from APT's Restaurant Practice

New Year, New Technology: Beyond the Tech Hype

January 27th, 2017 | Posted by Carly Buchanan in Restaurants - (Comments Off on New Year, New Technology: Beyond the Tech Hype)

As restaurants continue investing in cutting-edge programs from mobile ordering to artificial intelligence in the form of chatbot ordering and more, and technologies like digital ordering kiosks and menu boards remain an enticing option, there are many potential technology investments to evaluate. But which technologies actually move the needle? As restaurants strive to bring new tools to the table, they must continually evaluate which technology investments will work for their concepts, and in which locations, to stay ahead of guest preferences.


Improving NPV with a Smarter CapEx Strategy

May 17th, 2013 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Improving NPV with a Smarter CapEx Strategy)

APT President Patrick O’Reilly discusses how restaurants are using Test & Learn to improve the return on their capital investments.

Remodels: Shifting from “Yes or No” to “Where and How”

March 12th, 2013 | Posted by GVanderschueren in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Remodels: Shifting from “Yes or No” to “Where and How”)

Due to delayed spending on remodels during the “Great Recession,” some restaurant leaders today are confronted with how to address an aging fleet of restaurants. In general, capital programs are both a necessity to maintain brand standards across a restaurant network, and an opportunity to drive incremental cash flow. When executed correctly, with the appropriate emphasis on accurate and actionable measurements, remodels can drive significant shareholder value. (more…)

Where Will Your Concept Work?

September 11th, 2012 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Where Will Your Concept Work?)

recent article in Nation’s Restaurant News highlights a few capital investments strategies restaurants are taking to enhance guest experience. For example, Domino’s is testing a “Pizza Theater” prototype while Panda Express is investing in digital signage. As restaurants experiment with new design ideas, it is important to accurately measure guest response by location and understand which remodel elements are driving this response. By testing multiple design components (i.e. new TVs, adding seating, digital signage, etc.), restaurant executives can mitigate risk and reduce costs by only investing in those components that are scientifically proven to increase program ROI. (more…)

Five Key Considerations When Taking Restaurants Private

June 19th, 2012 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants | Restaurants | Restaurants | Restaurants | Restaurants - (Comments Off on Five Key Considerations When Taking Restaurants Private)

A slew of recent restaurant acquisitions is spurring investors to ask two questions: who’s next and what are they worth? As private equity firms consider investing in the remaining publicly-traded restaurant companies, they must consider how different business actions have the opportunity to generate increased free cash flow. For restaurants, future free cash flow hinges on the ability to increase traffic and check size through five key areas: 1) network growth and revitalization, 2) rationalizing media activity, 3) managing the menu, 4) effectively setting prices, and 5) increasing labor and operational efficiency. (more…)

A touch-screen “Fries with that?”

November 29th, 2011 | Posted by Lisa in Restaurants | Restaurants | Restaurants - (Comments Off on A touch-screen “Fries with that?”)

With iPad2 sales soaring and the Kindle Fire poised to be a bestseller this holiday season, it’s clear that mainstream consumers have become comfortable with mobile touch-screen shopping. For restaurant chains toying with the idea of adopting tech-forward ordering interfaces, now might be the time to strike.

Menus on spill-proof, drop-proof tablet computers are spreading from independent restaurants to chains like Umami Burger, and major fast-food companies have begun to invest aggressively in self-ordering consoles, touch-screens, and mobile ordering. After experimenting with self-serve kiosks for years, McDonald’s has launched an arsenal of them in 7,000 of its European locations. Subway, betting on the convenience payment by mobile devices, has pledged to accept payment by the Google Wallet app.

Purveyors of new restaurant technology—like Rajat Suri of E La Carte—claim their devices can increase revenue, reduce dining time, and improve customer experience. But will rolling out new ordering devices help your company? Can the “cool factor” of new tech draw more sales than the classic benefits of personal interaction?

Since devices are developing so quickly, the wrong bet will leave restaurants with an expensive system that’s already become obsolete. Making the right decision requires confidence about the technology and willingness to test customers’ response to it. The time-tested teenager-in-a-visor model of fast-food ordering has sold a lot of French fries, and might be more lucrative than you think. The best way to figure out which ordering model will work for your business is to test it in a subset of your chain before rolling it out.

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


Making Money on Starbucks WiFi

June 15th, 2010 | Posted by Jonathan Marek in Restaurants | Restaurants - (Comments Off on Making Money on Starbucks WiFi)

Starbucks Free WiFi offering is all over the news today.  Andrew Hickey at CRN had the most interesting analysis we’ve seen, giving 5 reasons why Starbucks is making this leap.  Reasons range from competition with McDonald’s to the simple fact that (short of trapping customers on an airplane) it’s becoming so you can’t charge for WiFi anymore.

Reason #2 is the most interesting, but stops short of the real point:

It’s all about targeting the consumer. (more…)