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Author Archives: Admin

8 Tips for Improving Your Testing Process

February 3rd, 2015 | Posted by Admin in Restaurants - (Comments Off on 8 Tips for Improving Your Testing Process)

Most restaurant chains use in-market tests to help inform decisions. But just running tests isn’t enough. Based on our work with dozens of restaurant brands, here are eight tips for improving your testing process. (more…)

What’s on tap for restaurants in 2015?

January 15th, 2015 | Posted by Admin in Restaurants - (Comments Off on What’s on tap for restaurants in 2015?)

In 2014, more restaurants introduced digital ordering, new labor laws caused executives to re-evaluate their staffing models, and restaurants continued to focus on growing sales in slower dayparts. In 2015, we expect the importance of digital to grow, enabling restaurants to focus more on offering customizable options and sending targeted offers to their guests. Meanwhile, as restaurants continue to streamline their menus, new calorie laws will likely lead to healthier options and new menu layouts. From 15 years of experience working with top restaurant organizations, here are key trends for restaurants this year. (more…)

A Salty Debate on Sodium Reduction

July 6th, 2011 | Posted by Admin in Restaurants | Restaurants | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on A Salty Debate on Sodium Reduction)

UPDATE: Campbell Soup’s new CEO plans to increase the salt content in its core soup products.

Researchers at the University of Exeter released findings this week questioning claims that lower sodium diets can reduce the risk of death from heart disease.

While still early, these findings challenge the opinions of public health advocates who have lobbied municipalities, most notably New York, to reduce salt content across a range of food products, citing that eighty percent of salt in American’s diets comes from packaged or restaurant consumables.

While industry reaction to sodium reduction proposals have been mixed at best, companies ranging from Pepsi to Taco Bell announced initiatives to identify new seasonings to reduce salt content in their products.

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Getting Pricing Right Doesn’t Fit Into Soundbites

June 22nd, 2011 | Posted by Admin in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Getting Pricing Right Doesn’t Fit Into Soundbites)

Operators understand very acutely the effectiveness of price changes – after all, nothing else in the business can impact the bottom-line so directly.

Despite this appreciation for the importance of pricing, the sophistication by which most companies manage prices is woefully inadequate.

Industry pricing “leaders” comment on the problem frequently, revealing “we should remind our guests value isn’t just a function of price,” and “if it’s a $3 price point one day and then it’s all of a sudden $4, that’s not palatable to a consumer. But if it goes up to $3.29, that’s a little bit easier to take.”

If this is the best that the industry has to offer on this subject, then we’re all in a lot of trouble. (more…)

Our Initial Thoughts From Restaurant Leadership 2011

March 21st, 2011 | Posted by Admin in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Our Initial Thoughts From Restaurant Leadership 2011)

Jonathan, Josh, and Michelle from APT enjoyed attending this year’s RLC in Scottsdale.

Political punditry aside, the burgeoning marketplace for daily deal sites and social media continued to be a hot topic – as the novelty of these coupon channels wears off, we are seeing operators move past simple redemption stats to understand what impact these various offers have on actual profits. Additionally, we enjoyed insightful conversations about how restaurateurs are evaluating new pricing and menu strategies in a world with increased commodity costs and signs of a recovering consumer.

We enjoyed hearing from industry leaders ranging from Sally Smith at Buffalo Wild Wings to Robert Brozin, chief of the expanding Nando’s Chicken chain, building on recent interviews with Starbuck’s Howard Schultz and Panera’s Ron Shaich.

Also of note, we’ve been remiss in not mentioning it earlier, we’re thrilled to welcome Wendy’s into the family of companies driving value from Test & LearnTM.

We’ll write more about detailed reflections from the RLC in future newsletters.

Social Media: Marketing Steals the “Location, Location, Location” Adage from Real Estate

March 7th, 2011 | Posted by Admin in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Social Media: Marketing Steals the “Location, Location, Location” Adage from Real Estate)

Location based marketing is “here.” From Chili’s to Target, leading restaurants and retailers are showing an enthusiasm for piloting offerings from a range of hot New York and Silicon Valley start-ups including Foursquare, Shopkick, and Gowalla.

While each location-based service (LBS) is unique, they are all oriented around a central core principal: offers and coupons are most effective when restaurants and brands can target consumers at a specific time and place. (more…)

This post is the third in a three part series on ideas that will shape restaurant performance in 2011.

Part Three: Marketing

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This post is the second in a three part series on ideas that will shape restaurant performance in 2011. Part three will follow next week.

Part Two: Expansion, Investments & Operations

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Will New Payment Technologies Actually Increase Profits?

January 21st, 2011 | Posted by Admin in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Will New Payment Technologies Actually Increase Profits?)

UPDATE: During their earnings call earlier this week, Starbucks announced that over 3 million payments were received via mobile phones. That makes Starbucks the largest mobile payments system in the world…

Starbucks recent announcement of an iPhone app that can be used to pay at the register has received a lot of press this week. As did McDonald’s announcement in the UK of its contactless card payment system. From a technology standpoint, this app is one of a number of new systems that have recently come into the market – we discuss some of the other options available to retailers here. We’ll keep our readers updated as to which systems gain traction following in-market testing.

Happy New Year from all of us at APT’s Food for Thought. 2011 promises to be an eventful year in the restaurant space and we’ve heard a number of bets, top 10s, and guesses for what the year, and the strengthening economic recovery, will hold.

We’ve synthesized these ideas into a special series, in three parts, that we are launching below. Stay tuned over the next two weeks for more.

Part One: Menus, Value Meals & New Offerings

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