Welcome to Melaniphy & Associates, Inc.

Melaniphy & Associates, Inc. is a firm of shopping center consultants, real estate counselors, site selection specialists, market analysts, retail experts, restaurant consultants, and international investment advisors, Melaniphy & Associates, Inc. has successfully advised thousands of national and international clients in both the private and public sectors for more than 40 years.

John C. Melaniphy, company founder, has been a real estate economist and market analyst for over 40 years. During this time, he has been involved in almost every type of urban and suburban development and redevelopment problem and opportunity... Read more


In pursuit of the magic site selection formula, one must recognize that there are numerous types of locations. Moreover, each type usually has a different set of trade area characteristics, requiring modification of site selection criteria. This is one of the reason why many computer models don't work, and why many real estate site location people make mistakes. Additionally, today it seems that pizza is being sold or delivered from every fast food operation, store and restaurant. Why are some so much more successful than others? Let's examine the differing types of locations that I have identified over the last three decades.


In a sense, downtown areas are "where it all started". Downtown was the original market place, the major activity area, the initial concentration of people and the major employment center. Many changes have occurred in downtowns throughout North America; some for the better; but sometimes for the worse. Downtown locations must be approached, evaluated and selected with caution. If done correctly, some big winners can be found.


I just got off the phone with a women's specialty retailer who has a serious problem. Her store is located, not only in the wrong neighborhood, but also in the wrong type of shopping center. Her sales have never reached their expectation, nor will they. Unfortunately, she is probably not going to make it. In her case, the time to address this issue occurred prior to opening the store. For others, the time is now! Most retailers are experiencing the doldrums of the economy, too many retail stores and a value-oriented consumer. "If it ain't on sales, nobody buys it." Perhaps, some of the suggestions in this article can help to better define your market.


Originally published in Pizza Today

A customer profile, if properly conducted, is literally a picture of your customers. The more that you know about your customers, the easier it is to pick good locations. Now you may say: "I know my customers, I don't need to do any of this." Well, let's see how much you really know.

How do you develop a customer profile? You interview a representative sample of your customers in your restaurant. Right away you are getting nervous. "Interview my customers! That is a whole lot of mickey mouse". Right? Not really! It can be very simple. First, however, let's look at the important elements and then review what to do.


What is a customer profile? Here are some items that are often included in a customer profile. They don't all have to be included; however they can be. Won't it be too long? No, not if the right physical situation exists (space at the entrance), and the interviewer knows what she is doing. Notice the SHE; that is because women usually make better interviewers than men. Simply stated, most people find women more acceptable when being interviewed.

-How often do my customers patronize my place?
-When did they make the decision?
-Who made the decision?
-Why do they come to my shop or order my Pizza?
-How many minutes did it take them to get here?


John C. Melaniphy
published in Area Development

New manufacturing companies with combined office and plant facilities are usually more complex, since they include senior management, middle management, supervisory personnel, skilled and semi-skilled workers, and perhaps some unskilled labor. Important elements in this process are as follows:

OBJECTIVES (might include the following): Select a city where the company can become a "big fish in a small pond."

Increase the quality of labor productivity, stabilize the labor supply, and reduce employee turnover.
Improve transportation options and cost/savings.
Reduce utility costs.
Reduce corporate taxes.
Avoid excessive government regulations.
Reduce health care costs.
Reduce unemployment compensation costs
Move closer to primary markets.
Move closer to raw materials.
Improve quality of life.
Avoid environmental issues.
Improve safety and security.
Substantially reduce real estate taxes.
The primary factors included in the market study are as follow:

A. Transportation

Distance to primary markets
Highway accessibility
Shipping costs
Timing to markets
Accessibility to major airport(s)
Railroad service
B. Raw Materials
Material availability
Proximity to raw materials
Freight savings


Many successful shopping center food courts have inadequate seating. While it can be overlooked somewhat in downtown food courts because of strong take-out business, it cannot be ignored in suburban malls. Seating to food courts is like parking to shopping centers. When you don't have it, you lose customers and sales. The total number of seats, however, is not the most important factor. Instead, the number of available tables with seating is the critical element. An occupied table, even if three seats are unoccupied, is not available seating. People prefer to sit alone or with friends and rarely share a table with strangers.

How do you determine your food court's table and seating situation? Follow these steps, designed to identify the needs in your food court, rather than relying on industry averages. Each food court has its own personality and, therefore, it must be addressed individually.

1. Count the number of tables and seats in your food court. Classify them by types of tables (i.e., moveable or fixed "twos", "fours", etc.) This is important because often the seating has changed somewhat since the food court was originally designed. You may find the numbers have changed since the food court was built.