Karatu coffee company in Tanzania: What strategy next?

Manuel Siegrist, Gary Bowman, Colette Southam, Paul W. Beamish

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticleEducation


In 2018, the founder and owner of the Karatu Coffee Company needed to decide what to do next with his company. He was considering several options: increasing the tourism part of the business, growing the original farm, pursuing a property development project in the capital city, or simply selling out and walking away. The company, located in Tanzania, began as a coffee farm, expanded into tourism with a remote, idyllic coffee lodge, and then brought coffee and tourism together with a bustling inner-city coffee house, which also housed a boutique hotel. The final phase of expansion included the purchase of high-quality coffee equipment and highly-prized roasting facilities to capture a larger share of the coffee value chain. The owner's decision would require insights into both the coffee industry and Tanzania itself.

Learning Objective:

The case is best suited to international business and strategic management courses. The role of the emerging economy and the limited scope of the company lend themselves to early use in undergraduate- and graduate-level courses. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- undertake a strategic assessment of the alternatives facing a mature small- or medium-sized enterprise;
- understand the coffee industry value chain and its vertical integration;
- learn about doing business in an emerging economy; and
- undertake a risk assessment at the country and industry levels.

On a late summer evening in 2018, Peter Fischer sat in the Karatu Kahawa Lodge in the Arusha region of northern Tanzania, sipping on a cappuccino. As the sun drifted beyond the Great Rift Valley, he pondered the future of his business, the Karatu Coffee Company (KCC): “I have spent half my life working on getting this company to where it is today. Finally, I can see some results, and I can harvest what I have sowed. The company is well established and financially sound. As I approach retirement age, the big unanswered question remains—what should I do next?”
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Specialist publicationIvey Publishing [Case Studies]
PublisherIvey Publishing
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020


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