Clients & Case Studies

Why Restaurants Need to Get Real About Real Estate

Why Restaurants Need to Get Real About Real Estate

CHOOSING A NEW LOCATION IN ANOTHER CITY OR ANOTHER STATE TAKES MUCH MORE THAN THE OLD ADAGE ‘LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.’

by Amanda Baltazar
via FoodNewsFeed.com

The importance of site visits

Buffalo Wings & Rings also relies on science, but takes a very hybrid approach when selecting new locations, says Philip Schram, chief development officer of the Cincinnati, Ohio–based company, which has 56 locations across the country.

The brand turns to data-mining companies such as eSite Analytics. “They can tell you who lives nearby, who works nearby, and who are the customers,” Schram says. “Therefore, we can understand if our restaurants would fit.”

If a site’s approved, a team visits it to look at a number of factors, but primary among them are traffic, visibility, and a vibrant trade area. It also looks at the demographics. As a sports bar, the company wants to be in an upper-blue-collar or middle-white-collar area.

Schram has learned his lesson about site visits and knows they’re non-negotiable. He once skipped a Texas site visit and didn’t realize the location was only accessible from one side of the freeway. “So, theoretically, while we have access to a huge population, we actually only have access to half of it.” The site was also halfway between two vibrant trade areas and three miles from most houses, which is too far. This location, he says, has struggled since it first opened.

READ FULL ARTICLE

eSite AnalyticsWhy Restaurants Need to Get Real About Real Estate
Read More

Studio Movie Grill Uses Analytics, “Conscious Capitalism” to Select New Locations

Studio Movie Grill Uses Analytics, “Conscious Capitalism” to Select New Locations

Studio Movie Grill has grown dramatically by following an unconventional idea. Founder and Owner Brian Schultz calls it “conscious capitalism.”

“Almost all the locations that we go to, there’s something that’s needed in the community,” Schultz said. “In some areas, it might be literacy, or other areas it might be employment or violence-oriented things. Our focus is going to a place where we can make a difference.”

The strategy has helped the company – a leader in in-theater dining – to grow from two locations to more than 30 across the country by the end of 2017.  More surprisingly, the company has done so in places like Upper Darby outside Philadelphia and the Chatham neighborhood in Chicago.

“Hardly top 10 retail locations,” Schultz pointed out with a smile.

Feel Good vs. Foolish

A strategy like Schultz’s poses a unique set of challenges when choosing new locations. Because they are locating in areas where making a strong business case is more difficult, Schultz works closely with eSite Analytics to map out the very best locations within conventionally “sub-prime” locations.

And because the demographics in such locations are often transient, e-Site and Schultz take care to map things out in advance. Schultz uses eSite to make sure he is building out where business gets done—in areas that are accessible and visible—to reduce the impediments to success.

A good example might be a cultural center that generates heavy traffic on holidays that might make it difficult for people to get to the theater or other characteristics that are unique—and frequently overlooked—in certain parts of town.

“It feels good to build a business that makes a difference. Without eSite technology, however, I’d be choosing purely by instinct, not intellect, and that’s just plain foolish,” said Schultz.

Location. Location. Elation.

Schultz’s “head and heart” approach to choosing sites has resulted in more than a few home runs and the Upper Darby theater is a prime example.

Upper Darby had been plagued by high employment and sluggish economic development, until Studio Movie Grill moved in. Then the magic happened.

“Not too long after Studio Movie Grill came in, H&M, Gap and other chain stores started coming in and it really turned this whole neighborhood around,” said Schultz. “I am just so proud of our success there. We’re taking that risk and believing in people, in these communities when a lot of other companies have really kind of forgotten about them.”

Can You Plan a Sequel?

Schutz’s track record of success in overlooked communities is the kind of thing that Hollywood could appreciate. He seems to have a knack for creating “sleepers” that make it big time and again.

Just because Studio Movie Grill has built a number of “sequels,” however, the real question is whether community need can actually be considered a viable, and, more importantly, profitable consideration for other businesses.

“That is an interesting question,” said eSite Analytics President Charles Wetzel. “I would expand it to incorporate the broader issue of neighborhood gentrification. I find it ironic that the hottest place for a urban professional to live these days might have been a Feed Storage Facility only a few years back.”

The key to picking winning locations, said Wetzel, is to marry a clear corporate vision with the kind of dynamic planning provided by eSite and its data-driven solutions. “The eSite platform allows companies to append demographics to psychographic profiles of customers and more,” said Wetzel.

“So, for example, if you had a business that was deeply engaged in community outreach, we could work with you to find like-minded concentrations of concerned citizens with the means to make a difference,” said Wetzel. “This goes way beyond pinning locations on a map or simply following where the hipsters live,” he added.

Knocking Down the Silos

Another challenge that eSite helps clients address is to knock down data silos within the organization. A real estate team, for example, may not be aware of the rich data kept within the marketing department – or the customer loyalty team may not be connected as closely as they could with the customer acquisition team. The best solution to building the bridges? Data.

“eSite helps to build the connective tissue within our clients and their data organizations,” said Wetzel. “We can leverage data from multiple sources to assist with topics ranging from customer acquisition and loyalty marketing to real estate development and site selection. The result is that we help ensure that new locations are set up for success through trade area definition – and that helps bring a variety of teams together.”

Conclusion: From Blip to Hip.

No business, not even Studio Movie Grill, is going to have a hit with every new location. Yet its undeniable that when a Studio Movie Grill moves in to a neighborhood, fans will follow.

Or to put it another way, an area that might have been a blip on the map to a broader demographics suddenly becomes a hip new spot for that same demographic to shop, entertain and live. At the very least, it attracts the attention of movers and shakers.

For example, once Studio Movie Grill opened in Chatham on the Southside of Chicago, Chance the Rapper, a Southside native, bought out a screening of the recent movie “Get Out” for nearby residents to enjoy for free.

Which was a cool move. By any analysis.

eSite AnalyticsStudio Movie Grill Uses Analytics, “Conscious Capitalism” to Select New Locations
Read More

Getting Location Down to a Science

Getting Location Down to a Science

How The Shopping Center Group leverages mobile data to take site selection strategies to a new level

The Shopping Center Group (TSCG) has a saying when it comes to retail site selection: If you are off by an inch, you are off by a mile. With a rapidly expanding list of retail clients needing to make smart location decisions, TCSG knows there is zero room for error.

With the bar set this high, TSCG Director of Innovation and Technology, Gregg Katz, spoke to the eSite Analytics blog about the daily challenges and rewards of his job.

Success in Motion

Gregg Katz, TCSG Director of Innovation and Technology

Gregg Katz, The Shopping Center Group

As a leading retail real estate advisory firm, TSCG leverages eSite Analytics to evaluate, plan and execute location strategies—with motion data provided by the INRIX database. The process, Katz emphasizes, is totally different from the “pin and map” approaches of the past.

There is no room for error in our business when it comes to choosing a retail site,” says Katz. “Innovative planning gives our clients an edge. To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky, we anticipate not just where customers are now, but also where they are going to be.

To accomplish this goal, Katz appends motion data from INRIX to clients’ existing retail locations to analyze all variables—from competitors to customers—with easily visualized maps. He then goes a step further to help retail clients where the best customers are now and where they will live and shop in the future.

“We’re talking a bird’s-eye and street-level view of customer behavior in the same glance. The stuff you can’t see on a simple map,” says Katz.

The benefits of eSite Analytics mapping technology

The benefits of eSite Analytics mapping technology

The Meaning Behind Motion

Katz is quick to point out that motion data and eSite Analytics’ technology differs in another key way from past approaches. “Data capture and demographic information today must be dynamic, not static,” says Katz.

Katz elaborated upon the difference: “Our current platform allows us to capture raw demographics and then go deeper to actually create psychographic profiles of customers and more. Drawing concentric circles on a map then ‘pinning’ locations is static. It cannot tell you the why, where or how of customer motion.”

eSite Analytics helps Katz test and validate or disprove certain fixed assumptions that people or even brokers might have about a location, such as “People will never cross that highway to shop in a different location.” By providing evidence-insights, eSite Analytics allows TSCG to put science behind such assumptions.

Mapping with demographic detail and personas for site location selection

Mapping with demographic detail and personas

Clients at the Center

Katz has centralized an enviable trove of demographic, psychographic and motion data at The Shopping Center Group. From this nerve center, Katz also uses eSite Analytics tools to provide more than 900 internal and external clients with data at their fingertips. “All to help them represent our clients as accurately as possible,” says Katz.

Thanks to the efforts of Katz and others, TSCG taps a variety of tools and data to augment a project. These include:

  1. Visually-depicted products (maps and aerials) or reports
  2. Site characteristics
    1. Traffic counts
    2. Consumer expenditure studies
    3. Market optimization analyses
    4. Market characteristics
      1. Competition studies
      2. Retailer void analyses
      3. Demographic Characteristics
        1. Demographics—Based on Radii, trade area or drive time
        2. Consumer lifestyle segmentation (Psychographics)
        3. Thematic shading
        4. Density shadings
        5. And much more

Completing the “Location Triangle”

Finally, while technology can do great things, it is also possible to drown a customer in data. TSCG approaches eSite Analytics and INRIX data from a “triangular” perspective to assure their insights remain level-headed.

Demographics tell us where the customers are. Psychographics give us a sense of what they think. Motion data tells us how they move around and spend their days, weeks and month,” says Katz. “The ‘big picture’ for our clients, then, is really a triangle, with each point informing and balancing out the other.

Put another way, using eSite Analytics assures that TSCG clients remain aligned with customer business objectives now and in the future.

eSite AnalyticsGetting Location Down to a Science
Read More