The case recounts the dilemma faced by Donnie Boyd, the owner of a small barber shop in downtown Toronto in the second quarter of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic had spread throughout the world but its consequences were only partially known in mid-2020. The first wave of the virus had almost run its course in Canada but people feared (correctly so, as it happens) that subsequent waves would strike, further devastating the economy and specifically small businesses such as Boyd’s Barber Shop.

Teaching objectives

In assessing alternative strategies for Boyd’s Barber Shop, the case is designed to facilitate discussion and learning in three key areas: crisis management, decision making under uncertainty, and risk management in a principal-agent context.

  • Pandemic
  • Crisis Management
  • Principal-Agent
  • Contracting
  • Uncertainty
  • Risk Aversion
  • Commission Contracts
  • Service Industry
  • Government Restrictions
  • Risk management
  • Q22023