Global Restaurant
Industry Strategy

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.​

Specialized Advisory Services

Clients come to us to solve their most complex challenges and achieve their most ambitious aims.

We help executive teams bridge the gap between what’s happening inside and outside the business and support with imagining, articulating, and realizing a compelling vision of the future, aligning and cascading resources, and engaging and enrolling shareholders and stakeholders alike to develop multi-year roadmaps that move current-state conditions to future-state ambitions. Our core competencies include:

Analytics

Development

Diagnostics

Econometrics

Expansion

Feasibility

Ideation

Implementation

M&A

Marketing

Menus

Operations

Planning

Technology

Trends

Turnarounds

Who We Serve

We serve in a strategic advisory capacity to leaders of leading emerging and established restaurant brands, hotel chains, industry suppliers, technology companies, private equity firms, institutional investors, and other entities with interests and stakes in the future of foodservice. Our clients, past or present, include multibillion-dollar restaurant chains, hotels, manufacturers, associations and prestigious private equity firms.

Chain Operators

Working with chained restaurants and hotel food and beverage operators across all segments, categories, cuisines, alternative formats, and phases of the business lifecycle (startups, emerging, established, mature, and declining brands).

Investors

Supporting all phases of the investment lifecycle, from sector analyses and deal​ sourcing to commercial and operational due diligence to post-merger integration plans, value creation strategies, and exit strategies to maximize returns.

Technology

Helping foodservice technology providers communicate and connect with operators, helping translate the ​benefits of their products and services.

Suppliers

Providing insight into what's on the mind of operators and what's influencing decision-making among both consumers and key accounts.

HOW WE HELP

  • CORPORATE STRATEGY
    With as fast as the consumer, competition, technology, and disruptive forces are moving and influencing the industry overall, executive teams are wise to bring in quantitative data and objective analysis about what is happening both inside and outside the business. We deliver rich insights and industry intelligence to help inform corporate decision-making and strategy.
  • COST OPTIMIZATION
    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 investigate further — identifying areas of opportunity through the application of analytical approaches, to quantify where value is trapped or hidden in a business. We look at major cost drivers (historically, current-state, and future-state) to determine how those can be made more efficient. While the aim is to improve profitability, to ensure a business is as productive as possible, it’s also about ensuring the best blend of what the concept, brand, and consumer needs.
  • 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?
  • MARKETING
    We believe great marketing just kills a bad operation faster, and specialize in developing holistic and integrated approaches for driving awareness, engagement, and revenue growth. Equally comfortable and competent in both B2B and B2C marketing and promotional strategy, we build strategy from the bottom up and inside out; from store-level merchandising to modernized neighborhood marketing, to national and multi-national product and brand launches.
  • BRAND STRATEGY
    Refresh and revitalize. Restore relevance and reverence. Both the tech and restaurant industries share the same consumer, so it’s time the restaurant industry started getting used to the idea of continuous innovation. We help companies reinvigorate excitement for the brand, both internally and externally.
  • DUE DILIGENCE
    Evaluating a foodservice acquisition target? We specialize in middle-market commercial and operational due diligence drawing on deep sector experience; harnessing insights from the global perspective right down to the granularity of transaction-level data analysis to precisely measure a target and model value creation opportunities.
  • SALES-BUILDING STRATEGIES
    Are you experiencing flat or declining sales and need to jump-start revenue at a system- and unit-level? 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). We build brand-centric strategies and support sales-building initiatives from diagnostics through development and deployment.
  • MENU STRATEGY
    The fastest and surest way to improve sales, margins, the guest experience, and brand relevance is through effective menu strategy. We help with quantitative analysis led by data scientists; incorporate findings into new product, pricing, presentation, and positioning recommendations. Working with your designers, we provide menu engineering insights (placement, descriptions, menu psychology, behavioral economics, industrial engineering principles, etc.) to showcase and improve menu merchandising, resulting in an immediate impact for same-store sales growth and meaningful margin improvements.

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. 

READY TO START?
WE'RE HERE TO SERVE.

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

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