Restaurant Strategy: There Are Many Ways Forward

Are Robots Coming for Your Job?

Yes. In fact, they’ve already taken more in the last two years than the previous twenty; and the momentum is only accelerating (automation is the new arms race in the global foodservice industry).

The biggest retooling of trade and technical skills is on the horizon and smart companies are already hiring other smart companies to help them figure that out (which jobs should we train the robots to take and which skills should we budget to enhance among our human workforce?).

I’m really proud of the new partnerships and ventures we’re being invited to and participating in around the topics of future of foodservice.

Want to know and invest in what’s now and next? Let’s connect! 😉

Is It Time to Do a Menu Overhaul?

Limited-Service Restaurants introduce new items with a cadence ranging between one new item (either LTOs or permanent) per week to one new item every 10 weeks (based on a sample of nearly 40 chains over the first 10 weeks of 2024).

Coffee and Snack chains are among the most frequent innovators, with Krispy Kreme, Dutch Bros, Dunkin’, Starbucks, and Tim Hortons leading the pack — especially with focus on LTOs for beverages.

Optimizing the menu can deliver great returns. When was the last time your brand undertook a menu engineering initiative?

Thinking of an Acquisition?

During the first quarter of 2024, restaurant M&A activity remained at similar levels as the same period in 2023. Acquisitions were evenly distributed across segments, from technology to fast casual to full-service and QSR. There was also the notable acquisition of Carrols by RBI (we saw a lot of activity for QSR franchisees in 2024).

If you are evaluating a foodservice acquisition target, we recommend you don’t skip due diligence. Without exception, the process reveals new perspective and insight across functional areas (from the efficacy of marketing and brand strength to how the P&L may change under different scenarios) that will contribute to improved business strength and performance during the holding period.

Getting Ready for an IPO or to Raise Capital in Private Markets?

In the fast-paced world of global foodservice, the journey towards an IPO (or raising capital in private markets) is a multifaceted endeavor. At Aaron Allen & Associates, we’ve been engaged in some profoundly enriching dialogues that exemplify our commitment to paving the way for success in this dynamic sector.

Our approach is meticulous yet adaptive; we deeply understand that no two enterprises are the same. As we guide emerging and established brands through the complexities of IPO preparedness, operational excellence, and cultural transformation, we’re reminded that the heart of strategic improvement lies in the confluence of data-driven insights and human-centric implementation.

The recent exchanges with executive leadership across the globe have reinforced a truth we always hold dear: the brilliance of an enterprise shines brightest when strategy and operations dance in harmony. This is the essence we bring into every engagement—blending the precision of Wall Street acumen with the operational finesse of Main Street dynamism.

There Are Many Right Ways Forward…

For those on the cusp of exponential growth or gearing up for public offering, remember that the journey is as significant as the destination. This is what we live for at AA&A—fostering environments where companies can thrive, cultures can flourish, and value is not just added but multiplied.

If this resonates with your vision for transformation, let’s connect and explore the vast horizons of possibility together.

Looking for Opportunities in Emerging Markets?

In the restaurant industry, public companies in emerging markets such as India and China are reaching significantly higher Price to Earnings ratios than mature markets like Europe or the U.S.

India current price to earnings is 3.7 times the U.S. values, and China is 2.6 times. At the same time, emerging markets are expected to continue to grow at a significantly higher pace than mature markets.

When acquiring a company, paying a high valuation may be justified given growth prospects but it can also be particularly risky. Before buying into any size chain, it’s important to do due diligence to be sure investors have a high likelihood of recouping their investment during the intended holding period.

“Service Is Above Us, Not Beneath Us”©

In the bustling world of hospitality, where efficiency and speed often take the forefront, it’s the warmth of human connection that truly defines our industry. Remember the last time you were greeted with a genuine smile after a long journey, or when a staff member went out of their way to make your day a little brighter? It’s these moments of kindness and compassion that stay with us long after we’ve returned home.

Hospitality is not just a business; it’s a heartfelt service built on respect, empathy, and humility. It’s about creating a home away from home for our guests, making them feel valued and cared for. This is the magic ingredient that transforms a good experience into an unforgettable one. It’s a powerful reminder that service, in its purest form, is above us, not beneath us. Let’s continue to spread this kindness, one guest at a time. Because in the end, the heart of hospitality is all about connecting hearts. 💖

How We Help You

Aaron Allen & Associates advises restaurant industry operators, investors, and suppliers with clients spanning 6-continents and more than 100 countries. Discover some of our services and the ways we help with: Private EquityValuationsDue DiligenceRestaurant ResearchGrowth & ExpansionPerformance OptimizationM&A AdvisoryReceivershipsOperating PartnerHotel F&BRestaurant SuppliersMiddle East.

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