Restaurant Development & Design

NOV-DEC 2017

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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Talk Shop 8 4 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 7 KEVIN ARMSTRONG King-Casey Consulting BY DANA TANYERI, Senior Contributing Editor Big Data, Better Design F ormerly CEO of Cosi, president of Long John Silver's and CMO of Subway, Kevin Armstrong rec- ognizes the benefits that good data can bring to the table, especially in times of rapid and dramatic change. Having worked in both executive and consulting roles since 1980, he's now taking a deep dive into data analytics as the leader of King-Casey's restaurant consulting team. Armstrong recently shared some thoughts on how data and the insights it yields will increasingly drive not just marketing and menu deci- sions but also design and development. You see consumer patterns in retail impacting restaurant development and design. How so, and where do data analytics come in? KA: One of the macro changes we're witnessing is the change in consumer retail shopping patterns away from brick- and-mortar stores toward online. There are a number of restaurant businesses that were built to take advantage of old retail habits — in many cases, to fit into the mall environment. What's the answer for those brands if the environment that they've depended upon has changed? One company we worked with had op- erations in malls and also at test stores outside of malls. We were able to analyze the relative performance of their mall and non-mall locations. We also looked at consumer data about analogous types of restaurants operating outside of mall environments and at direct research in which consumers were asked what their likely purchase rate would be if they were to encounter this brand in a new environ- ment and what factors might influence that rate. All of those types of data in- form how that company can develop and design its concept to emerge in a new environment not dependent on rapidly changing consumer purchase behavior that is negatively impacting traffic. If you think about design broadly, the implications for smarter, more data- driven approaches are profound and just beginning to be tapped. How else might data be used to drive design? KA: A lot of concepts now are using a combination of menu boards along with pre- senting goods in retail-style, customer-con- trolled displays or cases arrayed along the path to order. Analyzing data to understand things like which products are most likely purchased from those cases, and in what combinations with items ordered from the menu boards, enables us to create the right design flow on how the cases are oriented or products presented. Or, say, a coffee concept is hoping to increase food sales to guests who typically just buy a regular coffee. We can study the data on customers who most often do buy food with a regular coffee. What do they buy? Do they order off the menu board or grab something within reach? Are they drive-thru customers that could be influenced there? Understanding the data can and should drive design and merchandising strategies. Drive-thru signage is another example. People oftentimes don't look at signage as design, but the applica- tion of real-time data through technology and menu board design can have a huge impact on the sales mix throughout the day and on add-on sales. In such cases, as in interior situations with things like self-order kiosks, the technology almost becomes a design element in helping to personalize the experience for guests, drive sales and generate valuable data. For more with Kevin Armstrong, see

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