Business Essentials Simulation
BizCafe provides undergraduate students an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of business by running a simple start-up enterprise.
With BizCafe, students experience the importance of the fundamentals of business by running a small, college-town coffee shop. As students progress through BizCafe, they will encounter the real world problems of managing personnel, marketing their product, and managing cash flow in the easy-to-understand context of a local coffee shop. Students learn business terminology and how to interpret business information as they develop an understanding of the key functional areas of a business at a basic level. BizCafe is an excellent complement to traditional teaching methods, allowing students to apply business concepts in a dynamic, integrative environment.
Groups of 2-4 students receive $25,000 from a local entrepreneur to start-up a coffee shop near a university in a good downtown location. They must hire servers, decide on a marketing plan, and purchase materials and equipment to make their shop a success. Challenges include keeping customers and employees happy, ordering the right amount of coffee and cups to meet demand, and attracting customers to their shop. Students learn the difference between cash-based and accrual accounting and must manage their cash flow and payroll accordingly.
To read the full copy of the case for the simulation, request a Faculty ID here!
Also available with BizCafe is a set of "incidents" (mini-cases) that occur one per period, thus challenging students to consider a variety of issues related to running a business. Each of the incidents has an outcome that will affect the student's performance in the simulation. These incidents cover the following topics (and corresponding functional areas):
- Insurance (operations) An opportunity to purchase a small business insurance policy.
- Customer Survey (operations) Select a method for receiving customer feedback.
- Staff Training (operations) Servers have been making mistakes and this should be corrected.
- Baked Goods (operations, strategy, financial) Adding baked gooods to the menu is now an option.
- Advertising (ethics, marketing) Do you want to advertise Fair Trade coffee?
- Green Upgrade (social responsibility, financial) Energy-efficient toilets and light bulbs are now available.
- Renovations (operations, financial) An opportunity to change the cafe's furniture.
- Live Entertainment (marketing, financial) Several opportunities to increase business are suggested.
- Problem Employee (human resources, ethics) An employee has chronic tardiness issues.
- Coffee Roaster (operations, strategy, financial) An opportunity to invest in a coffee roaster.
- Internet Cafe (marketing, strategy) Would providing WiFi be advantageous to the business?
- Unwanted Sexual Advance (ethics, human resources) A customer has upset one of the servers.
- Expansion Opportunity (operations, planning, strategy, financial) An opportunity to expand the shop into the space next door.
- New Supplier (operations, financial) An opportunity to switch to a new coffee supplier.
- Irate Customer (ethics, human resources) An irate customer is causing a scene in the coffee shop.
BizCafe is primarily designed for classes in business fundamentals. To that end, the simulation should help your students understand:
- How to manage staffing and operation of a service business (hiring, firing, budgeting)
- How to calculate their break-even involving multiple factors
- How to read basic financial statements
- The impact of marketing and promotion on the business
- The importance of customer satisfaction
With BizCafe, instructors have a comprehensive set of metrics (16 in total) to judge team performance. For full access to all performance measures, request a Faculty ID. In general, team performance can be judged by the following:
- Cumulative Revenue
- Cumulative Cups Sold Per Employee
- Cumulative Net Income
- Customer Satisfaction
- Brand Awareness
- And more!
Any of the 16 measures areas can be weighted and combined by the instructor to form an overall score to evaluate how their teams perform.
If you are an instructor and would like to review BizCafe for your class, please fill out our Faculty ID Request!
At a Glance
Direct and/or Benchmark Competition
Direct and/or Benchmark
Direct & Benchmark simulation allow your students to team-up and duke it out as separate companies within the same industry, or for each team of students to take on simulated competitors in their own industry.
- Introduction to Business
- Business Essentials
- Small Business Management
- Management: Whom should I hire? What should I pay them?
- Marketing: What price should I charge? How do people learn about my business?
- Operation: How much should I purchase? What equipment do I need?
- Accounting: How do I keep track of money? What is an income statement and balance sheet?