from APT's Restaurant Practice

Restaurant same-store sales increased 3.3% in August 2014 compared to August 2013, with check size up 3.2% and transactions up 0.2%, according to data from the APT Index. Areas that performed better included those where unemployment decreased and where median income is less than $50K. Click here to view the top and bottom performing cities.

APT Index Reports Restaurant Transactions Down 1.5% in Q2

September 17th, 2014 | Posted by Mckenzie Harper in Uncategorized - (Comments Off)

Restaurants continued to struggle to drive traffic in Q2 2014, according to data from the APT Index. The APT Index showed that same-store restaurant transactions were down 1.5% from the second quarter in 2013, while same-store sales were up 0.8% and check size was up 2.4%. The APT Index, generated based on actual sales data from tens of thousands of restaurant locations, provides additional insight into restaurant sales performance, showing that the five worst performing states were in the Northeast. These states were New Jersey [-4.6%], New York [-2.9%], New Hampshire [-2.6%], Connecticut [-2.3%], and Pennsylvania [-1.0%]. We can break these comps down further to understand how performance varies by local market characteristics. In areas where temperature increased in Q2 2014 versus Q2 2013, the APT Index reported that same-store sales increased 1.1%, whereas sales were up only 0.4% in areas where temperature decreased. Additionally, the Index showed that areas where median income was less than $50K had a 2.0% sales increase, while areas where median income was $50K or greater had a sales decrease of 0.2%. With specific data points like these, at the national level and for each specific restaurant, executives can begin to understand their “true comps” after accounting for uncontrollable factors in the surrounding environment.

Restaurant Guests Spend Over $1 Billion More this July

August 12th, 2014 | Posted by Mckenzie Harper in APT Index - (Comments Off)

Restaurant same-store sales increased 2.3% in July 2014 compared to July 2013, or more than $1 billion, according to data from the APT Index. Areas that performed better included those where rainfall decreased versus last year, where median income is less than $75K, and where unemployment decreased. Click here to view the top and bottom performing cities.

Competing with Fast Casual

August 6th, 2014 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurant Trends - (Comments Off)

APT SVP Jonathan Marek says that fast casual has been the single most important secular trend in the restaurant industry. Watch this video to hear his thoughts.

APT’s Software Suite for Restaurants

July 28th, 2014 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurant Analytics - (Comments Off)

APT SVP Jonathan Marek discusses APT’s software suite for restaurant organizations, which includes Test & Learn, Menu Analyzer, and the APT Index.

What Digital Ordering Means for Restaurants

July 18th, 2014 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurant Trends - (Comments Off)

In a recent article for Chain Store Age, APT SVP Jonathan Marek discusses how digital ordering is impacting the restaurant industry. He also discusses questions that arise as a result of digital ordering, and how Test & Learn can help restaurants confidently answer these questions. Click here to read the article.

Consumers Spend $5.1B on Father’s Day Weekend

July 14th, 2014 | Posted by Casey Corman in APT Index - (Comments Off)

The APT Restaurant Index showed that restaurant sales rose [+1.7%] during Father’s Day Weekend this year compared to the same time last year, translating to a total spend of $5.1 billion.

Overall restaurant sales comps remained practically flat in June, with a [-0.06%] decline. A [-1.8%] decrease in number of transactions was offset by a [+1.8%] increase in dollars per transaction.

The APT Index provides restaurant organizations with a hyper-local benchmark of restaurant sales data in the areas immediately surrounding their locations. Based on actual sales data from tens of thousands of restaurant locations, the APT Index helps in creating restaurant-specific benchmarks, understanding the impact of national campaigns and major events, and explaining performance to investors.

Click here to download a sample report from the APT Index.

Common Mistakes in Menu Pricing

July 8th, 2014 | Posted by Casey Corman in Pricing - (Comments Off)

Getting pricing strategy right may be the most challenging task for restaurant organizations — wrong decisions can lead to guests trading down to lower-priced items, or lost traffic. Similarly, failing to take price where it’s available can leave millions of dollars of profit on the table. In this video, Jonathan Marek – APT SVP and Restaurant Practice Head – discusses common mistakes restaurants make when setting menu prices, and the need for a robust Test & Learn process.

Gut feeling and intuition have always been key parts of executive decision-making. But, as data collection becomes easier and data analysis becomes faster, how should executives blend intuition with data analytics?

This morning, the Economist Intelligence Unit and APT released the findings of an authoritative study that analyzes how decision-making is changing across industries and geographies. Direct findings from the report include:

• 57% executives reanalyze the data if it contradicts their gut feeling
• 42% of executives are “data-driven”
• 45% of respondents who agree that their company is growing faster than the competition also say they can predict decision outcomes by analyzing tests and trials
• 19% say decision-makers are not held accountable in their organizations

Click here to see all the actionable findings from this Economist Intelligence Unit study.

To “decide” can be interpreted as “picking one option and killing off all others.” In business, doing this right has large rewards and getting it wrong has severe consequences. While executives have always made decisions, increasing amounts of data, sophisticated consumers, rapidly evolving technology, and disruptive competitors, are fundamentally changing the art and science of decision-making.

APT partnered with the Economist Intelligence Unit to study how decision-making is rapidly evolving across various industries and geographies. The resulting report addresses tough and important questions, such as:

(1) How do executives blend intuition with data? Are companies allowing executives to trust intuition?

(2) How are executives using data in decision-making when the data is counter-intuitive to their beliefs?

(3) With so much data available, which data should executives consider? And, how should they best incorporate it in decision-making?

The report will be released on June 5th in London. Please email info[at] to be the first to get a complimentary copy of this actionable report written by the Economist Intelligence Unit.