Natural Ice Cream: Professionalizing a Family Business
(9 pages of text)
In January 2018, the second-generation scion and director of Natural, an Indian ice cream family business, was preparing for a meeting with the general manager of the company’s retail operations. The company was founded by the director’s father in 1984 under the name Kamath Ourtimes Ice Cream Private Ltd. and was known for its handmade artisanal ice cream brand—Natural Ice Cream. Several years after his entry into the family business in 2009, the son insisted on professionalizing the company as a means of achieving a vision of growth, despite an increasingly competitive market. In 2014, almost 30 years after the company was established, the general manager was the first professional to be hired by the company. Although professionalization brought about an increase in sales of two and a half times during 2012–2018, the director was sensing a change in the culture of the company, which he found troubling. He wondered if he had grown the company too big, too fast in his haste to transform it into a high-growth enterprise.
This case can be taught in undergraduate or graduate courses on family dynamics and family issues, particularly in modules addressing the challenges of professionalizing a family business. It could also be taught in executive programs targeting business owners who may be facing some of the challenges discussed in the case. By working through the case and assignment questions, students will have the opportunity to do the following:
- Recognize the various dimensions of professionalization.
- Understand the need for the professionalization of a family business.
- Understand the key factors related to the professionalization of a family business.
- Identify which values promoted by a family business—as opposed to those promoted by a traditional business—are critical to the professionalization process
- Understand the challenges in professionalizing a family business.
Accommodation & Food Services
India, Large, 2018
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