Location, Location & all about Location
There is a reason to repeat this word 3 times.
Choosing a location for your restaurant can be both an exciting and daunting task. Once you’ve signed your lease, you’re bound to respect it! Experts like me can turn around failed businesses by implementing concept, service and offers.
Not every available space is right for a restaurant. A good restaurant location is harder to find than many people think. What may look like the perfect spot, say a busy pedestrian street in the heart of town may turn out to be worthless and failure.
When choosing location for restaurant business, I would suggest to consider the following aspects:
This is very important, especially for restaurant businesses. It doesn’t matter whether its private, paid or free parking but some sort of parking space should be there within walking distance.
It is free marketing. Many of your initial customers will come in out of pure curiosity. These people live nearby or love to try new dishes or intrigued by your storefront or signage. Walk-ins are valuable pool of customers, especially in high-traffic areas. That’s why visibility is so important for successful restaurant business. Sometimes, landlords or neighbours can help you with visibility issues by providing additional signage on the sides of buildings or in parking lots.
Size does matter
A rule of thumb is to keep your kitchen at least 25 to 35 percent of your overall space of the restaurant premises. Bigger the kitchen, higher the potential of generating revenue. If kitchen is big and in high foot fall area you can expand your service to various segments like work grab and go, takeaway and delivery or even out door catering.
Dig Out the History
Some locations have got history of failing. One failed restaurant after another. Soon people associate the space, not necessarily the individual restaurant, with poor food & service and lacklustre ambiance. If that restaurant property has history of many failed business, customers may have negative perception towards it.
Put Safety First
One of the most important aspects of choosing a restaurant location is finding out if the building is up to the health and safety standard. Does it have proper wiring, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, disabled access and restrooms, ramp etc? A walk through the building with your local health and safety officer will help you to determine what needs to be done to a space before you open a restaurant. Fire exit, back access, fire assembly point etc. Also check out the planning permission. Is the building listed etc?
If You Build It, They Won’t Always Come !
Many restaurants are located at remote areas and still do fairly well. But choosing to open a restaurant out of town, in a remote area is a gamble. Customers might visit for special occasions, but not on a regular basis. It must be easily accessible to mass, so just not focus on community or local population only.
Don’t Be Impulsive
Location will define the type of cuisine. So, if the restaurant is nearby offices then the concept must be light, quick and economical. Look around the area, do some research, check out the competition and accordingly define the customer need and concept.
Lease Terms and Conditions, Understand the Commitment You Are Making
Before you sign a multi-year lease, consider the consequences if your restaurant fails. It isn’t pleasant to think about, but if you have signed up into a five or ten-year lease, your landlord can still demand monthly rent, even if you are out of businesses. Some time it is good to have short term lease especially for startups. If there is a demand and concept is working, you always can expand.
In a nutshell, location can never be bad or wrong, but choosing unsuitable concept is.
Author: Binod Baral ,Foodie, Chef, Incubator, Restaurateur & Entrepreneur