Case Studies

At Big River we are proud of our business portfolio, we believe that it demonstrates the breadth and depth of our work.  We also believe in the confidentiality of our clients.

Below is a small sampling of our work. Please contact us to be put in contact with executives who can serve as references for our work.

  • Rapid Acquisition Assessment – Portfolio Company and its Private Equity Firm

    Prior to closing on the planned acquisition of an up-and-coming restaurant chain, the private equity firm required its portfolio company to obtain an independent review and opinion of the acquisition.

    Big River was hired to conduct the independent review and present a recommendation prior to the closing.  Leaving only 45 days, to cover a broad scope of work.  We conducted a Big River Rapid Acquisition Assessment with focus on concept, brand personality, customer intercepts, market research, menu strategy, operations systems & procedures, financials, the physical assets and management team.

    Despite the need to cover restaurants in several states in an extremely short time period, Big River completed the rapid assessment, drafted a final report and presented recommendations on time.  Both the private equity firm and their portfolio company were highly satisfied with our findings.

  • Interim Executive Director, Startup and Brand Rejuvenation – Member Association

    As a result of a lawsuit, a major restaurant chain with 2,000 franchisees, 3,000 units nationally and one billion dollars sales, was required to fund a member association that would objectively improve communication and collaboration.  This was considered a necessity for major brand rejuvenation.

    Big River was hired by a group of senior franchisees to lead formation and startup of the member association. Big River’s own Steve Bawden was engaged as interim Executive Director, to provide direction, oversight and transparency in communications.

    Having previous experience repositioning and re-launching national chain concepts, Steve was invited by the restaurant company to participate in analyzing the research, and providing insights on integrated marketing communications strategies to rejuvenate the brand.

  • Corporate Development, Strategic Plan and Interim Executive – Renewable Energy

    A leading biomass company serving global renewable energy markets had the vision and opportunity to pursue significant growth.

    Big River was hired to provide corporate development services, starting with a planning process, resulting in a new strategic plan; and evolving into one of our principals engaged as interim executive. As interim Chief Operating Officer, Big River’s own Eric Sigurdson was responsible for plant operations, as well as assessing overall corporate capability, and recommending steps necessary to prepare the company for growth.

    This interim executive position was necessary to provide more leadership to the management of the company, and to free the President in particular to be able to secure venture partners and new long-term supply contracts with major international energy companies.

  • All Things D; the development of digital products, a mobile appConsumer Engagement

    A large investment group had a Board member/partner concept and develop a smart phone mobile app that would help consumers as they “go to retail.” (providing locations, offers, deals, coupons, rewards,  etc.)

    Big River was hired to validate, optimize, and help develop and define specifics needed for the app to have value to both the local retail merchant and the consumer. Big River’s insight and experience in the foodservice/multi unit retail space would also prove beneficial when launching to this target in the specified beta DMA community.

    As interim Chief Marketing officer, Steve Bawden was responsible for phase 1 consumer research to validate to the investment group, interview and hire a Digital Agency of record (approx five firms provided “request for proposal”…predominantly Midwest firms)  Research was then done to determine and specify the ideal launch community for a October/November 2013 test market.

    Bawden was also responsible for hiring an integrated marketing and promotions firm to develop the plan, brand the app, manage “feet on the ground” promotional launch, staff, educate in-bound telemarketing help-desk support, develop the placement of a multi media strategy (part traditional, interactive, digital and social) to promote and grow brand awareness.

    As of this publication, the app is “in pivot” to re-evaluate and develop enhancements and improvements coming from the beta test market findings.

    The 2.0 mobile app will be back in market, positioned to regional multi-unit operators (mid- market) needing a push notification vehicle to communicate tactics in their local trading area and to add legs and support the brands national marketing calendar goals and objectives.

  • Interim President, Concept Development and Operations – Restaurant & Sports Concepts

    A large investment company won a competitive bid to acquire a group of racetracks and off-track betting clubs.  As part of the bid, the company was required to invest $200 million to modernize the facilities, and in partnership with the lottery agency, share substantial revenues from newly developed adjacent VLT gaming halls.

    Additionally, the company wished to develop a new sports bar and restaurant concept that would attract younger clientele, both for operation at the racetracks and at freestanding locations elsewhere.

    Big River was hired and Big River’s own Eric Sigurdson served as interim President, responsible for concept development, construction, startup and operations of a 500 seat sports bar, trackside restaurant and VIP club, and other food & beverage venues, as part of the $75 million redevelopment of the first of four major racing, gaming and entertainment complexes.

  • Assessment, Interim Executive and Sale of the Business – Specialty Advertising Firm

    A well-established specialty-advertising firm needed a revised business plan and new marketing strategy to improve its financial situation, largely as a result of the untimely death of one of the owners.

    Big River performed a rapid assessment of the business, with reference to industry research, and Big River’s own Steve Bawden agreed to step in as interim executive to provide necessary leadership. Although the firm enjoyed significant goodwill and brand awareness, stronger competitors had gained an advantage selling E-commerce, requiring considerable competitive capital investment to reemerge as an industry leader.

    The rapid assessment brought to light a variety of market, business and family considerations that led to the decision to sell.  Big River helped to draw major interest in the company through its presentation of the business resulting in three offers.  Steve helped secure the sale of the company and led a smooth transition to new ownership.

  • Direct to Consumer Marketing, Creating a New Revenue Stream – Consumer Products

    A subsidiary of a $750 million sales company was successful selling a variety of products to the hospitality industry through its Business-to-Business sales strategy. As a result of enjoying products during their hotel stays, consumers were contacting the hospitality company to purchase the products they discovered during their stay.

    Big River was hired to assess the Business-to-Consumer opportunity and to create a strategy to capture this market. After research and analysis, Big River recommended establishment of a new business unit to focus on selling directly to consumers, and not be distracted from the core hospitality business.

    DRTV was chosen as the best way to quickly gauge product appeal through direct communication with the customer, to be followed by social media strategies and sales through major retailers.