from APT's Restaurant Practice

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.

GrubHub’s recent public offering and rapidly growing user base (~4 million active users) is generating increased interest in understanding how online ordering will impact the restaurant business. APT’s recent survey of our restaurant customers shines light on the increased attention restaurants are placing on online ordering: restaurants reported that online & mobile ordering comprised 31% of all tests within operational initiatives in the last year. (more…)

In a recent All Analytics article titled “Red Robin Plates Up Big-Data Insight,” Chris Laping, CIO at Red Robin, discusses how the gourmet burger chain is using APT’s Test & Learn software to understand the incremental impact of large dollar investments across their business. Click here to read the article.

“Rather than go it alone on big-data analytics, Red Robin has partnered with a ‘really smart company to help do that test-and-learn stuff,’ Red Robin CIO Chris Laping said… The ‘really smart’ partner helping with the test-and-learn is Applied Predictive Technologies, or APT, a cloud-based predictive analytics company that’s built up a discipline and set of analytics tools for Red Robin.”

Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) today announced that U.S. restaurant sales for the month of February fell [-0.6%] nationwide. But despite the overall February decline, the APT Index, which compares this year’s sales to the same period last year, indicated a “polar thaw” as increasing temperatures were followed by an increase in sales comps.

In the first half of February (2/1 to 2/14), the average temperature was 35°F and sales comps were [-2.2%]. However, in the second half of the month (2/15 to 2/28), average temperature climbed to 43°F and sales comps grew to [+0.9%].

The APT Restaurant Index enables restaurant executives to understand their “true comps.” Instead of simply looking at year-over-year changes, restaurant organizations can now compare each of their location’s sales to restaurant performance in the area surrounding their locations. These insights enable executives to understand if their restaurants are actually under- or over-performing, adjusting for local market factors outside of the control of decision-makers.

Click here to read the full story.