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Read the conversation. What parts of a meeting structure do you find in it?
ALAN Ladies and gentlemen! Right, I'd like to welcome Signor Arturo
Foscatelli, our founder and president.
ARTURO Thank you! I have just completed a tour of our franchisees in the United
Kingdom and I must say I am very much encouraged by what I've seen.
ALAN That's good news, Mr Foscatelli, but I think I ought to tell you that some
of us here are not very happy about the way things are going.
ARTURO Perhaps that's because you have been looking at figures while I have been
talking to people. But I don't want to take up your time; please carry on.
ALAN Thank you. I'd now like to open up the meeting to questions and
discussion. Vikki, I think you had something you wanted to say?
VIKKI Yes. I'd like to have a second look at the sales chart that was distributed
at the start of this meeting.
IDA Sales chart?
VIKKI The sales gap analysis. Ida and her team used it to show that we ought to
spend more on advertising. Now, on this chart, I'd like to plot the money
that's been spent already. The scale on the y-axis will be different, of
course; we can read it in hundreds of thousands instead of millions. It's
the shape of the curve that I'm interested in.
NIGEL With respect, may I ask just what this exercise is supposed to achieve?
ALAN All in good time. Vikki?
VIKKI The advertising expenditure in 2006 was negligible, because the franchise
wasn't fully operational. In 2007 it was fifty thousand; 2008 – a hundred
and seventy thousand; 2009 – four hundred an ten thousand pounds.
NIGEL Hang on, what was 2009 again?
VIKKI Four-ten. Right. We can only get a whole-year figure for 2010 based on
the advertising department's proposals: their budget will amount to – four
hundred and ten thousand times one point eight five – nearly seven
hundred and sixty thousand. What happens after that, in 2011 and '12, is
anybody's guess. But let's join the dots and see what the curve looks like.
IDA Mr Chairman, and Mr Foscatelli, I really must protest. We didn't come
here today to play party games.
ARTURO Oh, I rather enjoy party games. Look at this line. It goes up even more
steeply than the sales forecast.
VIKKI Thank you! That's precisely my point. An eight-fold increase in
advertising over two years has produced less than two and a halftimes the
IDA And how do you suppose we got the extra revenue? An extra three
hundred and sixty thousand in advertising to bring in an increase in
turnover of one point six million! Or to put it another way, in 2008 our
advertising budget was ten point five per cent of total outgoings. In 2009
it rose to eighteen per cent.
IDA But – but, according to our 2010 figures, even with my proposed eighty-
five per cent increase, advertising will still only account for twenty per
cent of outgoings. Twenty per cent!
ALAN Ladies, ladies, please! Mr Foscatelli?
ARTURO All I wanted to say was that these 2010 figures are simply targets, and the
way we’re going I’m afraid we’re going to fall short of them. Figures are
valuable, statistics are valuable, but statistics, especially percentages, can
hide as much as they reveal. What matters to me is the bottom line.
NIGEL I’m very glad to hear you say that, sir. I was afraid we were going to lose
sight of it altogether.
VIKKI Oh please!
ARTURO A franchise network is only as good as its franchisees. I’ve just seen a
cross-section of our people and I am impressed. Our selection procedures
are obviously working well. It does seem to me, however, that on the
training side we are falling down somewhat.
IDA Forgive me for interrupting. Are we to take this as a motion of no
confidence in Franchise Development?
ALAN Hold on, Ida – don’t jump the gun.
ARTURO All the advertising in the world will not help our brand image if our
franchisees are not running their own businesses efficiently. The budget
that I would like to see rise sharply next year is that for education and
NIGEL How do you think the money should be spent?
VIKKI I really don’t think the president should be expected to answer a question
like that off the top of his head. I would like to point out, however, that
my remarks at the beginning of this meeting echo what Mr Foscatelli has
IDA It can’t be easy echoing something that hasn’t been said yet!
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