Concept and Menu Research for Popular NYC Restaurant


Successful New York City multi-unit restauranteur


A client with several successful restaurants in New York City was looking to expand a particular concept nationwide. However, reviews on social media (Yelp, Opentable, etc.) were mixed and inconsistent financial performance created more confusion for the client than clarity.

The client asked Coyle to dig beneath the surface and determine the concept’s strengths and weaknesses (from the guest perspective) to determine the feasibility of expanding the concept to other markets.


Coyle’s goal was to cull from several different sources and come up with definable, actionable, and relevant recommendations that the client can truly apply in growing the concept nationwide.

First, Coyle performed an analysis aggregating over two months’ worth of recent data from the most popular social media Web site including Yelp, Opentable, TripAdvisor and others. From this initial study, Coyle analyzed what was said about the client’s restaurant and also about two of the client’s biggest competitors in the city. Coyle was able to pinpoint the client’s strengths and weaknesses along with opportunities from the competition based on the online feedback.

The findings from the first study were distilled into a survey that was then given to Coyle’s proprietary panel of frequent restaurant diners. Ten highly qualified independent evaluators who had recently been to the restaurant in question took this survey to provide additional credibility and support to the initial social media analysis. The results added dimensions of loyalty and reputation to the data, allowing for Coyle to create a complete measurement tool for the next step.


Using the findings from the two studies above, Coyle created a detailed survey that asked both general dining and specific concept and menu-related questions. The client’s menu was presented as an interactive ‘heat map’ for respondents to point to most positive and negative areas of menu images.


After collecting data from the large scale concept and menu survey, Coyle delivered the results to the executive team, owners, and partners through a succinct and highly effective topline report. Included in the slides were the ‘heat mapped’ menu pages showing areas where respondents indicated positive and negative sentiment.

Coyle was able to illustrate to the client which menu items had names that were deemed too ‘cutesy’ or what sections were viewed as ‘too heavy’ for the health-conscious millennials. Interactive word clouds provided additional support, and clear respondent demographics lent credibility and perspective to the results.

Ultimately, Coyle presented six key recommendations to the client. These recommendations were a distillation of research that encompassed over two months of social media comments, more than 2,500 survey attributes, and many hours of analysis.

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