TOP 10 things to consider when choosing the location for your restaurant
The hospitality business has been significantly growing over the last few years. According to the Coffer Busssiness Tracker, Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective sales grow 1.2% in July and 1.6% in August 2019, showing excellent results from quality operators with good demand for new sites across the country from both established and emerging operators.
Food, service and location are the main components that determine the success of the restaurant. However, it is much easier to change and improve food and service offering rather than changing the location. Therefore the location of an establishment is very crucial, especially, in the early years. So, if you are looking to start a new business in hospitality or are planning to relocate your restaurant this is the article for you!
Read on for the 10 TOP things that make or break the restaurant’s location!
1.The concept of the restaurant
The concept of the establishment is the first step in determining the location of it. Your concept of the restaurant defines the demographics and psychographics of your target market. The cuisine and style of the restaurant are the two components of the establishment’s concept.
The cuisine type determines your customers’ psychographics such as taste, attitudes, aspirations and other psychological qualities. For example, an Italian restaurant has a different customer portfolio compared to a brunch bar.
The style determines the demographic factors of the customer base. These include – income, gender, age, race and many other things. Every restaurant can be boiled down to one of four styles: Fast Food, Bar & Bistro, Casual, or Fine Dining.
Here are the descriptions of these 4 categories.
- Fast food: 15-35 age range, spontaneous, often connected to another activity like shopping or an evening out with friends. Lower-income profile, high population density and high foot traffic are all key considerations.
- Bar & Bistro: 25-45 age range, high disposable income, often spontaneous gatherings after work, most customers drink alcohol, relaxed social ambience is important, price point depends on the neighbourhood and the cuisine.
- Casual dining: Families with children, mid-income households, often planned, customers will drive, often connected to another activity like shopping or family outings, safety of location is important.
- Fine dining: 35+ age profile, high-income couples, families and work-related dining. High price point, high service expectations, pre-planned and booked in advance, arrive by car and expect onsite parking, willing to drive up to 30-minutes drive-time from home.
2. Your target market
Once you have settled on the cuisine and style, the next step is to identify the ideal customer for that concept. Understanding your ideal customer allows choosing the best location for the restaurant. Research who your ideal customers are, where they’re located and whether it is enough demand to support your business. This Forbes article has a great framework and tips on how to find out your ideal customer,
TIP: To look into the demographics of a specific postcode or town, use StreetCheck.
3. Foot traffic and visibility
Setting up shop in a location with either high foot or car traffic is important. Not only it is vital for the visibility of your business, but it is also a track record of how the previous businesses were doing. Making your restaurant visible to the public is like free advertising. It reminds them that your restaurant exists and they should stop by for dinner sometime.
Understanding the competition is vital in any business. Whilst looking for the perfect location of your restaurant, consider who else is doing business in the neighbourhood. Is there direct competition nearby? What types of customers do other businesses attract and what are their habits? Do people dine inside or it is mostly take-aways? Are other businesses doing well or failing?
5. Safety First
One of the first steps in choosing a restaurant location is finding out if the building is up to code. Does it have proper wiring, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, handicap-accessible doors, restrooms, ramps? A building Surveyor will help you evaluate what needs to be done to before you open a restaurant. This activity will also help you avoid the unexpected costs later in the process.
Our experienced Building Surveyor specialises in commercial buildings and can provide you with all such advice. Find available reports and surveys here.
Another key factor is parking. Even if your restaurant is located on a high-street with no car access, you should still consider the available parking spots nearby. Nowadays, the customer is the king and the competition is high, so you must ensure that you are located in a very convenient place. Parking is a must if you are thinking of a restaurant out of town or where public transport is not dense.
7. Space and layout
Restaurants come with a lot of particular space requirements, even if the actual service space is very small in your plans. Is there enough space for the kitchen and all the appliances such as a walk-in freezer, the office, the bar, restroom and storage area? Does it have ramps for easy accessibility? Will your money stretch far enough to accommodate these requirements and many more unexpected costs? Is the space flexible enough?
8. Do not ignore the ‘curse’
Some locations house one failed restaurant after another. Soon people associate the space – not necessarily the individual restaurant- with bad service, poor food, and bad success in general. Therefore, try to avoid locations where businesses change often as your restaurant could be seen as ‘just another temporary trial’.
9. You can negotiate your lease
Many first-time business owners are surprised that they can negotiate with the prospective commercial landlords about the lease. Not just about the monthly rent, but also about who pays for things like snow removal, lawn care or general maintenance. Remember that every contract is different and you have a right to try to get the best deal for you.
10. Lease length
Before signing a multi-year lease, consider the consequences of your business failing. Of course, it is not a pleasant thought, but it can save you a lot of money as your landlord can still demand monthly rent, even if you are out of businesses. Ask what are the available lease periods and choose a short term to try yourself and the business out. Once you have established a successful restaurant, you can sign a longer lease.