GIS FOR RESTAURANTS – GIS for Business and Service Planning

Among fast-food chain restaurants such as McDonald’s and Burger King, the most visible and vocal users of GIS are at Arby’s. Among a variety of applications used at Arby’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, Arby’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. Arby’s is careful not to “cannibalize” 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 competitors’ customers, and so they carefully analyse their competitors’ existing locations in comparison with their own.