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Trade Area Surveys

Updated on August 8, 2018

Restaurant Trade Area Surveys

I have over 41 years of experience in mapping the trade area of restaurants, perhaps the most experience of anyone in the country (a comment I do not make lightly) . Nearly all of those years I've been providing full service, turnkey, Trade Area Research projects, to large national fast food chains; twice acting as the designated national supplier of services for trade area surveys - including designing the procedure manual for such research. I've conducted, literally, hundreds of restaurant research projects. My services included making attrition estimates for NEW units based on the research data of the existing stores customer base. Commonly called - CANNIBALIZATION research. Sales Transfer research. New Location Research.Customer Profile Research.

And now the real good news - I have written a step by step guide to conducting your own marketing research study and it is available immediately below on this page. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO BORROW THIS BOOK FOR FREE IF YOU ARE A MEMBER OF AMAZON PRIME. My book is now available in softcover too.

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Restaurant Trade Area Research - The Step By Step Guide
Restaurant Trade Area Research - The Step By Step Guide

Book Description

Publication Date: September 10, 2012

Rick Phillips brings his experience as a designated Trade Area Survey supplier for two major fast food companies to this step by step guide to Restaurant Cannibalization Research. Indeed, this guide will provide the knowledge needed to conduct a professional marketing research project even to the novice restaurant owner who has never conducted any marketing research.

The guide includes everything from a sample questionnaire used for restaurant cannibalization projects, to setting sampling quotas, to instructions for how to create a Trade Area Map. This book also includes a step by step guide to training the interviewers for the project and instructions for their interactions with your customers to obtain the data for your decision making.

Then, the book provides that vital analysis of the cannibalization study that only an experienced marketing researcher can provide; including what to do IF your restaurant is involved in a `hostile development' situation. Indeed, the strategies outlined in this book could provide you with insights into developing your market with the least impact from new locations.

So, if your needs are to know potential cannibalization to an existing restaurant, or even impacts to multiple restaurants from multiple possible new locations - this is the book for you. The book that can save you thousands of dollars, the book that may save your restaurant from infringement and needless attrition.



Frequently Asked Questions

About Trade Area Surveys And Market Profile Studies

Q.Why are Trade Area Surveys (TAS's) conducted?

A. The most common reason for a franchisee is the desire to understand ones marketbase better before market expansion or contraction. With the cost of land and the uncertainness of the overall economy, to not conduct preliminary research could be VERY costly in the long run. Trade area surveys show specifically what local markets still need penetration.

Q. Why else?

A. Often a franchisee is `told' of expansion that will involve a new unit that may infringe on the customer base of the franchisee store - in these circumstances Trade Area Research is conducted often to determine potential `attrition' or `cannibalization' that may occur to the existing restaurant.

Q. Can Trade Area Surveys determine cannibalization?

A. The short answer is yes - within plus or minus ranges - for the `answer' the research produces. That said, the variables needed for a good research project are substantial - which is why you need Rick Phillips for your project.

Q. You say that you know the `corporate' side of TAS's?

A. Yes, as the supplier for two major fast food chains I was the `honest broker' brought in to settle the matter via research. So, I know the `corporate' side.

Q. But, you also say you conduct these for franchisee's too?

A. Absolutely. Sometimes, often even, it's one franchisee vs another - and `corporate' is looking for the mediator.

Q. Can doing Trade Area Surveys protect my franchise?

A. Yes. Sometimes a franchisee is given a period to conduct research before a `problem' site is submitted to corporate.

Q. Are you familiar with WHO pays in these circumstanses for the trade research? Specifically when it is one franchisee vs another?

A. I am familiar with how multiple fast food companies do it. I can consult you in this matter.

Q. Actually, I'm in the market to SELL my restaurant - should I do TAS research?

A. Absolutely; it would be like providing the new owner with a sales map and increases the perception of value.


Click The Link Or The Picture To Read A Sample Of My Book

How I Can Help You, The Fast Food Restaurant Owner

The How, How Much, And How Long Will It Take Section

Q. I came to this site from one of your ads - how can you help my restaurant?

A. First, my restaurant knowledge is significant as the restaurant research I've conducted nearly always involves customer profiles, operations, and menu questions in addition to trade area information. So, if what you want to know involves your operations, menu, customer profile or trade area - I have words of consulting for you.

Q. How else?

A. First, if you want phone consulting - I will be happy to provide that and even credit it towards a research study if that is the route you end up taking. The phone consulting can be a one time shot -- or -- I'll be happy to `talk' you thru the entire project that you do yourself.

Q. How else?

A. I can provide any level of the research that you desire from just phone consulting - to conducting the entire project including questionnaire design, interviewing, coding and tabulation, crosstabs and analysis, with recommendations. Generally, I can return to your market for an on-site review of the research results too.

Q. How else?

A. Perhaps you would just like me to come to your market and look at a prospective site and evaluate it? I'd be happy to - I've done research in 100's of fast food restaurants and can give you a heads up, independent evaluation, of a proposed site you may be considering. Sharing with you all the factors I've seen that make a successful fast food restaurant.

Q. How much does all this cost?

A. Obviously, a phone consultation is the cheapest and a full service project the most expensive. Perhaps the best advice I sell in my phone consultations is the advice on WHAT IS THE RIGHT SAMPLE SIZE TO DETERMINE CANNIBALIZATION? My answer can save you thousands in the project.

Q. Again, how much does this cost?

A. The first 10 minute phone consultation is free. Or, you can have the first phone consultation be for 20 minutes for a price of - 50.00. This could be the best 50 dollars you spend on your store this year. Oh, I'm a friendly person, we will chit-chat before your time begins and I will tell you when....please, leave a message if you do not reach me directly.

Q. What could I learn from you about my business in 10 minutes?

A. 1)How trade area surveys can pinpoint the best areas of development in a market and the areas that could cause the most attrition to existing units.

2) How trade area surveys have pinpointed specific characteristics that need to be fulfilled to have a high grossing restaurant.

3)You can learn who should pay for expansion research in your market when the expander isn't you.

4)I will give you private inside crosstab information about demographic profiles you need for your instore business AND your drive-thru business.

5)I can tell you the sample size you need for the research.

6)I can tell you what the questions need to be on the questionnaire and the exact wording and sequence.

7)I can tell you how many folks you will need to do this interviewing at your store with your customers and how many hours it will take them to do the interviewing.

8)I can tell you how the sample should be divided by factors involving weekday VS weekend and FOUR other characteristics -- WHICH IF IS NOT PART OF YOUR SAMPLE -- THE SAMPLE IS USELESS.

9)I can tell you the IMPORTANT operation QUESTIONS to ask your customers.

10)I can advise you what factors need to be looked at in a cannibalization analysis.

11)I can advise you as to what is considered `acceptable' cannibalization.

Q. What is the MarketView Planner?

A. Consider it an overview of the specifications for a Trade Area Project + Full Marketing Project that includes menu census, demographics and operation ratings. This document is mailed to you - it costs 50.00.

Q. You say that you have a TAS Manual too?

A. Yes, similar to what I provided to TWO major fast food restaurants for their national program. The TAS manual can be purchased separately for 150.00 and will take you step thru step in your project.

Q. I've heard that it is possible, if I do it myself, and just do a `hand tab' on the important results - that I can find out the possible attrition to my store - based on a proposed unit -- for about 1,000.00 or so, (I've heard that it depends on what I pay my employees doing the sample) and have a viable sample that is believable.

A. Using me as a consultant, and your legwork and personnel, YES, you could find out info for that cost. BUT, such a study would normally NOT pass the muster in a franchisee vs franchisee situation or vs corporate. That said, this could give YOU the real heads up for a fraction of the cost from corporate concerning a new unit placement.

That said, every layer you added on - such as real `data processing', such as having briefed and real `professional interviewing', such as having `crosstabs of info', such as having `real analysis', would also add GREAT value.

But, the bottom line is to get ONE answer, untabulated, the price can truly be minimal.

Q. Ok let's say that I want to use your services totally - from start to finish -- I've heard from various restaurant owners that this can cost 5,000 or more, even much more, per store - is that true?

A. While I won't get into specifics - in 2007 as an example - I conducted a full MarketView for 14 stores in a market for under 30,000 dollars - one in which we `tested' 11 potential new locations for expansion. So, 14 stores for under 30K is possible - it can be the best marketing and real estate spending you ever do.

Q. How long does a TAS take?

A. Depends on scheduling, let's talk.

Super Customized National Trade Area Research

When Only The Best Will Do

Q. Wait a moment. I don't have time to do ANY of this -- I would need someone to take care of EVERYTHING - The Design, Interviewing, Crosstabs and Analysis - can you do all that?

A. I've been doing all that since 1984. I've conducted TAS's in over 20 states, provided all services at the personal level. All for a turnkey price that includes everything, even travel.

Q. I assume that you are expensive?

A. NO, my vertical structure permits my prices to remain competitive with other agencies that will `send in' untrained interviewers into your store. Whereas, I have literally trained scores of interviewers who have interviewed thousands of customers finding starting points on maps. Or, for slightly more, you can have the very best - and I will interview your customer base. Most serious customers do this route for quality control and using my skills is what I recommend.

`Attrition numbers' are VERY serious business.

Call or Contact

Reaching Rick Phillips

My Cell - 678-467-8650 (leave a message if you don't reach me directly)

E-Mail me at ---> or or

Street Level Restaurant Views - My Video Research Service

This is an example of Top Of Mind Research - conducted with REAL people in a spontaneous setting. Tara is not a big fan of Fast Food, find out why. (BTW, you can enter the words top-of-mind-restaurant into YouTube and the top 6 choices are my videos; each of the six answer questions specifically about Arby's, Chic-Fil-A, and Subway for your comparison.)

You can see MORE of my Restaurant Research by hitting the M4ever below the video shown. Thanks.

Tara - Top Of Mind

Greg - Heavy Fast Food User - 50 Years Old

Greg is a very articulate fast food user - your time will be well spent listening to Greg.

Greg, 45, Top Of Mind Restaurant Interview

So, if you have an inquiry about your restaurant situation - please feel free to contact me directly in this manner. Please include your contact info in your contact to me. I will be happy to answer some questions for you in this manner too - Some Free Advice while we set up a business relationship.

You Can Also Contact Me Privately Thru This Guest Comment Form - All Comments Are `Approved' By Me Before Appearing

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    • anomalyman profile imageAUTHOR

      H.R. Phillips 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      @jeffersonline: Notimetouluse - I have been working on exactly that and indeed my E-Book may be available by the end of the day - really. Thanks for giving me some extra confidence in this regard.


    • jeffersonline profile image


      6 years ago

      Ever thought of putting all your experience together in Createspace/Lulu/eBook Rick? There must be hundreds of restaurant managers/wannabees out there that are looking for the stuff you've learned over the years


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