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Q&A: An Evolving Restaurant Industry Calls for Evolving Analytics

The restaurant industry’s constant evolution means that nothing can stay static, including analytics. As the industry has changed, so too has the technology that restaurants use to make strategic decisions.

Buxton is committed to offering the analytics tools that restaurants need in order to compete effectively. We recently spoke with some of Buxton’s product managers to learn more about these enhanced capabilities.

Here’s what they had to say:

Q. What variables are most advantageous for restaurants to test?

A. Many restaurants focus on finding the traffic volume surrounding their building. While volume is an important variable to test, it’s not the only – or most helpful – variable when it comes to gaining a strong understanding of a restaurant’s trends. To determine successful restaurant locations, a clear understanding of one’s customers and the time at which they are inclined to eat is imperative information as well. When restaurants leverage more specific customer data, they have a chance to really win in a market.
 

Q. Why is it important for restaurants to understand customer behavior at different times of the day and parts of the week?

A. Restaurants often ask the question, “When can I expect traffic in a certain location?” Perhaps a restaurant is trying to attract breakfast customers, but if few people travel their direction in the morning, serving breakfast at their restaurant may not be a lucrative idea. By understanding customer behavior at different times of the day and parts of the week, a restaurant will be able to match the profile of their traffic flow with the profile of their menu. Buxton has the tools to provide restaurants with this information.  

Q. How will new variables yield improved model accuracy?

A. Methodology must be shaped around variables. So, when new variables arise, Buxton goes through a process of accessing those variables to determine if they fit with our methodology.  

An example of a new variable is the “restaurant row.” Restaurant rows are certain streets or areas of a town that house many restaurants. Often, customers go to areas with a lot of restaurants and then pick a place to eat. Buxton has created that variable by identifying the location of every restaurant row in the U.S. Taking the restaurant row variable into consideration is new for us, and we believe it will greatly benefit our clients. Other new variables to evaluate include:

  • Number of tables
  • Visibility of signage
  • Accessibility of the restaurant
  • Social media scores and reviews

Together, all of these factors should improve our model accuracy.

Q. Why is it important for restaurants to understand who their customers are?

A. We cannot stress enough the importance of a restaurant understanding who their customers are. Though many believe that restaurant success is based on location, we have found that success comes from having a strong understanding of one’s customers. Buxton helps clients understand who their customers are, where they are located, and the value of those customers. With a strong understanding of one’s customers, restaurants will be equipped to confidently approach marketing and expansion efforts.

Want to continue the conversation? Don’t be shy, reach out. We’re here to help. 

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