Finding a Location for your Restaurant

Finding a location is an integral part of a restaurant and does play a major role in whether your operation will fly or fail. The location is only one of many key components that make up what happens in the long term to your restaurant’s future. Finding a good location does not mean your restaurant will necessarily succeed, many factors contribute to a restaurants success or failure, the location being a primary key issue but not the only one to consider.

  • Write an outline for the type of restaurant you would like to open. Many people write their business plans before finding a location for their projected restaurant facility. For example; you would like to open a one hundred seat restaurant featuring Indian-Hunan Fusion cuisine. The only locations in the area you would like to be located in either have 50 seats or less, or are right between a Chinese restaurant and an Indian restaurant. Obviously you need to rethink some things.
  • Research the locations available and then write several business plans based on those locations. Banks and Investors will want information on both your business plan and the location it is based on, to see whether they think the idea will be a good investment for them before investing or giving you a business loan.
  • Find out if the location is easy to reach from major roads? Will you get any foot traffic to the location or is it accessible only by motor vehicle? This is not a make or break question, but can be an important factor if your business plan is based on walk-in customers vs. reservations only. Does it have decent parking available for your number of seats or is it all on street parking on a busy street with hard to find free spaces.
  • How long does it take to get there from your home? This is an important factor for a variety of reasons. If you are going to be an owner present in your restaurant for most of the time it is open for service, you may not want to consider a place that is far from your home. In emergencies, staff will call you at home and in some cases the quicker you can be there, the quicker a problem or issue can be resolved or handled.
  • Research the competition in your proposed area. Can the area support another restaurant of the cuisine type you wish to have? On the coastal areas there is a larger proportion of seafood restaurants compared to the inland. Depending on the area and the customer base. It may be able to support many of the same types of restaurants side by side, or it may not.
  • If the location is in a tourist area, can the restaurant sustain itself if it is a bad season? Many tourist driven areas suffer badly in off season. Make sure your restaurant will have a back up plan in place to sustain itself in the event of a rainy summer or snowless winter by offering substantial discounts to locals for instance.
  • Research your target market; is your customer base going to be tourists, a mix of tourists and locals or local people with an occasional out of towner passing through? Deciding this is important because it will be a key factor in your advertising strategies.
  • What vendors deliver to your area? If you are an ethnic restaurant and the supplier for the ethnic ingredients does not deliver to your area, what are you going to do? Making frequent buying trips to an area that may have these ingredients will probably not be time and cost efficient. Make sure the vendors you will need to buy from deliver to your area.
  • Is the location on regular delivery routes for the vendors you will be using on a regular basis? This is an important factor because certain companies, depending on your location, may make you the last delivery they make on a day. Try to find a location where the majority of your deliveries can take place in the morning or early part of the afternoon. This can effect your labor costs and normal flow of work in addition. If your Sysco truck stops at 5:00 PM as you are ramping up for dinner service, chances are the delivery will not get checked in properly and items may not get stored properly.
  • Does the location have the available staffing base to draw from? Most restaurant employees try to find jobs under an hour from where they live. Getting home at 3 AM after working a double shift and driving for an hour and half is not very appealing to most of them. Make sure your location will have a sufficient employment base to draw from.
  • What are the demographics of the area the proposed restaurant is going to be in? Can the populace afford to eat at your restaurant? Will they want to? Opening a Thai restaurant featuring spicy food may not be the right fit for a retirement community. Opening a Mom and Pop home cooking diner may not fit in very well in an upper middle income area, but opening a fine dining French restaurant may do very well.

About Chef Forfeng

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