Actionable Insights From APT's Retail Practice
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New Year, New Technology: Beyond the Tech Hype

January 31st, 2017 | Posted by APT in Labor & Operations | 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.

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Brick-and-Mortar Has Got a Lot of Life Left

January 12th, 2017 | Posted by Haley Jackson in Labor & Operations | Retail - (Comments Off on Brick-and-Mortar Has Got a Lot of Life Left)

It’s not uncommon these days to see a retailer make headlines for shuttering physical locations, highlighting the trials of the brick-and-mortar retail business model. Yet, while e-commerce sales are growing quickly, they still only comprise 8.4 percent of total retail sales in the U.S. – physical stores remain the most important retail channel by far. (more…)

CSP: 5 Lessons Convenience Retailers Can Learn From Restaurants

August 16th, 2016 | Posted by Katheryn McKee in Labor & Operations | Pricing | Restaurants | Retail - (Comments Off on CSP: 5 Lessons Convenience Retailers Can Learn From Restaurants)

In a recent CSP article, APT SVP Marek Polonski outlines the following five lessons convenience retailers can learn from restaurants as they look to optimize their foodservice strategies:

  1. Run in-market tests to evaluate every new idea
  2. Rethink menus to keep up with new diner preferences
  3. Adjust staffing to optimize foodservice operations, while managing costs
  4. Craft pricing strategies to balance traffic and transaction size
  5. Introduce in-store technologies to create a more personalized experience

Polonski writes, “Winning in foodservice means thinking like the experts. Consider these lessons from restaurants, who have been in the business for years, and you may find the right balance.”

Learn more about how leading restaurants are using in-market experiments to fuel innovation across their business.

Understanding Labor Costs before Legislation Goes into Effect

December 11th, 2012 | Posted by retailblogadmin in Labor & Operations - (Comments Off on Understanding Labor Costs before Legislation Goes into Effect)

Employee-mandated health coverage, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is set to take effect in 2014 for businesses with more than 50 full-time employees. In fact, the average cost per employee for health coverage is nearly $6,000 (alternatively, business owners can pay a $2,000/employee fine). Although many restaurants already offer health coverage to full-time employees, a  recent article highlights the growing awareness and friction within the restaurant community concerning these impending cost increases. This additional cost will place a renewed emphasis on restaurant profitability and productivity. (more…)

Mother Nature: Did the warmer weather impact my revenue, or was it my promotion?

April 10th, 2012 | Posted by CCorman in Labor & Operations - (Comments Off on Mother Nature: Did the warmer weather impact my revenue, or was it my promotion?)

This year in particular, restaurant operators are having a difficult time understanding how much of their sales lifts can be attributed to better weather versus how much is simply due to the direct impact of a single initiative.

With such drastic seasonal changes, the only way to find the true incremental impact of any initiative is to test it in a subset of your restaurants. “Test” doesn’t mean trying something in all of your locations in Phoenix and Michigan and comparing it to balance of chain. Dust storms in Phoenix and snow storms in Michigan would derail any hopes of an accurate read. In order to find the true cause-effect relationship between any initiative and key performance metrics, it is necessary to set up representative tests and employ a scientifically-based control group strategy that has the potential to deliver highly statistically significant results.

Only through representative, scientific testing can companies really begin to understand the impact of their initiatives. Is it time to rethink what’s really causing your sales to change this year?

Help Wanted: How do you turn your second largest cost into your most profitable investment?

April 3rd, 2012 | Posted by Jatin Atre in Labor & Operations - (Comments Off on Help Wanted: How do you turn your second largest cost into your most profitable investment?)

Hiring continues to be a key challenge for many restaurants. Michael Harms, senior business analyst at the Dallas-based People Report, recently commented that, “the ease of hiring and the ease of finding candidates is going away and going away quickly.” Since labor is usually the second largest expense for restaurants (other than food costs), hiring correctly can often be the key differentiator between making money and suffering large losses.  To successfully staff restaurants, executives must correctly answer three questions: (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 bkdelivers.com, 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…)

The Human Ingredient: Reducing Turnover and Managing Labor Costs

November 29th, 2011 | Posted by retailblogadmin in Labor & Operations - (Comments Off on The Human Ingredient: Reducing Turnover and Managing Labor Costs)

Despite McDonald’s well-chronicled hiring of 62,000 new employees on its April 19th “National Hiring Day,” surveys of restaurant human resources departments and recruiters, summarized in the People Report Workforce index, continue to indicate increased pressure on restaurant employment in Q4. After rounds of drastic cuts during the recession – resulting in more hours, heavier workloads, and reductions in performance-based incentives – restaurants are once again recognizing the need to invest in labor.

Operators increasingly concerned about recruitment, retention and management of their workforce must deploy a combination of strategies to address a few key questions: (more…)

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 retailblogadmin in Labor & Operations - (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.