Posted by Melanie Trainor
To paraphrase an old saying -the three most important things in the restaurant business are location, location, location. Experienced restauranteurs know that site selection can make or break a concept. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you are searching for your perfect location.
The Right Competition
“Wow! What a great location! There’s no competition in sight!” said the future former restaurant owner. It may sound counterintuitive, but you want to be as close to your biggest competitor as you can be.
Competition is good. Strategically positioning yourself among other establishments is simply smart. Success breeds success. The achievements of restaurants around you are a helpful barometer for your future wait list and foot traffic. There’s a good reason why you see so many McDonalds and Burger Kings across the street from each other.
The Right Size
Square footage requirements, number of seats and rent costs should all be written into your business plan. Try to avoid fitting your concept into a space that’s too large or small just because the price is right or it’s in the right neighborhood. Stick to your plan to give your customers the best possible experience. People generally like a place that’s busy but not too crowded. If your space is too small it can make them claustrophobic; too big and your customers may feel that they’re in a place that is abandoned.
Know Your Numbers
Do the demographics surrounding your potential location attract the customers you need? Do you know the areas traffic count, population density, and average household income? Keep these questions in mind before you consider signing a lease. Lucky for you, in this age of big data, those answers may be just a few clicks away. Your state and local governments have resources available to help the business community. Contact them for data on traffic studies and household income maps. Consider the following sites when you’re ready to research prospective sites.
The U.S. census bureau: https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml
Zoom Prospector: http://www.zoomprospector.com
Content Provided by Mat Thackray of TriMark Hockenbergs