Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice

A Merlot with Your Mocha: Selling Alcohol in QSRs and Fast Casuals

February 28th, 2012 | Posted by Jatin Atre in Restaurants - (Comments Off on A Merlot with Your Mocha: Selling Alcohol in QSRs and Fast Casuals)

Baristas are becoming bartenders at select Starbucks locations, as the coffee giant recently announced that it will increase the number of locations testing its pilot alcoholic beverage program.High-margin alcoholic beverages are a critical aspect of overall Fast Casual profitability. To date, they are not an important (or even existing) part of many QSR menus – but they could be.

As commodity costs rise and competition grows, alcohol could be the answer to margin growth. Increasing sales of these beverages at QSRs may help keep a lid on food prices and drive more sales. (more…)

Home Delivery: Pizza, Chinese food, and now Burger King – is it right for your restaurants?

February 28th, 2012 | Posted by CCorman in Labor & Operations - (Comments Off on Home Delivery: Pizza, Chinese food, and now Burger King – is it right for your restaurants?)

Americans love eating and really love convenience culture—this makes the ascendancy of food-delivery sites like GrubHub and Seamless unsurprising. Restaurant owners watching the app-friendly trend are smart to consider launching an delivery service themselves.

With its sleek new website, this is just what Burger King is doing. A Washington Post blogger reports that “the Web essentially exploded” with reaction to the new service, despite the fact that it caters only to a smattering of locations in a few metro areas. (more…)

Throwing Bricks at Amazon: How to Compete through Multiple Channels

February 27th, 2012 | Posted by CCorman in Retail | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on Throwing Bricks at Amazon: How to Compete through Multiple Channels)

In 1995, corporate strategic planners were hardly shaking in their boots about the launch of, which at the time was primarily a bookseller. Now, with an annual revenue approaching $50 billion (it’s doubled since 2009), executives from companies such as Best Buy and The Home Depot are concerned. In fact, in June 2011, 20% of all online retail visits – 280 million — were to, with another 30% divided between the second and third largest e-tail sites, eBay and Alibaba, respectively.

Those are some daunting statistics, but if you’re a brick and mortar retailer, take comfort in knowing that traditional retailers have the ability to compete by leveraging a preexisting competitive advantage: multiple channels. (more…)

Big data, but where’s the big value?

February 15th, 2012 | Posted by CCorman in Retail - (Comments Off on Big data, but where’s the big value?)

Do you remember twenty years ago when you were deciding between 20 or 40 MB of storage for your computer? Today, 2.5 quintillion (10^18) bytes of data are created every day, enough to fill your computer’s 250 GB hard drive about 10 trillion times daily! Experts estimate that 90% of all of the world’s data was created in the last two years, and the amount of data in existence will continue to grow at a mind-boggling 40% annual rate. So it’s no wonder that the McKinsey Quarterly is convinced that Big Data will become a new type of corporate asset that, if understood correctly, could lead to a serious competitive advantage. (more…)

B of A Takes On Groupon

February 8th, 2012 | Posted by Will Weidman in Financial Services | Uncategorized - (Comments Off on B of A Takes On Groupon)

The Washington Post recently wrote an article featuring a partnership between Bank of America and tech firm Cardlytics that brings forward a game changing idea. The new program will use past debit and credit card transaction data to offer B of A customers targeted discounts at relevant retailers.  We have highlighted in the past that B of A needed to improve its approach to debit cards; this is a great innovation and a big step in the right direction.

Most retailers have a loyalty program or something similar to strengthen and grow the relationship with existing customers.  Many offer cut-rate promotions made available to the general public, with the “deal of the day” being a recent extreme example.  With these promotions, retailers offer huge discounts to anyone who signs up, yet a large portion of redeemers are consumers that will take advantage of the offer and never shop again.

By leveraging past purchasing information, B of A is providing something much more compelling.  For example, an offer could be targeted just to consumers currently shopping with a competitor.   By targeting those with a willingness to spend in the category, this is more powerful for merchants and will presumably make the offers more relevant for consumers.

There are several important factors to make this a success.  (more…)