Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Susan Fan


The restaurant industry is the second largest employer in the United States; however, only 33% of restaurant owners sustain profits longer than the first 5 years from inception. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore marketing strategies that owners of small business restaurants use to sustain profitability for longer than the initial 5 years. Aaker's brand equity model was the conceptual framework used to ground this study. Purposeful criterion sampling was used for the study. Participants included 3 owners of small restaurants operating in the southern United States. Data analysis involved using Yin's 5-step data analysis process to identify and code themes. Analysis included data compilation, data disassembly, data reassembly, data interpretation, and data conclusion. Three themes emerged from the analysis of data: social media, word of mouth, and brand differentiation. The implications of this study for positive social change include business development opportunities, opening resource centers for training programs, and free webinars associated with marketing and brand equity strategies. Communities, organizations, and new entrepreneurs may benefit from the increase of social resources, community economic growth, and expanded employment opportunities.

Included in

Business Commons