Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


Tim Truitt


Only 65% of new restaurants remain in business after the first three years of operations. Leaders of small restaurants who lack strategies to ensure sustainability witness significant financial losses in their organizations. Grounded in the general systems theory, the purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore the strategies small restaurant owners use to sustain their business beyond three years. A purposeful sampling of three small restaurant owners in Washington County, TN, who successfully used strategies to ensure sustainability beyond three years participated in this study. Data were collected from semistructured interviews, financial documents, and public websites and analyzed using thematic analysis. Three major themes emerged from data: customer service and relationships, product quality and consistency, and promotion and marketing. A key recommendation is for leaders to adopt a customer-centric approach to balance cost management to achieving long-term sustainability. The implications for social change include the potential for small restaurant owners to reduce employee turnover and unemployment levels and positively affect their communities by contributing to increased local spending and economic growth.