Choosing the absolute perfect restaurant location, both inside and out, is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will ever make during this earliest stage of owning a business. Your restaurant’s physical locale can often mean the difference between staying in business and becoming yet another dire statistic in this ever competitive industry.
There are several varying factors to consider when it comes to choosing a restaurant location such as determining the prospective area’s population base. Instead of taking the route of a costly site survey the way a large corporation or chain would, take advantage of the free information available to determine a site’s surrounding population count.
Besides public reports by local governments concerning things like unemployment rates or obtaining information from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), also check census reports, which are done every ten years, and look at housing values before deciding on one particular location over another.
Is the unemployment rate in the area more than four percent? What are houses and commercial properties selling for and what is the general state of the real estate industry in the area? Are there too many sellers but not enough buyers? If so, this could be a clear indicator you should keep looking elsewhere before setting up shop. Also ask yourself what type of attractions, businesses, and institutions are nearby that will help to bring potential customers into your establishment.
Restaurant location is far more than determining the population or population growth of an area as it’s imperative to learn of the surrounding competition and, hopefully, many possible allies that will help to bring about reciprocal business.
If your restaurant is located near several other establishments of differing venues, will there be ample parking to accommodate your guests? People will not want to walk half a mile before reaching their car after dining out, so a nearby, well-lit, and easily accessible parking is a convenience you will definitely want to incorporate into your business. If you won’t be able to have your own lot, ensure there’s one somewhere close for the public to use.
When choosing the ideal restaurant location you’ll also want to consider the matters of accessibility and visibility. Have you ever noticed that there are a plethora of major restaurant chains located just near the exits of major highways, freeways, and thoroughfares? There’s a logical reason for this as more traffic means more customers and the most successful of new restaurants tend to be those that are easy to get to and easy to find.
Securing your restaurant location is a vital step that should be done even before writing business plans, applying for loans, creating menus, and definitely before advertising for customers as this first move is the one that’s most crucial to your new establishment’s success.