the problematic areas for rectification. Generally, the company asks all the right questions in its performance measures, and, ideally, they act relatively well despite the fluctuations in seasons as defined by the economy. The leadership and social responsibility results indicate that the company has been complying with the set standards in health and food safety. The company is also very responsible in the community as they offer food to the homeless on Thanksgiving and Christmas as a part of the responsible citizenship program. Recruiting people with developmental disabilities as a way of giving them a chance to better and normal life also places the company amongst the most responsible organizations in society.

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Core Improvement Opportunities


Other than the fact that the company is owned and operated by the family and that they have a tendency to promote executives from within, there is no solid succession plan that could be considered as sustainable and transparent. The board of directors is responsible for the important appointments within the organization, but the role of the advisory board on this subject remains unclear. The company needs to come up with a sustainable succession plan that involves defining qualifications for senior leadership positions and involving the advisory board in the process. In addition, the company needs a comprehensive approach for the selection and application of the advisory board in a way that improves the leadership’s accountability. Currently, the company cannot justify its choices of members of the advisory board, and, in some way, this indicates the possibility that the board only comprises of people who are likely to support the choices and decisions of the current leaders rather than offering insights and demanding accountability within the organization’s leadership. This has to change if the company wants to initiate a successful leadership style that will guide the firm in future.

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Clear definitions in the advisory board selection criteria as well as roles and responsibilities are mandatory if the board is to play its part in the company (Evans & Lindsay, 2016).

Strategic Planning

The whole point of having a strategy mix is to steer the company towards its set goals and objectives. In this case, the strategy challenges have to be answered in the strategy objectives as a part of the aligning process for impressive organizational results. However, the strategy objectives at Landmark Dining Inc. do not deal with the highlighted strategy challenges within the organization. The strategy objectives here also fail to address long- and short-term opportunities as well as challenges that the family has. The company needs to step up on the strategic planning and formulate strategy objectives that are clearly aimed at settling their challenges. Next, the company should have a defined approach towards both the present and the future.

Customer and Market Focus

The company has done a great job in identifying its various customer segments in the market, but it is not clear whether this information is being put to use in any way within business processes. The needs and expectations of the customers do not seem to influence any of the company’s activities including the improvement of customer satisfaction and prediction of changes in the market. The company needs to find a way of using the information that they are collecting especially considering that the information gathering is costly and must thus be justified.

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Measurement, Analysis, and Knowledge Management

It is not clear how this company uses the information from the organizational reviews to improve the overall performance of the employees. The company is rather thorough in the measurement and analysis, but there is no indication that its workers actually apply the knowledge to make the organization better. The changing needs and expectations within the organization are to be addressed, and this should be based on the outcomes of the organizational reviews. This means that the management at Landmark Dining Inc. should consider systematic process for using the results of the organizational reviews to define the strategies of the organization.

Human Resource Focus

The work systems approach at Landmark Dining Inc. does not provide mechanisms for employee retention. The company has focused so much on recruitment and training that they are not paying any attention to that element. For a company in service industry, employee retention is pivotal (Maritz, Pretorius, & Plant, 2011). This means that the company should come up with a definitive approach for ensuring that it retain the best employees as well. Hiring and training the best people is only as good as the company’s ability to retain them in the long term.

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Process Management

Numerous pre-audits and daily observations at the company seem economical and effective, but they are really expensive. Currently, Landmark Dining Inc. does not seem to realize that more resources are being spent for numerous pre-audits. It would be a better concept to incorporate these activities into the mainstream business processes as a way of cutting costs without compromising the quality of products and services at the company. Currently, the process audits and monitoring aspects are only adding to the company’s expenses with no definitive impact on the bottom line.

Business Results

For a company with both hourly paid and salaried workers, the diversity should also include other categories rather than focusing on ethnic, gender, and age differences in the diversity management component. Analyzing the performance of the employees in terms of their uniqueness should also involve considering whether the hourly paid employees are working harder or more efficiently than their salaried counterparts or vice versa (Luthans & Doh, 2011). Generally, the organization has to redefine its demarcations of diversity in order to include the fact that some workers are salaried while others are on hourly terms. This consideration will provide more accurate business results when calculating productivity in the organization and seeking for improvements.

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The Baldrige framework for performance excellence is a specialized framework that enables a thorough assessment of an organization with respect to its performance excellence. The leadership concept in this framework evaluates how the organization is led with a special focus on how the senior leadership is structured and how the organization is governed. The social responsibilities undertaken within the organization also become a point of concern in this context. For Landmark Dining Inc., the leadership aspect is built around the family concept considering that the company is family-owned. The owners, however, lack a clear succession plan for promoting and developing leaders based on merit. Next, strategic planning focuses on strategy development and deployment as applicable within the organization. At Landmark, the strategy objectives are not aligned with strategy challenges, thus leaving the company without an effective strategic plan.

The third pillar in the framework is customer market and focus. It evaluates the company in terms of the knowledge of the customers and the market as well as the efforts towards customer relationships and satisfaction. The leadership at Landmark also does not specify how the collected information on customer segments is used to improve satisfaction and loyalty among customers. In the fourth pillar, measurement, analysis, and knowledge management within the organization are the aspects under scrutiny. The framework assesses the company with respect to the measurement, analysis, and review of performance as well as information and knowledge management as applied within the organization. The company researchers specifically conduct a lot of measurement and analyses, but they do not indicate how the collected information is used to make the organization better.

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The fifth category focuses on the human resources within the organization. The main evaluation here is the company’s work systems, its efforts towards employee learning and motivation as well as employee wellbeing and satisfaction. Furthermore, it can be noted that the company does not focus on employee retention as much as it should, thus leaving itself with a high employee turnover rate. The process management in terms of the sixth category is where the framework emphasizes on the need to evaluate the organization with respect to its value creation processes, operational planning, and support processes. Landmark does a lot of pre-audits and daily observations that come at a hefty cost for the organization. The leadership needs to find a way to embed these pre-audits and observations into the mainstream business processes in order to cut the costs and ensure effectiveness without compromising business operations or profitability.

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