Case Study: Pluckers Wing Bar
Type of retailer: Sports Bar, Fast Casual Restaurant, Chicken Wings
Number of locations: 20+
Problem: Pluckers’ location growth is constrained by their ability to get comfortable with new/unfamiliar markets. Their broker’s interests aren’t aligned with theirs, and they don’t trust value-add service providers to fill-in their knowledge gaps.
Solution: IdealSpot, through better data, unlocked/unblocked their growth by helping them understand the demand for their product/service in their targeted cities instead of relying on, according to them, “fortune telling”. They are now fast-tracking their growth plans.
Top 3 take-aways:
1. Demographics only tell you WHAT people look like, not WHO they are and what they want to purchase.
2. Predicting success or revenue at a location using only demographic data is impossible because there is often no single demographic profile that describes your customers.
3. By mapping in-market demand and purchase intent for a particular product or service in a neighborhood, IdealSpot provides Pluckers with a “treasure map” to where their ideal customers are.
Pluckers Wing Bar is one of the highest customer rated sports bars/chicken wing restaurants in the US according to Yelp and Google Places, and one of the highest industry rated sports bars by US Today and ESPN (just to name a few). Pluckers is not limited by capital when it comes to growth, but by their comfort level in evaluating opportunities in unfamiliar markets. Unfortunately, as they continue to grow, it takes the Pluckers team an increasing amount of time to get comfortable and make confident location decisions. Pluckers wants to quickly familiarize themselves with the area, which currently forces them to rely more and more on their brokers and expensive consultants to fill in their knowledge gaps.
Hence the problem. Brokers are incentivised to lease a location and Pluckers doesn’t trust predictive revenue models from so-called experts in the industry.
That said, many retailers and restaurant owners still rely on their commerical real estate brokers and hire expensive consultants to help them fill-in knowledge gaps or build a bespoke model that claims to predict success or revenue at a location.
This is a fool’s errand and Pluckers knows it.
Let’s first tackle the “Demographic deficiency”
Pluckers has successful locations near college campuses, blue-collar neighborhoods, older downtown districts undergoing rapid renovation, and established retail corridors. Simply put, there is no single demographic profile that Plucker can use to find and evaluate locations. Pluckers is not alone in this dilemma. Most retailers and restauranteurs have people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and cultures walking through their doors. Relying on a single demographic profile to find ideal locations limits Pluckers options, and slows their growth.
This lack of clarity in how to proceed is caused by the fundamental flaw of demographics. Demographics only tell you WHAT people look like, not WHO they are and what they enjoy. For instance, demographics tell you things like age, ethnicity, and education level. They don’t tell you who likes wings, who visits sports bars, or who enjoys drinking a few beers with their friends while they watch the game. Another issue with demographics is that you are only counted where you sleep, not where you travel, and not where you meet with friends to unwind.
Pluckers, like most growing brands, had everyone show up on their doorstep selling the latest version of the “crystal ball” when it came to predicting revenue for a location.
Some growing brands bite—Pluckers didn’t. Instead, they proposed a simple test. Pluckers provided revenues from half of their locations and asked for performance predictions on the remaining half. Occasionally, a 3rd party got lucky on a location or two, but no company was able to consistently predict location performance.
The problem simply comes down to there are too many variables. While choosing the right location is certainly important, just as important, in many cases, is: the manager, number of parking spots, street visibility, access, build-out, quality of service, etc. etc. etc.
Pluckers growth plan was stuck in first gear because they knew that relying solely on demographics are not enough, and revenue prediction models are not accurate. They had to rely on the painstaking process of getting familiar with every market targeted for expansion.
This all changed when the Pluckers team discovered IdealSpot. According to Sean Greenberg, owner of Pluckers, “IdealSpot gave us the ability to quickly evaluate new markets and potential locations. By helping us understand who wants our product, and where these people are, on-top of the basics like demographics and traffic counts, we were able to quickly evaluate opportunities in new markets and make confident site selection decisions”.
Sean doesn’t care about the age, ethnicity, education level, or gender of any customer that walks through his doors. He just cares that they like wings, enjoy wall-to-wall tv screens showing all sports all the time, and they like trivia night.
IdealSpot provided Sean with this critical insight into WHO wants wings. WHO likes sports bars. WHO likes fast casual dining. WHO likes to drink beer with their friends during the weekdays.
IdealSpot maps actual purchase intent for products and services—in real-time, across the US.
After subscribing to the IdealSpot platform, over the next 24 months, Pluckers will add another 6 locations—a 25% increase in their number of locations.
Now, going forward, Pluckers can focus on maintaining their high level of quality of service and not obsessing over whether neighborhood “A” vs neighborhood “B” is more ripe for their product/service—IdealSpot has the answer.