There shouldn’t be any question as to whether or not a market has all the necessary factors for a business to succeed. That’s why Saladworks relies on Forum Analytics, a CBRE company established in 2001 that focuses on market research and business analytics, to take any guesswork out of the equation. When Saladworks is interested in a specific market, it consults with Forum to learn a breadth of information, like sales potential forecasting, risk assessment for real estate development and lifestyle and consumer behavioral analysis, which helps the brand ultimately decide where to (or where not to) open.
“We’re trying to help validate franchisor’s instincts from a real estate perspective, and put some data behind it,” says Kenna Brannon, vice president of technical sales at Forum Analytics. “We’re always working at a corporate level, taking their sales history and data and using this to see what the key factors to success for each company are. We put that in a portfolio model to recognize best opportunities for expansion and growth, and highlight the areas that align with their brand and customers.”
Whereas brands used to have to make expansion and market decisions based on gut instincts, analytics tools like Forum now enable businesses to made decisions backed by data science, helping them to mitigate risk and increase potential for higher revenue. In the franchise industry, such reassurances are more than nice, they’re completely imperative. Not only do they provide guidance for franchisors, but they also instill confidence for franchisees looking for a market where their business will thrive.
“We also include revenue forecasting,” says Brannon. “Franchisors can log in to their Forum account, plug in a market that a franchisee is interested in and, in seconds, know what the expected revenue for that area is, as well as a rundown of the demographics and the competitive landscape.”
While franchisors are only legally able to provide franchisees with some information, and not revenue expectancies, it gives franchisors the ability to direct business partners on a path that will be mutually beneficial for both parties. The concrete and methodical methods of Forum make it easier for franchisor and franchisee alike to make educated decisions as they move forward.
“Their model is so in depth, and lets us look at which markets have the demographics Saladworks has historically seen success with,” says Mary Hinton, TSG retail managing director at CBRE Group, which acquired Forum Analytics in 2015. “The data gathered at Forum is predictive of your sales, but also helps in terms of actually rationalizing your portfolio, like knowing how many stores can be opened in a market.”
Taking their insights at Forum Analytics even a step further, CBRE helps connect Saladworks with the right brokers who have restaurant experience in target markets, and can help them for a real estate perspective. Once the connection is made, CBRE helps Saladworks negotiate, too, working as a conduit between the broker and Saladworks. Opening a Saladworks locations involves a franchise fee of $30,000 to $35,000 with start-up costs ranging from $513,159 to $532,814.
“As a 30-year-old Brand, we’ve been assisting franchisees with site selection for decades,” says Jena Henderson, Saladworks vice president of growth. “With the introduction of Forum Analytics and our relationship with CBRE, we’re adding science to the art of real estate selection. The regression analysis has given us key insights into what makes a Saladworks successful. Utilizing that data with an online interactive tool, coupled with the breadth of real estate expertise from CBRE, our franchisees are getting world class support for one of the biggest decisions they make in the restaurant business.”