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October 12, 2021

Can we trust online menu-based business intelligence?

Martin Müller

Content Lead

A lot of people ask themselves (or us) how accurate can on-trade data actually be. After all, the market is constantly in flux. Outlets keep changing their meal and drink menus, testing different concepts, new owners bring in new approaches etc. We wanted to find out how reliable the digitally published drink menus are since our market research is based on them. For this reason, we have commissioned an independent study.

The accuracy of on-trade market data

We gather the data from thousands of menus in each country we're present in and use high-level analytical modelling to get the most out of them, resulting in 2 principal SharpGrid products:

Market Meter: A helicopter view of the on-trade market, including all relevant brands and their numeric distribution, pricing, category share etc.
Outlet Census: An interactive map or spreadsheet with detailed information about every on-trade outlet, including 40+ useful indicators like contact info, type of outlet, cuisine, quality, popularity, trend, business potential etc.

Both of which are highly dependent on outlets' digitally published menus and other data that we gather and analyze.

Pictured: Menu category share for various brands, one of our Market Meter features.

But how accurately does our source data reflect reality? That's what the survey was designed to find out and that's why the researchers worked with similar sources that we do like websites, Google Places or services like Zomato, Wolt and others. The results are as follows:

·       74% of outlets with a published digital menu update it quarterly or more frequently

·       95% of outlets with a published digital menu update it at least once a year

·       Just 15% of outlets have more than 5 items missing from the actual offer on the digital menu

·       Just 2% of outlets have more than 5 items listed on the digital menu that are no longer available

While more than 2/3 to inaccuracies were related to the wine category, which is usually harder to measure due to the sheer number of regional producers, grape or wine types, vintage charts etc. Therefore, this independent market research indicates that digital drink menus very closely approximate actual offer and availability & price of beverage brands.

As you can see, measuring the on-trade channel is indeed possible. You just need the right tools. Take a look at our products and services and contact us for more information, should you feel they might benefit your company. And follow our Linkedin channel for more interesting and useful content.

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