Restaurants Optimize Site Locations

Wendy’s, Arby’s, Culver’s

More and more quick-service restaurants and franchise owners are discovering the power of GIS to find the best sites for their restaurants. Owners of successful franchises have relied on GIS technology to discern markets for many years. The technology provides tools that help organize information by using location as the common identifier for data. By understanding where franchises, the competition, and customers are located, franchisors can make informed decisions, improve communication, and share their knowledge with others.

Better Trade Area Assessment

Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc., the second-largest quick-service sandwich chain in the United States, uses Esri Business Analyst to guide business decisions. Arby’s, based in Atlanta, Georgia, uses the solution to more accurately assess restaurants and trade areas for projects, such as growing the chain and remodeling or relocating restaurants.

Culver's is continually looking at possible sites for new restaurants.
Culver's is continually looking at possible sites for new restaurants.

Business Analyst merges Esri’s vast demographic and business data with detailed maps and allows organizations like Arby’s to perform spatial analysis. Using the solution, Arby’s can now update the locations of its restaurants and business development activity on designated market area maps, which describe the activity taking place in individual markets.

Since Business Analyst can be easily deployed across the enterprise as a web-based solution, on desktops, and even from iPhones and iPads, Arby’s can make these maps accessible to its staff. Development teams working in the field are able to quickly access the maps and easily discover the information they need through the Arby’s intranet.

“Esri Business Analyst has saved our GIS analyst countless hours and has had a positive impact on the business development department,” says Dave Conklin, senior vice president, business development, Arby’s.

Site Selection and Predictive Modeling

Wendy’s, the world’s third-largest quick-service hamburger chain, is integrating Esri Business Analyst with the restaurant’s corporate IT systems. The web-based business GIS solution will be part of the company’s reporting system for new locations, assisting in site selection and market analysis.

“Demographic data and location analytics are critical components when making investment decisions to build new restaurants,” says Dennis Hill, vice president, real estate. “With Business Analyst, everything we need—including mapping, analytics, and modeling—can be done on one platform that is scalable across our organization.” The Wendy’s chain includes more than 6,500 franchise and company-operated restaurants in the United States and 27 countries and US territories worldwide.

Business Analyst replaces a current system in use at Wendy’s. Implementation was completed by Esri Partner GIS, Inc., located in Birmingham, Alabama. The new solution includes server GIS applications, Esri demographics data, and customized analytics developed specifically by GIS, Inc., to streamline and enhance the chain’s site screening and market assessment process. Staff can easily view sales records, customized demographics, and other business reports on existing restaurants through an intuitive mapping interface. The system also enables Wendy’s to perform predictive modeling and assess potential restaurant cannibalization for new and existing sites by simply clicking on the map.

Building a Better Franchise

With almost 500 restaurants that stretch from Wisconsin’s heartland east to South Carolina, into Texas, and west to Utah, Culver’s is continually looking at possible new sites. The first Culver’s restaurant opened in 1984. Cofounders Craig Culver and his wife, Lea, oversee almost 500 restaurants in 20 states through Culver Franchising System, Inc.

Although the success of Culver’s stems a great deal from the delicious food it serves, the company also relies on Business Analyst software and data to ensure the locations its new franchisees are selecting will be successful. Using Business Analyst, new sites can be easily compared and contrasted by analyzing the demographics of existing restaurants, then pinpointing new areas that are similar.

“We chose Esri because they have the best information available for what we need to know,” says Dave O’Brien, real estate manager at Culver’s. “Using Business Analyst, we are able to easily compare and contrast new sites by analyzing the demographics of our existing restaurants and then pinpointing new areas that are similar.”

O’Brien uses a combination of software for an in-depth view of the market at analysts’ desks, as well as providing an easy way for anyone in the company to incorporate the information they find into the tools they need to do business. Business Analyst, including the segmentation module, provides in-depth customer analytics.

Business Analyst Online is used for creating boardroom-quality maps and easy-to-understand reports that are used by the franchise partners. “We are a family company, and this is apparent in all our daily efforts,” stresses O’Brien. “We want our franchise partners to succeed. Without them—the local owners and operators in their own communities and hometowns—we would not exist.”

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