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Data Quality Biggest Challenge in Finding Restaurant Franchise Sites

December 10, 2013, 06:30 AM
Filed Under: Franchise Finance

Restaurant franchise owners looking to grow their portfolios say that obtaining quality data is their biggest problem when looking for new sites, according to a recent survey by GE Capital, Franchise Finance (GEFF).

Sixty-six percent of survey respondents say improving the quality of the data available to them would be most important, while 21 percent would instead save time spent on site selection. Other aspects of the process are seen as less challenging, including the expense, the effort of collecting information and the quantity of data available.

More than half of survey respondents (51 percent) said the most important factor in selecting real estate is the presence of so-called traffic generators — large businesses, airports, hospitals and hotels, for example. The second-most important factor is the competitive landscape, which was selected by 21 percent.

In response to these issues, GE Capital has been developing a digital tool called SmartChart™, which provides insight into a variety of criteria that are often evaluated during the site selection process. These include local traffic generators, as well as major franchises already operating in the area and customized demographic reports. SmartChart is available to franchisees that finance through GEFF.

“Selecting the right location for new units is time-consuming but that’s changing,” said Agustin Carcoba, the leader of GEFF. “Technology has significantly improved every step of the process. SmartChart helps our operators examine the demographics down to any zip code. They can also survey the competitive landscape surrounding a potential site.”

“Easing access to data and shortening the time needed for site selection are just two of the ways we help entrepreneurs who are building their businesses,” Carcoba added.

The food industry survey was conducted Nov. 4-6. The 33 respondents were composed of franchise restaurant owner/operators (60 percent); independent restaurant executives (18 percent); C-level decision makers in a restaurant franchise (12 percent); and other industry participants (12 percent). Forty percent of respondents operate quick-service restaurants, while 36 percent operate fast casual units.

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