Aaron Allen & Associates is a global strategy firm focused exclusively on the foodservice and hospitality industry.

From insights to ideation to implementation, we bring practical and relevant experience ranging from the dish room to the boardroom.​

For 20 years, our firm has connected the dots and helped many of the world's largest foodservice companies solve their greatest challenges

We identify and benchmark the KPIs that foodservice companies will be measured by in the future

We develop value enhancement strategies throughout all phases of the business and investment lifecycle

We co-create private equity investment plans that maximize returns for all parties involved

We build multi-national development plans for cross-border expansion

We implement an expansion roadmap that is appropriate for a constantly-evolving industry

We understand the factors that will minimize a brand’s potential risk exposure

We structure M&A transactions with the highest probability of long-term value creation

We define what technologies are needed for future success and which may be leapfrogged

We identify and benchmark the KPIs that foodservice companies will be measured by in the future

We implement an expansion roadmap that is appropriate for a constantly-evolving industry

We develop value enhancement strategies throughout all phases of the business and investment lifecycle

We understand the factors that will minimize a brand’s potential risk exposure

We co-create private equity investment plans that maximize returns for all parties involved

We structure M&A transactions with the highest probability of long-term value creation

We build multi-national development plans for cross-border expansion

We define what technologies are needed for future success and which may be leapfrogged

Who We Serve

We serve in a strategic advisory capacity to emerging and established restaurant brands, hotel chains, industry suppliers, technology companies, private equity firms, institutional investors, trade associations and other entities with interests and stakes in the future of foodservice.

Chain Operators

We work with restaurant operators across all segments, categories, cuisines, alternative formats, and phases of the business lifecycle, including startups, emerging, established, mature, and declining brands.

Investors

We support all phases of the foodservice investment process, from sector analyses and deal​ sourcing to commercial and operational due diligence to post-merger integration plans and exit strategies to maximize returns.

Technology Partners

We help foodservice technology companies optimize their platforms to better address industry needs, connect with operators, and accelerate value creation strategies.

Suppliers

We make suppliers better partners for foodservice companies, including insights about key industry trends and what's influencing decision-making among both consumers and key accounts.

HOW WE HELP

The foodservice industry is undergoing a period of unprecedented disruption. We start with industry forces and consumer behavior and add operating and financial data to deliver next-generation KPIs that provide actionable ideas.

Our growth and expansion strategies can increase transaction frequency, add new sales layers, accelerate unit growth, create innovative concepts, and penetrate new markets while sustaining value over the long-term.

Performance Optimization

Most restaurants bleed profits unnecessarily. There are short-, mid-, and long-term performance solutions, but we help to identify which will increase cash flow, create value, and secure a brand’s future. 

We identify and mitigate risks associated with competitive and disruptive threats to reinvigorate a brand’s relevance. Our approach offers a fresh perspective for corporate communication, earned media and publicity, and brand reputation management.

With record levels of dry powder, we expect PE companies will continue to target foodservice companies. We support the full investment lifecycle from investment thesis ideation to post-acquisition integration to ensure that risk is contained, and value is maximized through exit.

We expect foodservice M&A activity to accelerate post-Covid, and we know how to increase the likelihood of a successful transaction. We’ve been supporting buy- and sell-side due diligence throughout the U.S., Europe, and MENA, especially in middle-market transactions.

International Strategy

Informed by broad, global experience and deep, local expertise, we can help overcome the challenges of regional supply chains, complying with customs and labor laws, and developing marketing strategies and tactics designed to resonate with regional cultures and audiences. We’ve worked extensively with foodservice companies across the MENA market as they adapt to a “new normal.”

Consumers now expect foodservice companies to provide them with the same kind of experience that technology companies do. We help our clients understand what technology is needed to modernize marketing capabilities, improve consumer experiences, and make their businesses smarter, while which do not deliver on their promises

HOW WE WORK

There are four primary ways we structure work and teams. The drivers are based on the number and seniority levels of team members, time, travel, granularity of analysis (from anecdotal to quantitative), size of the system and geographies included in the purview, economies gained by sequencing with other work streams, and other technical requirements necessary to deliver on intended outcomes.

Short-term sprints that can be completed in 15–45 days. Strategy sessions, feasibility studies, second opinions, market landscape reports, assessments and advisory not requiring fieldwork, site visits, or more than three (3) Associates to be involved with deliverables presented electronically and telephonically or at our offices in Chicago.

Typically 6–12 weeks with a dedicated Engagement Manager and multi-disciplined team of 5–12 Associates with requirements for travel, fieldwork and site visits, in-person presentations, and comprehensive work product such as long-range corporate plans, commercial and operational due diligence, and enterprise-level diagnostics and performance optimization program development.

After the completion of a first phase project or engagement, we typically structure subsequent work for on-going advisory services and implementation support on a retainer basis in 6– 24-month commitments. Dedicated resources and support functions are applied (ranging from the assignment of a support coordinator to an outsourced C-suite executive or in-market practice area leaders stationed at the client location).

In select cases, we engage on a gain-share basis with blended compensation models that put some fees at risk in exchange for stock, equity, revenue, or profit share. These partnerships fully leverage our global know-how and know-who and are often best suited when we serve as an operating partner (including working with private equity firms acquiring and growing restaurant chains or partnering with foodservice technology companies to support expansion). These arrangements can be complicated and time-consuming to co-create based on defined targets and timelines, so we only move forward with such an arrangement after first completing an initial project or engagement. 

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Or give us a call at
+1-312-701-3500

Serving clients around the globe from our offices in Chicago and Central Florida