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More Than Just Great Food: Factors Influencing Customer Traffic in Restaurants

October 5th, 2009

Team: Emily Moravec, Megan Siems, Christine Van Horn
Faculty advisor:  Dr. Siems  Year: 2009
Documents: Final report (Word), Final presentation (PPT)

Although our client is a world leader in casual dining, the company experienced a decrease in overall customer traffic from one year to the next at one of the specific casual dining brands. As the company invested time and money into marketing campaigns for this restaurant chain throughout the year, they were interested in what caused the overall percent change in customer traffic from the first half of fiscal year 2008 (from now on referred to as 1HF08) to the first half of the fiscal year 2009 (1HF09) to be -3.74%.

To examine this issue, our team used a multiple linear regression analysis to analyze the effects of marketing campaigns as well as economic factors inflencing customer traffic. By comparing the marketing campaigns and economic factors of 1HF08 and 1HF09, our goal was to find what variables had the most significant effect on either driving or dragging customer traffic. As an additional investigation, through a data envelopment analysis (DEA), our team analyzed the efficiency of each specific restaurant in terms of marketing.

From the multiple linear regression analysis, the main driver of customer traffic at the restaurants was found to be the marketing campaign of national eBlasts and the main drag of customer traffic was found to be unemployment level, or basically the declining economy. When the data envelopment analysis was performed, six restaurants were found to be performing at the most efficient level.  Output results for the DEA provide data for how much to change the marketing variables so the restaurants not performing at top efficiency can reach this level.


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