Coles College of Business 2020-2021 Projects

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  •  2020-2021 First-Year Scholar: Shinya Ross, business management

    • What are the Drivers of Financial Performance of Franchising Restaurant Companies?

      Franchising is a prominent business form particularly in the restaurant industry where icons such as McDonalds and Subway have more than 30,000 outlets/stores across the globe. Franchising generates approximately 8 million jobs across more than 3,400 franchise brands in the United States (Franchise Direct, 2019). The success of franchising led to a steady stream of studies in several disciplines such as marketing, management, entrepreneurship and hospitality management. Past studies argue that consequences of franchising such as financial performance need further research attention because of inconclusive results or varying theoretical arguments such as agency, resource scarcity and institutional theory (Combs et al., 2011). Empirically, this is an area of inquiry that is challenged by two issues:

      1. Studies on franchising financial performance in the restaurant industry use publicly traded firms that may not represent the true population of restaurant franchisors (Combs et al., 2004). At any given year, there are approximately 60 public restaurant franchising firms that represent about 100 brands/chains. Whereas, as per Bond's Guide of Franchising there are more than 1,900 foodservice franchisors in the United States.
      2. Studies that use chain-level information from proprietary data providers tend to lack financial performance measure such as return on investment (ROI).

      Therefore, the present project is motivated to overcome these two constraints by utilizing unique data to build a dataset that would include more than 250 foodservice and restaurant chains that have financial data such as sales, total investment required (per store), current assets, total assets etc. The objective of the study is to explain how agency cost and quality signaling considerations influence company/chain financial performance.

      The specific research questions can be stated as follows:

      1. Is a higher franchise fee related to higher financial performance (i.e., ROI)?
      2. Does higher geographic dispersion (having stores in higher number of US states) improve financial performance?
      3. Is franchising experience (i.e., number of years franchising) positively related to financial performance?
      4. Is signaling chain/brand quality, through membership in International Franchising Association (IFA), positively related to firm performance?
      5. Does franchising proportion (number of franchised outlets to total outlets) strengthen (i.e., moderate) the relationships mentioned above?

      To answer these questions, data for approximately 250 to 300 restaurant franchise brands will be obtained from Franchising World (formerly Bond's Guide of Franchising). The performance data for all chains for the 5-year period between 2014 and 2018 will be hand-collected from company documents provided by Franchising World and entered into the dataset. Once data is entered, it will be merged with existing data such as company name, number of stores, number of U.S. states, franchise fee etc. Next, statistical analyses will be conducted to answer research questions and results will be written up.

      • The scholar will learn about franchising in general and in the context of restaurant industry. He/she will also grasp factors that lead to financial and non-financial company performance among franchising brands/chains.
      • The selected first-year scholar will be exposed to several steps of scholarly research such as refining research questions, conducting literature review of past studies, data entry and coding, basic and advanced statistical analysis, reporting of the findings, and writing conclusions and recommendations. The scholar will learn how to collect and code data, cite sources and prepare tables and figures for presentation and publication.
      • The scholar can present the findings of this project study at internal and external undergraduate conferences. The practical version of the research study can be published in undergraduate research journals such as Kennesaw Journal of Undergraduate Research or other regional or national-level publications.
    • There will be weekly meetings with the student where tasks and the overall progress of the project will be discussed. The student's weekly tasks may vary depending on the stage of the project. The breakdown of overall duties is follows:

      1. Review company documents and manually enter firm performance data in a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel. This task is expected to constitute 40% of the project.
      2. To prevent repetition and boredom, the student can also enter additional data for a select group of restaurant franchising companies that is of interest to him/her. About 10% of the project time will be devoted to data and topic exploration.
      3. The student will be also trained how to conduct basic statistical analysis in Excel. He/she will help with preparing tables and figures that will be used in presenting the research paper at academic conferences and/or submitted to academic journals. These tasks would make up approximately 20% of the project.
      4. The first-year scholar will learn how to use a reference manager software such as Zotero where he/she will build a bibliography of relevant studies. In addition, the scholar will be inserting the citations into the research paper. This task should account for another 30% of the project.
  • 2020-2021 First-Year Scholar: Janasia Bracy, international business

    • The Value of International Brands and How to Build Them

      We are diving deep into the value of international brands and what determines a strong international brand. We are creating a large dataset from multiple secondary resources including the Brands 500 report and Statistica. The dataset will be used for multiple research papers alternatively using International Brand Strength as a dependent (outcome) and independent measure.

    • Learn how to compile a research dataset from multiple sources and format it suitable for use in statistical analysis. They will also be involved in the analysis and writing of one research paper subject to time constraints. Will ultimately learn how to compile data from primary and secondary resources, analyze this data, and write a research paper.

    • Initially, they will be importing data from various identified data sources. Finding additional data sources to fill any gaps. Formatting data suitable for use in statistical analysis.

      Once dataset is compiled, they will do guided statistical analysis with the help of the researcher. Writing draft of one research paper.


  • 2020-2021 First-Year Scholar: Yuanming Luo, mathematics

    • COVID-19 Economical Impact on Undergraduate Students

      The students will collect data about how fellow students were impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. They will develop a survey, validate it, and utilize it to collect data. The study will be an empirical study.

    • The student will:

      1. Learn how to establish a survey and validate it
      2. Learn sampling methods
      3. Learn data collection
      4. Learn data analysis and conclude with findings
      5. Learn how to submit their research for publication
      • Initial meeting
      • Weekly meeting on progress