GIS FOR RESTAURANTS – GIS for Business and Service Planning

Among fast-food chain restaurants such as McDonaldโ€™s and Burger King, the most visible and vocal users of GIS are at Arbyโ€™s. Among a variety of applications used at Arbyโ€™s is one that uses drive time to establish the likely trade area for an existing or potential store (Freeling 1993). In the fast-food business, customers are likely to be attracted more to the convenience of the product than to its gourmet appeal. It is, therefore, important to look at a trade area from the perspective of drive-time accessibility. Like many retailers, Arbyโ€™s personnel know how long someone will drive to access their product. In addition, they are familiar with the demographic characteristics of their typical customers. By analysing the demographics of a trade area established by using drive times, the likely sales performance for a store can be modelled. Arbyโ€™s is careful not to โ€œcannibalizeโ€ an existing store when developing a new store. Cannibalizing means taking customers from one of their existing stores. Cannibalization should be avoided since a new store should increase overall business, not spread it around. By the same token, they are very eager to take away their competitorsโ€™ customers, and so they carefully analyse their competitorsโ€™ existing locations in comparison with their own.