from APT's Restaurant Practice

APT Hires Jeff Babka as CFO

February 11th, 2014 | Posted by Casey Corman in Uncategorized - (Comments Off on APT Hires Jeff Babka as CFO)

APT is featured in a recent Washington Post article, which highlights our hiring of Jeff Babka as CFO. Click here to read the article.

5 Overlooked Facts of Restaurant Pricing

January 30th, 2014 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants | Restaurants - (Comments Off on 5 Overlooked Facts of Restaurant Pricing)

Nation’s Restaurant News recently published an article by APT SVP Jonathan Marek about the five often overlooked facts about restaurant pricing. Jonathan discusses the following about pricing strategies:

  • “You can’t understand the impact of changing prices without a test versus control analysis.”
  • “Cross-elasticity rules restaurant economics.”
  • “Price elasticity varies by store — a lot.”
  • “If you have a franchised concept, your franchisees are likely testing prices for you.”
  • “Pricing analysis should not be outsourced.”

Here is the link to the full article:


Taking a Bite out of Restaurant Industry Sales

January 28th, 2014 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Taking a Bite out of Restaurant Industry Sales)

Convenience stores, pharmacy chains, and grocery retailers are all trying to take a bite out of restaurant sales by ramping up their fresh food offerings. According to Convenience Store News, prepared food offerings in c-stores exceeded $27 billion in sales in the US in 2012, a 7.6% increase over the previous year – in fact, convenience chain Casey’s General Stores is even offering pizza delivery in a select number of locations. (more…)

What’s Cooking for 2014?

December 30th, 2013 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on What’s Cooking for 2014?)

APT SVP Jonathan Marek recently wrote an article for QSR Magazine about five trends restaurants can expect in 2014. These trends include taking advantage of mobile ordering, profiting from variable pricing, growing slower dayparts, managing labor costs, and better understanding the effectiveness of daily deals. Click here to read the article.

Costa Coffee Licenses Test & Learn Software

November 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Costa Coffee Licenses Test & Learn Software)

Computing Magazine recently featured an article about how Costa, one of the world’s largest coffee chains, is using APT’s Test & Lean software to make more profitable decisions. Here’s the link to the article:

A short preview of the article is below:

Matthew Price, finance director at Costa, said that it was “critical” for the coffee chain to have the best tools in place to quickly generate insights that create value for the business.

“APT is instrumental in improving the analytic rigor and speed with which we make decisions on store investment and the right range of products,” he said.

“The ability to automate complex analytic processes has not only provided more accurate decisions, but it has significantly decreased the time required to understand the impact of each new idea,” he added.


Tablets at your Tables

November 12th, 2013 | Posted by Katherine Eve in Restaurants | Restaurants | Restaurants - (Comments Off on Tablets at your Tables)

Recently, restaurants like ThinkFoodGroup’s Jaleo added tablets to their tables, discarding traditional paper menus in hopes of leveraging flexibility offered by digital devices to improve guest experience and sales.

ThinkFoodGroup, which is testing iPad-based menus in two of its restaurants, including DC’s Jaleo, is smart to try this idea before investing significant capital. Cost is not limited to the $500 up-front investment per tablet; it also includes employee training, breakage, and theft (Jaleo has already reported four stolen tablets). Additionally, restaurants must ensure that guests are comfortable with the new experience and are not turned off by technology at the table. (more…)

Does Co-Branding Work for Restaurants?

November 7th, 2013 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Does Co-Branding Work for Restaurants?)

A recent article in Nation’s Restaurant News discusses Bruegger’s Bagels new partnership with Caribou Coffee. The two chains are trialing two co-branded units in Minneapolis to get a preliminary read on the idea’s validity.

A co-branding strategy, very familiar to holdings companies such as Yum!, Focus Brands, and Dunkin’ Donuts, introduces three interesting questions: (more…)

Solving Big Data Challenges

November 1st, 2013 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on Solving Big Data Challenges)

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Dr. Jordan of Penn State’s Smeal College of Business, discusses the challenges of Big Data for companies. APT’s software suite has been designed to solve many of the challenges outlined in the article, as evidenced by the more than 100 leading organizations that leverage APT daily. (more…)

The APT Index

September 19th, 2013 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants - (Comments Off on The APT Index)

APT SVP Mark D’Agostino talks about how the APT Index can map retail and restaurant activity down to the micro-geography level.

Do daily deals make sense?

September 10th, 2013 | Posted by Casey Corman in Restaurants | Restaurants - (Comments Off on Do daily deals make sense?)

We’ve written in the past about the questionable economics of daily deals for restaurants. However, a recent article in QSR Magazine suggests that some operators are still using Groupon and other daily deal sites to encourage new business at some locations. For example, Smashburger recently launched a $6 for $12 deal, meaning that the Denver-based burger chain will receive $3 for the same food that would have normally garnered $12.

Two things about this promotion are worth noting:

  • First, Smashburger is only running this promotion in areas where they have relatively low brand awareness, so it is likely that the chain is driving more incremental visits in those locations than they would have if they launched the promotion chain-wide.
  • Second, Smashburger notes that customers redeeming the deal come in groups and thus have larger overall checks than those customers not redeeming the coupon. While this statistic is seemingly good news, it is difficult to know whether customers redeeming the deal would have had larger checks anyway.

For restaurants with low brand awareness, daily deals have a chance of being profitable by generating incremental trials that may lead to full-priced future visits. But restaurant chain operators need to test these promotions first to understand if redeemed deals are actually generating incremental trips and larger transactions, or if that behavior would have occurred anyway. Fortunately, Smashburger has an opportunity to do such causal analysis since they have only offered the Groupon in some locations.