Restaurant Advisory Services: 7 Areas Where Restaurant Chains Can Use Some Help

Originally published in the Aaron Allen & Associates newsletter on 03/11/2024.

In a sector where change is the only constant, staying ahead requires not just hard work, but smart work. This is where the true value of partnership comes into play. Navigating these complexities alone can be daunting, but remember, even the most seasoned captains sometimes need a compass and almost always employ a great coach.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a strategic move towards strength and resilience.

Our firm, with its deep expertise and global reach, is not just an advisor but a collaborator, dedicated to elevating your business to new heights.

Restaurant Advisory Services: Seven (7) Areas in Which We Are Helping Restaurant Chains

1) Corporate Intelligence

As one of our restaurant advisory services, we deliver rich insights and industry intelligence to help inform corporate decision-making and strategy.
Custom Country Profiles (sample here) | Fast-track International Expansion | Helping Bring New Brands to Your Country and Portfolio | Category Insights (check out some examples in the pizza and coffee categories).

2) International Expansion

Over the next decade, the bulk of the restaurant industry growth will spring from emerging and frontier markets.
Market Landscape | Total Addressable Market | Brand Development Strategy | Go to Market | Cross-Border M&A | Cross-Border Commercial and Operational Due Diligence | Brand Awareness and Adaptation

3) Menu Innovation

During COVID menus were relegated (and trimmed). Menu overhauls happen in waves, and many of the bigger players have already started. Don’t fall behind.
Menu Engineering | New Menu Items, Signature Items, and LTOs | Strategic Planning | Operational Efficiency | Drive-Thru Throughput

4) Mergers and Acquisitions

Regardless of the future economic climate, there will be an opportunity in the foodservice space.
Restaurant mergers and acquisitions Advisory | Sell-Side Advisory | Buy-Side Advisory | Valuation Opinion | Operational and Commercial Due Diligence | Receiverships | Operating Partnerships

5) Strategic Plans

As you think about objectives, strategies, budgets and resource allocations, do you sense your team could benefit from a fresh perspective, a richer understanding of the consumer and competitive landscape, and build plans that are as strong, yet agile, as is required today?
CAPEX Allocation Planning | Brand Strategy | Clearly articulated plans for the short, mid, and long-term

6) Restaurant Sales-Building Strategies

We’re a top-line oriented organization that is fanatical about driving revenue in a way that works both in the short-term (with quick-hits programs) and over the long-term (growing revenue and enterprise value without sacrifices to margins). 

Jump-Start Revenue | Marketing Audits and Program Assessment | Brand Audit and Strategy | Strategic Marketing Plans and Budget Allocations | Go-to-Market Strategy for Restaurant Suppliers | Promotion Ideation | Menu Strategy

7) Margins Improvement

Every business has areas of opportunity in which it can continuously improve on cost. By performing a gap analysis and applying industrial engineering practices across functional areas, we can identify where value is trapped or hidden in a business. 

Labor Productivity Enhancement | Food Cost Optimization (with sustainable strategies) | Diligence Yourself (unlock and create improved performance and profitability)

Recent Insights From the Aaron Allen & Associates Library

Find below some of this week’s key insights for the global foodservice industry.

Restaurant Chains Going International

There have been recently several announcements for restaurant chains growing with international expansion. Over the next five years, emerging and developing regions in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are forecasted to exhibit the fastest GDP growth rates globally. With the restaurant industry largely growing in pace with GDP (plus subject to a few other factors), it’s no surprise many global players are investing in seeding these markets.

Established local players will face increasing competition but also have an opportunity to keep their brand in the lead and bring processes and systems up to the highest standards.

Restaurant CEOs Bullet-Proof Their Plans

Heavy is the crown for restaurant owners and foodservice executivesthese days. Boards, rightfully so, are asking questions that require new agility and muscle flex.

What should we do about CAPEX?
How is OPEX changing?
Where should we be making tech investments?
Where is the growth going to come from?
And many, many more…

To find your own best way through, remember: “The better the question, the better the answer.” And there’s also value in asking for an expert second opinion or validation of plans and forecasts to avoid corporate bias clouding key decisions.

Those Who Are Not Growing Fast Are Dying Slowly

The chicken segment is one of the most dynamic and competitive among the large restaurant chains in the U.S. And while Chick-fil-A continues to dominate and Popeyes is taking over the #2 in the rank, there has been significant movement in the rank among other mid-size leading chains over the last ten years.

It goes to show that in the restaurant industry, you can never rest. Leaders are waking up to the realization that if they’re not growing fast they’re dying slowly.

Outgrowing and outsmarting your competitors requires using the power of long-term thinking.

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