Wawa

Case Study Trailer

Gaga for Wawa: Blue Ocean Retailing

Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, OLENICK, Michael

Summary:

Customers are gaga for Wawa, the restaurant / convenience store / gas station that inspires people to tattoo the firm’s logo. Founded in 1803, the company morphed over time from an iron foundry to a textile mill, to a dairy farm, dairy delivery business, grocery store, then convenience store. Dark clouds descended with the 2008 financial crisis. As competitors converged on Wawa, management recognized the need for a new direction. After the CEO asked his executives to review a selection of business books, they chose Blue Ocean Strategy to redefine industry boundaries, shifting away from the red ocean of competition to a blue ocean of differentiation and low cost. By 2017 Wawa was the 34th largest private company in the US, with 625 million customers and sales of $10.5 billion. It serves 222 million cups of coffee a year and 105 million hoagie sandwiches. Where the average 7-Eleven convenience store grosses $30,000-$35,000 per week, Wawa averages $116,000. It used Blue Ocean Shift to achieve breakout success and thrive for a decade after its strategic pivot.

Case Study
Teaching Note

Teaching Materials

Blue ocean pedagogical materials, used in over 2,800 universities and in almost every country in the world, go beyond the standard case-based method. Our multimedia cases and interactive exercises are designed to help you build a deeper​ understanding of key blue ocean strategy concepts, developed by world-renowned professors W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.
Materials available from Harvard Business Publishing
Blue Ocean Shift | Strategy materials available
from The Case Centre
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