Beard Food Company A-B

Babson Professor Leonard Green, Case Director

Edward Barrows, Jennifer Clark, and Patrick Dunn, Case Writers

Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship

© Babson College, 2001.


A family owned and operated manufacturing firm is faced with the issue of succession as the father/owner decides to retire after twenty years at the helm. The food manufacturer saw its best days during World War Two when it provided packaged meals to the U.S. Army. Since then, the company’s management, machinery and products have grown older together, with the expected results—declining revenues and profits. The retiring owner’s son, Joe, an entrepreneur, and daughter-in-law, Bev are faced with the choice of selling the company or attempting to reinvent it and catch up with the marketplace. The company possesses a well-respected brand name that could have significant value. Thorough reviews of both options are discussed in the case along with accompanying financials. Also, the sometimes-strained relationships between family members involved with a business are discussed at length.

Location of the company: New Jersey

Years spanned by the case: 1945 to 1972

Industry segments: Food, manufacturing

Stage of the company: Decline

Age of the entrepreneur: N.A.

Key Words: Family business, entrepreneur, harvesting, manufacturing, succession, food, brand


There is no DVD available for this case.

Teaching Notes

A two page case teaching package for both parts A and B, written by Len Green, is available for this case. The teaching package includes strategies for case presentation, key concepts, solutions to the assignment questions in the case, and suggestions for the most effective ways to work this case into a course.