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 50 years. We have advised mall owners around the country om how to revitalize their blighted mall properties. Melaniphy & Associates celebrated our 50-year anniversary in 2021. Melaniphy & Associates, Inc. was founded in 1971. We specialize in a variety of products including the following:

Shopping Center Market Feasibility Studies
Highest & Best Use Analyses
Restaurant Market Feasibility Analysis
Economic Impact Studies
Commercial Revitalization Strategies
Downtown Redevelopment
Sales Cannibalization Analyses
Comprehensive Site Selection Strategies
Regional Mall Redevelopment Programs
Lifestyle Center Development
Industrial Market Studies
Sports Stadium Impact Studies
Hotel Market Studies

John C. Melaniphy, company founder, has been a real estate economist and market analyst for over 50 years. During this time, he has been involved in almost every type of urban and suburban development and redevelopment problem and opportunity... Read more

Regional Malls and Lifestyle Centers

Mall of America
Easton Town Center
Madison Yards
Motorola Campus
Bayshore Town Center
Boulevard Place
Brookfield Square Mall
Charlestowne Mall Redevelopment
Collin Creek Mall
Coliseum Mall
Cottonwood Mall
Gurnee Mills Mall
Hawthorn Center
Hilldale Mall
Mall of Abilene
840 N. Michigan
Lincolnwood Town Center
Market Commons
Mundo E
Northbrook Court
Northbrook Court Redevelopment
Northstar Mall
Northwoods Mall
Oakbrook Center
Northridge Mall


During the pandemic, thousands of marginal and successful restaurants closed because of fewer people dining out, the loss of significant luncheon business, other financial problems, lack of anticipated sales, rising gasoline prices vs. dining out expenditures, fewer frequent customers, smaller check averages, and consumers trading down, along with locational factors like poor access, limited parking, and numerous other reasons. This is the food business where every customer is a food critique.

Admittedly, in the last several years even restaurants and quick service food unit in good locations have fallen victim to the pandemic. However, even with economic these problems, picking the right locations given all of the problems can help to keep the grim reaper away. Up until 2009, I thought that the 1974-1975 Recession was the worst I had experienced. This one is at least twice as bad.

In my book, The Restaurant Location Guidebook and in my previous book, Restaurant and Fast Food Site Selection, I address Site Selection and Procedures that will maximize sales and minimize the recession hazard, providing some insulation from the recession blues.

AVOID “CANNIBALIZING” Your Existing Restaurant's Sales

Melaniphy says that infill locations can often cannibalize sales from your existing restaurant(s). Obviously, that is not what you wish to accomplish. This problem can be easily avoided.

Know your existing restaurant’s customer characteristics, trade area, and where the existing restaurant’s most frequent diners reside. Many restaurant chains utilize “customer intercept surveys” to better understand their customers. They plot the customer data so they can visually portray where their customers reside and how often they come to the existing unit(s), (See Chapter 3 in The Restaurant Location Guidebook).

The process of determining sales transfer or cannibalization is simple, but for whatever reason, most food people do not do it. They should! That way you can know what your impact may be and either avoid it or plan for it. Moreover, if you face a franchise situation, you have data and visuals to fight the battle, first with the franchisor, and perhaps, in the courts or in arbitration. The process is as follows:

1. Develop the needed customer data

2. Make it visual – plot the data on a map that clearly shows where you customers are coming from and the likely impact of another unit

3. Estimate the likely impact


Over time, I've reviewed and evaluated both good and bad food courts and food operations for the shopping center industry and independent and chain food operators. In addition, I have been an expert advisor and witness in legal actions regarding food courts. Lastly, I have written a book entitled Restaurant and Fast Food Site Selection which includes a chapter on malls and food courts. Here are a few of my current opinions on the subject.

1. Food courts need pedestrian traffic; they often cannot create sufficient action by themselves. Food courts should be placed where people will logically congregate or certainly pass.

2. Food courts are generative, but in an unusual way. They usually generate the majority of their traffic during normal dining periods, when the body's computer signals its time for chow. Thus, food courts should not be looked at as a generator for a wing of a shopping center or mall. While they will generate traffic at their peak periods, they usually will not generate much traffic during their non-peak periods. Remember, a considerable amount of food court sales come from "impulse" decision making.


Originally published in Pizza Today, August 1988

Getting necessary marketing information and data entails the the use of four primary elements. The first is knowing what to get, the second knowing where to get it, the third getting it, and the fourth knowing what to do with it once you've got it.

Collecting and evaluating data needs to be done within the context of the previous Site Selection articles found in Pizza Today. These include: Understanding the Importance of Location, Recognizing the Principles of Location Selection, Knowing Your Customer Profile, Understanding Your Trading Area, Recognizing Different Types of Locations, and Understanding the Need for Accurate Demographic Data.

What to Get

Most food operators recognize the factors that affect the sales potential of a location including population, income, employment, competition, accessibility, and other factors. Where to get the information can be perplexing. The Reference Table included presents a list of the items, usually available, that can help in evaluating market opportunities. Often, it is not necessary to obtain and study all of the items listed. Instead, they represent sources for different types of data, which can be helpful in deciding what is beneficial to you in your own situation. Let's look at the key elements.


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.