FACES: Gaining a Unique View of Our Customers

By Joel Friedman  |  Posted 2010-04-05

How to Optimize Sales with Location Intelligence Technology

To optimize sales at Shoeless Joe's, we realized we needed to expand into new markets and reinvent Shoeless Joe's as a sport-themed, casual restaurant with a bar element. As a result, we set out to open eight new locations in 2009 and an additional 10 to 15 restaurants in 2010. To achieve this aggressive expansion strategy in a tough and competitive market, we work with Pitney Bowes Business Insight's (PBBI) location intelligence solutions and consulting services to acquire the insight needed to accurately position Shoeless Joe's based on market and consumer trends.

Shoeless Joe's is the first company in Canada to implement FACES (Faster, Accurate, Current Economical Surveys), a new mobile consumer survey system provided by PBBI and LandPoint Systems, Inc. FACES enables us to collect customer data at the point of experience (for example, while patrons are awaiting their bill). Traditionally, restaurants have relied on the time-consuming and challenging process of using pen and paper to conduct surveys.

FACES is fast, easy and less intrusive than previous surveys. The new system also provides a more professional method for surveying our customers and makes the experience more interactive and fun, both for the surveyor and our diners.

In addition to FACES, Shoeless Joe's also implemented PBBI's AnySite to help us gain greater insights from our data when making critical business decisions. AnySite is a subscription-based, Web-enabled site location and market analysis tool that offers demographic, lifestyle, and expenditure data and mapping capabilities.

AnySite Online

AnySite Online

Shoeless Joe's uses AnySite Online to conduct sales forecasting on a particular site when deciding whether or not to purchase it. AnySite also provides Shoeless Joe's with greater insight on the characteristics of the site and how it would fit into the company's overall portfolio. Shoeless Joe's was able to integrate AnySite seamlessly into our existing IT infrastructure, working closely with PBBI. Since AnySite is an Internet-based application, it doesn't require additional IT infrastructure.

It's not uncommon for real estate departments to operate without all the tools needed to understand their concepts. Decisions on locations may be based on well-developed instincts or a hunch. Location Intelligence, however, provides Shoeless Joe's with a solid foundation when deciding where we want to grow and helps us identify areas that match our vision.

PBBI's site selection model pinpoints the top zones to concentrate site selections offerings. We also have our own customer site selection model loaded into AnySite that enables us to map and report on potential sites before engaging PBBI for a more in-depth study. As a result, we can optimize our operations with major efficiencies in both time and money.

After we've conducted FACES surveys in a new restaurant, the data is processed and added to the descriptive store database by PBBI. The additional data is used by the site selection and sales forecasting system. The data, which provides greater insight into customer habits based on location, helps us continue to refine our expansion and branding efforts.

PBBI also provides Shoeless Joe's with consulting services, providing feedback on the company's expansion plans. A PBBI consultant regularly attends Shoeless Joe's real estate meetings. PBBI has years of experience helping restaurants evaluate potential locations and develop expansion plans.

FACES: Gaining a Unique View of Our Customers

FACES: Gaining a unique view of our customers

FACES enabled us to gain greater insights into our customers in an efficient, non-intrusive way. For the initial project, we selected four restaurant locations to implement FACES. The consumer survey includes 10 questions regarding from where the customer originated and where the customer is heading to next.

Questions also include items such as the customer's spending patterns and frequency of visits to Shoeless Joe's. After rolling out FACES, the new survey process was so successful that we decided to implement it in all of our locations.

At some point during their visit, our patrons are interviewed by one of our employees using a customizable survey. On busy nights, one to two staff members are responsible for going table to table and facilitating the survey using the electronic mobile device. The questionnaires help us to capture customer data more quickly and efficiently with digital technology-electronic handheld devices, PDAs or smartphones.

With FACES, we can routinely make adjustments to our survey questions, enabling us to keep our target customer profile up-to-date and readily available when making important decisions (such as where to open a new restaurant or where to aid in local marketing efforts).

Working with PBBI, Shoeless Joe's has the tools to analyze the competition, gain a better understanding of its target customer, and carefully evaluate potential areas for expansion. PBBI also enables FACES to geo-code the customer's point of origin using a Canadian post code or point on a map, drill down into the neighborhood level, and generate an in-depth customer profile based on lifestyle characteristics and demographic attributes.

Combining Consumer Surveys with Location Intelligence

Combining consumer surveys with location intelligence

A combination of cutting-edge consumer surveys and Location Intelligence solutions such as AnySite Online help Shoeless Joe's to make informed decisions about areas in which to expand, and to identify and reach potential customers.

With FACES, Shoeless Joe's has been able to create a more streamlined process for collecting customer data, cataloguing it in a secure database, conducting sophisticated analysis, and delivering actionable insight to help us make informed decisions regarding real estate, marketing, merchandising and branding. As a result, Shoeless Joe's has the power of consumer insight at our fingertips, which helps ensure that our marketing and advertising dollars are reaching our target audience.

Shoeless Joe's is looking forward to continuing its partnership with PBBI in rolling out its 10 new restaurants, and when researching and planning any additional new locations. With PBBI technology, we've achieved our overall goal of creating an expansion plan that has a solid foundation of up-to-date data and analysis versus relying on gut instincts or hunches. FACES enables us to constantly update our consumer demographic profile, ensuring that the brand continues to hit the mark.

As we near our 25 years in business, we also have older sites that need to be revived to ensure consistency with our brands. Also, as we continue to add new sites, FACES will play an important role in collecting this data and feeding it back into our market optimization model. Looking towards the future, we are confident we have the tools and knowledge we need to continue to successfully expand and move Shoeless Joe's Limited brand forward.

Joel Friedman is Senior Vice President of Franchising at Shoeless Joe's. Joel also serves on the CFA's Ontario Associate Committee. Prior to joining Shoeless Joe's, Joel worked with Prime Restaurants in a variety of roles including senior sales, strategic development and non-traditional channels. While at Prime, Joel was responsible for developing new franchise ownership strategies for all restaurants franchised by Prime Restaurants (Casey's, East Side Mario's and Prime Pubs). Joel was responsible for new franchise deals, establishing and improving existing processes, and was the point of contact for banks on all financing. Joel was also a member of the corporate brand development committee and the approval board. He can be reached at jfriedman@shoelessjoes.ca.

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