Digital Store Audit Program Gives Client On-The-Ground Intelligence

Posted by TrendSource on November 11, 2016

Background and Client Objectives

A national quick service restaurant chain wanted to ensure they were developing the right merchandising elements for their restaurants and were identifying cost-savings opportunities across their system. Of their thousands of locations, no two were identical. Different window sizes and counts, overall square footage, directional orientation, and table counts were just a few of the distinguishing factors at each location. With extensive franchise and corporate locations, and the common variables that distinguish each location from the next, the client needed a digital library of each of their restaurants to support decision making.

This was particularly important for merchandising—sending the appropriate number of appropriately-sized banners and other marketing materials to each restaurant stood to save the company hundreds of thousands of dollars each year simply by avoiding the waste of sending merchandising kits to locations that cannot use them. Yet the sheer size of their business made such an undertaking labor intensive.

Program Development and Methodology

To perform a digital store audit, TrendSource Trusted Insight deployed Field Agents to each of the restaurant’s 6,500 locations where they took a set of 30 photos both inside and outside the restaurant, documenting a pre-determined set of features including menu boards, windows, tables, etc. Their instructions clearly outlined the angle and distance from which each photo should be taken, ensuring the client had a 360-degree portrait of each of their locations. They also interviewed the manager at each location about any unique features of the restaurant as well as any local restrictions that could shape business decisions.


Relying on its vast national network of Field Agents, TrendSource Trusted Insight built a digital library for the client to house the reams of new data now at their disposal. The Client can filter this data to find answers to specific questions and sort it by any number of variables. For example, executives can pull up the photos of every store in a particular region, or every location operated by a specific franchisee. They can also filter by table count and square footage, zeroing in on locations of a certain size when determining how to best deploy table tents.

The efficiencies this data permits are myriad.  Many of the client’s restaurants operate in municipalities with strict zoning laws against yard signage, and when the client formerly sent such signage to these locations, it represented a total loss as the signs could never be used. Now, with their custom reporting site designed by TrendSource Trusted Insight, the client can quickly filter out locations that operate in areas with such restrictions and can avoid the expense of sending unnecessary materials. They can then see photos of these locations and optimize their merchandising specifically to fit its spatial and legal restrictions.

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Topics: Marketing Audits, Food Service, Retail