10 Things to Consider When Choosing a New Restaurant Location

July 23
Choosing best location to open a restaurant

Each generation has a different amount of requirements. The Baby Boomers had different requirements for their time.Today, the Millennial generation has a myriad of different requirements that a good restaurant location has to consider before opening. With the statistics being against opening a new restaurant, make sure that all of the restaurant location statistics are reviewed and the proper research is done. Even with the proper research, it is still a gamble. There are so many factors in the equation to opening a successful restaurant. 


First you would want to start with a budget. This will allow you to determine what you need to do in order to move forward. Every restaurant wants to turn a profit. In order to do that, you must pick a price point for the location and consider expenses. For example, do you want to be located in the heart of the city, downtown, or on the outskirts? The pricing can be drastically different between the three. The cliche’ saying “location, location,location…” is absolutely true. The place of the restaurant can easily be a budget buster. 


Parking should also be a determining factor when picking your restaurant. This is an underrated thought when looking for a location. Just consider these questions: do you want your guest to pay for parking, does your location have enough parking for guests, would you have to offer free valet parking for your future customers? These are all things you should consider when looking for the best location to open a restaurant. A big deterrent for guests is having to drive a long way to a restaurant and on top of that having to pay for parking. What can be worse than that? Driving to a restaurant and not being able to find parking at all. As a restauranteur, you will want to also make sure that your delivery trucks have easy access to the lot for loading and unloading of the restaurant's goods. 


The next step is narrowing down the niche of the restaurant. This should be one of the first things that you consider. Ask yourself “ What do you want the restaurant to be?” Will this be a sports bar or family dining? Remember you set the tone for the type of customers that you want to bring in. It is also important to consider the hours of operation. Do you want to be open all day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Or would you prefer to open at five o’ clock in the afternoon and fall into the dinner or fine dining niche of restaurants? 


You should follow up with picking a menu. Do you want to be an everyday pub or special occasion type of fine dining? On the low end of the menu, the variety of foods is endless. Items range from burgers, fries, and chicken tenders, served with a side and a drink. Whereas the other side would be the high-end price point. This could include menu options of Red Snapper, lobster, and filet mignon. 


Take a look at the competition in the area. One of the most important things in starting on the adventure of opening a restaurant is doing the proper research. Be sure to study what your competition is currently offering. Can your new restaurant offer the customers something new? Weekday special is wonderful because everyone loves to save as much money as possible. Do you intend to have happy hour? Does your competition offer it? If you do, will you make a special menu to compliment the bar during those hours? You want to set yourself apart. You could have a special menu item that can only be offered at a specific time every day. The point is to be more relevant than your competition. The only way to do that is to study them and adjust. 


This last one may not seem like it has anything to do with the location of the restaurant, but it should not be overlooked. The dé cor! Most restaurants in the city have new furnishings. It should have a wow factor when guests walk through the door. Some examples are an eye-catching chandelier, a memorable picture, or a place where guest can take a picture to commemorate their time at the restaurant. That would be great for marketing as well. The bar could also be a great focal point. It is where the socialites will go to connect and network. You can open the door by giving them something wonderful to talk about. Imagine if the comments from your guests were complimenting the seating at the bar or how the liquor is staged behind the bar. All of the excellent conversations would be great for your future guests. The bathrooms have to be welcoming also. They must accommodate breastfeeding moms or handicapped customers. All of these make great selling points. 


Making sure the equipment is right before picking a location is also hugely important. A restaurant has to be cognizant of if the building is equipped to handle what is needed. For example: does it have deep fryers, huge walk-in refrigerators, or a state of the art grills or stoves? If not does it have the amount of space that would allow you to update and bring in the additional items you may need? The equipment can eat up the square footage of the location and could make or break a deal for you. You must also consider how many people can you seat in the dining and how many people can fit in the kitchen to cook. 
The restaurant industry is one of the toughest industries to break into. The statistics for starting a new venture in the restaurant all point in the direction of failure. While it is certainly the dark end of the spectrum to fail, if a new restaurateur takes the time to implement a restaurant location strategy then the outcome will be very different. There should never be a time when the dream of opening a restaurant overshadows the reality of the amount of work involved.