Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Deborah Nattress


In the United States, over 50% of restaurants fail within the first 5 years of operations resulting in approximately $2.1 billion annually in lost national sales revenue. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the strategies used by owners of nonfranchise, casual dining restaurants to ensure sustainability longer than 5 years. The study was grounded in Porter's 5 forces framework as a lens for identifying effective strategies that promote restaurant sustainability. The data collection process comprised gathering data and information via semistructured interviews with 3 owners of nonfranchise, casual dining restaurants in the mid-Atlantic region who sustained their restaurants for longer than 5 years. Also, a review of archival records, including restaurant websites, newspaper advertisements, social media, and promotional documentation ensued. Member checking ensured the accuracy of participant responses in the data analysis process, and methodological triangulation was used to increase understanding and validity of data. Three themes emerged from data analysis: offering quality food and exceptional service, respecting and encouraging employees, and participating in day-to-day operations. The findings of this study promote positive social change by supporting local farmers, providing nutritious food to consumers, developing positive community relationships, and providing a safe place to socialize and meet friends.