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Data quality plays a role in forming restaurateurs' strategies

Richard Jones

December 13, 2013

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Data quality plays a key role in helping business leaders make decisions every day. In retail, it helps vendors make personalized sales pitches, and in health care, it enables firms to deliver better customer service. But accurate data does more than just help companies take more precise actions in their day-to-day operations. It also empowers entrepreneurs to make better big-picture decisions.

Consider the case of a restaurateur looking to open a new eatery location. It can be difficult to decide where exactly to set up shop. There's a lot to know about each potential locale - what's the demand for food like there? What types of cuisine to people like? What's the economic climate? Who are the competitors?

A restaurant owner needs answers for all of these questions before taking action. Going on inaccurate information can be a devastating mistake - the company might sink millions into an initiative that's doomed from the start.

According to 4-Traders, leaders in the restaurant industry are taking notice of the need for higher levels of data quality. A recent survey by GE Capital, Franchise Finance, a leading provider of financing for restaurant owners, found that 66 percent of entrepreneurs say that improving data quality would be the best way to improve their site selection strategies. Furthermore, 21 percent of respondents cited a need to save time as a key factor.

"Selecting the right location for new units is time-consuming, but that's changing," GEFF leader Agustin Carcoba told 4-Traders. "Technology has significantly improved every step of the process."

Why specifically is data quality a key concern? There are a couple of reasons GEFF isolated in its recent poll.

Building up traffic
Ideally, entrepreneurs would like to open new establishments in locations that are already prone to large amounts of foot traffic. Data, of course, can help assess this. In GEFF's survey, 51 percent of respondents said they need to seek out "traffic generators" in the area - such as large businesses, airports, hospitals and hotels - before setting up shop.

Scoping the competition
Another important thing to assess is the competitive landscape. If you're looking to open a hamburger restaurant in a given neighborhood, you need to be armed with the facts - how many burger joints are already present in the area, how successful they've been, and what their prices look like. According to GEFF, this is the primary concern among 21 percent of prospective restaurateurs.

Business owners rely heavily on intuition when making big decisions, but thanks to the rise of modern technology, data can help as well. High levels of quality are essential, though.

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